Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A mid-morning rainbow

Rainbows always occur near sunrise or sunset, because the Sun has to be low. I have seen a spectacular circular rainbow while driving across the Bridge of the Gods in the Columbia River Gorge. The height of the bridge allowed the circle of the rainbow to continue all the way around But I photographed this rainbow today after 10:30, a day when sunrise was just before 8 am. I don't think this is any sort of special atmospheric conditions; must be the limit of Sun height. Click to see the photo full-size.

Rush Limbaugh Hospitalized In Honolulu

Pray for Rush. This reports he was in serious condition when he went to the hospital. KITV Honolulu: Conservative radio talk host Rush Limbaugh was rushed to a Honolulu hospital on Wednesday afternoon with chest pains, sources told KITV. Paramedics responded to the call at 2:41 p.m. at the Kahala Hotel and Resort. Limbaugh suffered from chest pains, sources said. Paramedics treated him and took him to Queen's Medical Center in serious condition. He will not be released on Wednesday night, sources said. He was seen golfing at Waialae Country Club earlier this week. The country club is next to the Kahala Hotel and Resort.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pay raises for the powerful when others are getting cut

How can we get control of our state budget with its huge gap of revenue versus expenses? Expect another multi-billion dollar "stimulus" from The One like last spring? Not! Union state workers will be getting pay increases next year, says The Olympian. Will anything in the budget be cut? Yes, but not where the unions have power. The Tacoma News Tribune says state workers are willing to share the pain, but their leaders won't allow them to. But Christine Gregoire says it's not that the unions are too powerful, but, well ... she won't cross them. The Capitol Report:
Austin Jenkins asked why not look at state workers: They’re the most expensive part of state government. “When you do something that people believe to be illegal, you get sued,” she said, “so, if I unilaterally, in violation of contracts, take some of the actions that you just articulated, I am going to get sued,” she said. He asked if that was a sign that state unions were too powerful. “This is not about power … we have people now that are doing critical work. You want me to let go of state patrol officers? I am not willing,” she said.
This law must have a name; it happens every budget cycle: When Gregoire has to save money by cutting something she puts what the public needs most, not at the bottom of the list, but at the top. Here, even more cynically, she accuses the questioner of making the proposal she brought up. Tip: Evergreen Freedom Foundation

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Double counting caused appearance of deficit reduction

"This bill will strengthen Medicare and extend the life of the program." - President Barack Obama, after the Senate health care bill secured 60 votes. We never believed the claim that ObamaCare would result in reducing the federal deficit because it used a transparent trick: A ten-year horizon was used. During that ten years the tax increases and benefits cuts came early, but the benefit increases (if any) came later. Any ten-year period with all effects will cause a substantial deficit. So it was an illusion. But the problem is worse. Health-care takeover proponents are double counting the savings from cutting my and your future Medicare benefits. To use them both within Medicare and elsewhere in the budget to "reduce the deficit." They say they are saving Medicare. But we can only spend those dollars once. So which is it? Preserving some funding for Medicare to "strengthen Medicare" or funding to offset other expenses and reduce the deficit? Can't be both. The Congressional Budget Office explains. CBO document dated 12/23/2009
The key point is that the savings to the HI trust fund under the PPACA would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs. Trust fund accounting shows the magnitude of the savings within the trust fund, and those savings indeed improve the solvency of that fund; however, that accounting ignores the burden that would be faced by the rest of the government later in redeeming the bonds held by the trust fund. Unified budget accounting shows that the majority of the HI trust fund savings would be used to pay for other spending under the PPACA and would not enhance the ability of the government to redeem the bonds credited to the trust fund to pay for future Medicare benefits. To describe the full amount of HI trust fund savings as both improving the government’s ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government’s fiscal position.
Megan McArdle aka Jane Galt at The Atlantic goes into further detail. And she shows that this double counting was not an isolated incident. It was repeated everywhere including by President Obama quoted above. Senator Sessions says correcting this error would turn the claimed budget surplus into increased deficit of $300 billion. Via: Say Anything Blog and American Spectator.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Future king gets street training

Prince William, who is second in line for the thone of England, decided to go for pseudo heroism rather than the real thing. His brother went in the British Army and risked his life in a real war. William decided to prove something by sleeping in a sleeping bag under a cardboard box in the street. Not real smart. He almost got run over by a midnight street sweeper. CNN

Is the Nebraska favor constitutional?

Senator Nelson traded his beliefs that we thought were strongly held - against abortion - to help his state of Nebraska with the new burdens of ObamaCare. His governor told him Obama would hurt Nebraska and he acted. Gregoire? Is she back from Copenhagen? Attorney General McKenna is on the job; he is covering his area of responsibility - the law. It is legal/constitutional to put obvious favors for a few states - Mass., Louisiana, Nebraska - into a law? A-G McKenna
“The arrangement that requires Washington state taxpayers, and those around the country, to permanently pay Nebraska’s additional Medicaid costs carries a price tag of untold millions,” McKenna said. “It raises key constitutional questions about whether residents of certain states should receive special privileges, based on the deal-making skills of their senators. I look forward to working with Attorney General Henry McMaster and other colleagues in researching the constitutionality of such a provision.”
HT: Orbusmax

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ObamaCare claims to prevent future Congress from changing it

Harry Reid gets more and more unbelievable. It's not enough to be ahead the game. He is illegally changing the rules. Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) pointed out some rather astounding language in the Senate health care bill during floor remarks tonight. First, he noted that there are a number of changes to Senate rules in the bill--and a 2/3 vote is required to change the rules. He pointed out that the Reid bill declares on page 1020 that the Independent Medicare Advisory Board cannot be repealed by future Congresses: The Weekly Standard quoting Sen. DeMint:
... there's one provision that i found particularly troubling and it's under section c, titled "limitations on changes to this subsection" and i quote -- "it shall not be in order in the senate or the house of representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection." This is not legislation. it's not law. this is a rule change. it's a pretty big deal. we will be passing a new law and at the same time creating a senate rule that makes it out of order to amend or even repeal the law. I'm not even sure that it's constitutional, but if it is, it most certainly is a senate rule. i don't see why the majority party wouldn't put this in every bill. if you like your law, you most certainly would want it to have force for future senates. I mean, we want to bind future congresses. this goes to the fundamental purpose of senate rules: to prevent a tyrannical majority from trampling the rights of the minority or of future co congresses.
His words seem reversed. We don't want to bind future congresses. Binding them allows the tyrannical majority to trample rights. Not allowing the binding allows reversing the kind of overreaching we are now seeing with the 60-vote Democrat margin.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mom said "Drink coffee. It's good for you"

I have always maintained drinking coffee is good for the health. I find about as much evidence supporting as counter evidence. In favor: FuturePundit: Tea And Coffee Cut Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Drinking more coffee (regular or decaffeinated) or tea appears to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to an analysis of previous studies reported in the December 14/28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, JAMA (1).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Caught telling the truth

Obama? Fulfill a campaign promise? Get real. Barack Obama -
Every now and then, an insider inadvertently exposes the hideous rationalizations that run the American political grotesquerie. The best known of these statements are memorialized on TV as "gaffes." But the ones that never become famous tend to reveal the ugliest assumptions of all. Case in point is the comment the pharmaceutical industry recently let fly in the Washington Post. The newspaper this week examined how the Obama administration crushed legislation that would have allowed Americans to purchase lower-priced FDA-approved medicines from abroad -- legislation that President Obama promised to support as a presidential candidate; legislation that would have reduced drug profiteering and saved the government and consumers $100 billion. "It's about being a candidate as opposed to being president," said the drug industry's top lobbyist in defense of Obama's flip-flop.
In other words "don't expect a politician to fulfill the promises he makes and you are a fool if you expect him to."

Glad I have been to Chamonix, France

We spent 3 or 4 days in Chamonix, France, in 1981 on our way to Tunisia, North Africa. It is spectacular!! Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe (the western part). I previously had been to Grindelwald, Switzerland, which is one of the classics of Europe with the haunting north face of the Eiger and its neighbors. Someone put together a stunning helicopter tour of the mountains above - on both sides of - Chamonix plus passing through the main valley. They did an incredible job. It runs with the Google Earth plug in for web browsers. I don't recall if it requires an installation, but you don't need Google Earth itself. It is very smooth and professional The area of mountains is huge. At helicopter speed this tour takes - actually I haven't finished it yet. One feature doesn't work with my setup. There is a scrolling list of mountain features. You should be able to click on a name and jump there, but it doesn't work for me. But it's great. It really gives a feel for flying over glacier valleys and mountain ridges and peaks, except for lack of sound synced with how hard the engine would be working and gravity, of course. Aigilles de Chamonix

Friday, December 18, 2009

Governors decry cost of ObamaCare. Gregoire?

Several governors who have studied the effects of Obama's takeover of health care found that it will hurt their states by forcing unfunded mandates on them. All of those we found statements from. Some of the them say "stop." Others say "fix it" and support this government takeover. Nebraska's Governor Dave Heineman asks his Senator Ben Nelson to oppose it and join the filibuster.
"This bill increases taxes, cuts Medicare and is an unfunded expansion of Medicaid. "In reviewing the current Senate bill, it appears that while the increased state costs for the initial three years of the Medicaid expansion would be covered, the program quickly becomes a substantial unfunded Medicaid mandate."
California's Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants it fixed, but the problems are large; California can't afford it.
"I will be clear on this particular proposal: if Congress thinks the Medicaid expansion is too expensive for the federal government, it is absolutely unaffordable for states. Proposals in the Senate envision passing on more than $8 billion in new costs to California annually – crowding out other priority or constitutionally required state spending and presenting a false choice for all of us. I cannot and will not support federal health care reform proposals that impose billions of dollars in new costs on California each year. "
Arizona's Janice Brewer says that when Congress requires increasing Arizona's AHCCCS (Medicaid) to 150% will be an unsustainable burden even if Congress funds the first five years. Christine Gregoire has some things going on in health care. But no one has found a statement from her on ObamaCare. But of course she has been busy going to Copenhagen. She has her priorities.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ramirez cartoon for today's issues

Michael Ramirez at Townhall

Michael Medved at Townhall Thursday night

Michael Medved will be discussing and signing his new book The 5 Big Lies About American Business.

Townhall - 8th Ave & Seneca St. (east side of I-5) - 7:30 PM Thursday - Tickets at the door $5.

Michael is the best at communicating our conservative principles. And he willingly engages those who disagree. It will be a very interesting evening. See his website.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

787 first landing

I went to watch the first landing of the 787. I had long planned to watch the landing because starting in April I was working for Flight Test at Boeing Field. Of course I could take some time from work to watch with the benefit that I could wear my yellow vest and watch from the flight line. No longer being an employee I kept the same plan. I had my doubts around noon when the online information said it would be over a 5-hour flight, therefore landing close to 4 pm. Then close to 1 pm I saw "30 minutes out from Boeing Field on approach from the north." I jumped in my van and drove down. When I got to the north end of Boeing Field there was some traffic confusion and people waiting and watching. I parked and got an espresso at a place where I could see the landing. Then I waited about 10 minutes. Here came a large airplane approaching very low over the Georgetown neighborhood. And someone said "see the little chase plane with it." Sure enough, that was it. Routine, smooth landing at 1:33 pm. 3 hours, 6 minutes.

Shamefully hiding race-based government in Hawaii

Senator Akaka of Hawaii has been pushing a bill to establish race-based government in Hawaii - since 1999. In the light of day there is opposition to it, so it has not been approved in past years. But now rumor is he will sneak it into the defense-funding bill this week. Is government based on race constitutional? Not in this country. Big Government The House and Senate are wrapping up work on the last appropriations bill of the year and rumors are swirling that the controversial Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, also known as the “Akaka Bill,” will be included in the Defense Appropriations bill. The defense measure is proving to be controversial, because House and Senate appropriators are using it to carry non related matters like a $1.9 trillion debt limit increase, an extension of unemployment benefits and the Native Hawaiian measure. The Native Hawaiian bill, a long time priority of Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), would set up a race based government of “indigenous, native people of Hawaii.” Opponents argue that this bill is unconstitutional and unwise. National Review Online sounded the alarm bells today and sources on Capitol Hill confirmed to Big Government that a version of the Native Hawaiian Bill may end up in the Defense Appropriations bill. According to NROnline:
The Hill rumor is that Democrats plan to attach Akaka to the Department of Defense funding bill before this session ends — basically, sneaking it in at a busy, contentious time of year to avoid full debate.

The 787 is flying

It took off at about 10:30. I thought it would be delayed because they wanted a ceiling (lowest clouds) of 5,000 feet and had 1500 or maybe 2500. Boeing's live coverage didn't work for me. I was downloading a newer version of Flash Player when I missed the takeoff. But their coverage still doesn't work. FlightBlogger has "live" coverage that has no video of the takeoff, but does have live text comments. Flight Aware has live tracking of the flight. It is aircraft BOE1.

787 flies today

Today at 10 am if weather conditions allow. It will land at Boeing Field three to five hours later. Boeing's dedicated web site Boeing's live video The graphic: the tail livery of 787 customers. Click to enlarge.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Our street was solid ice this morning, so bad that the police closed it around 7 am. It's far from flat, so it's pretty exciting. The only way to walk is on the grass. The glare in this photo is all ice. The car shown hit his brakes and slid through the flares and spun around. He, or someone, pushed the left flare over to the curb. You see his escape.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Spectacular spiral in the sky was missile test, not UFO

Daily Tech Observers in northern Norway Wednesday morning witnessed a bizarre spiral appear in the sky at around 7:49 a.m.  They first saw a blue light soar up from over a mountain to a north.  The light then paused in midair and began circling.  Before long, like the closing scene from the Japanese horror film Uzumaki, a massive spiral had filled the air. Then came a brilliant beam of green-blue light which shot out of the center and lasted 10 to 12 minutes, before suddenly vanishing.  Citizens described the bizarre sighting to be like "like a big fireball that went around, with a great light around it" and "a shooting star that spun around and around".  Totto Eriksen, from Tromsø, was walking his daughter Amelie to school when he spotted the strange spectacle.  He describes to VG Nett, "It spun and exploded in the sky.  We saw it from the Inner Harbor in Tromsø. It was absolutely fantastic.  It looked like the moon was coming over the mountain, but then came something completely different" The Norwegian Meteorological Institute was flooding by calls from concerned citizens wonder what a logical explanation of the phenomena might be.  Celebrity astronomer Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard's early guess later proved prophetic.  He postulated, "My first thought was that it was a fireball meteor, but it has lasted far too long.  It may have been a missile in Russia, but I can not guarantee that it is the answer." A British engineer named Doug Ellison, an animator and multimedia producer for a medical firm in Leicester, jumped in offering a 3D simulation that similarly suggested the bizarre light show was the result of a failed launch.  He made a simulation in 3D Studio Max of a spinning box, which produced a similar spiral trail.  Mr. Ellison, who runs the forum describes, "Once I saw the photos, and knowing a fair amount about space flight, the cause of the beautiful pattern seemed quite obvious to me.  Trying to explain it in layman's terms is quite hard, so I used some basic animation tools to try and emulate the effect.  I bolted two virtual particle emitters onto a small box - spun the box, then moved it at speed and low and behold, the spiral pattern, and the trail behind, both emerged as a result.  The people in northern Norway are lucky to have been in the right place, at the right time!" Indeed, on Thursday the Russian newspaper Vedomosti cited a military source as saying the phenomenon was caused by a failed test launch of a intercontinental missile, dubbed Bulava.  Past launches had failed on the first stage, but this launch reportedly went off without a hitch, before experiencing the strange failure on the third stage.

Stanford prof sends armed guards after climate questioner

Free speech? Climate? Stanford University? The null set. Professor Stephen Schneider’s assistant requested armed UN security officers who held film maker Phelim McAleer, ordered him to stop filming and prevented further questioning after the press conference where the Stanford academic was launching a book at the Copenhagen conference. Big Government Video

Obama administration predicts rising costs with ObamaCare

Obama's worker bees in CMS - Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - of the HHS Department analyzed Harry Reid's ObamaCare bill and found what we expected: ObamaCare would make costs rise, not fall. The total cost of health care for Americans would increase $234 billion over the next decade. Cuts to Medicare, while expanding its covered population, would make reimbursements so low that providers would quit serving Medicare patients, which would reduce care for seniors. Surprise. And, indeed, expecting to make his deep cuts to Medicare to actually take place is unrealistic, according to the Obama administration. His higher taxes on drugs, medical devices and health insurance would cause higher insurance premiums. Higher? Yes, higher, as in higher costs. And, though the number of "insured" would increase, millions of people would still be uninsured. Washington Times:
... The report was prepared by the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which specializes in long-range cost evaluations for Medicare. It analyzed the total public and private cost of the health care bill over the next 10 years, in contrast to earlier studies by the Congressional Budget Office that said the measure would minimally lower the record-setting federal deficit over the decade. Under the Democrats' plan, according to the analysis, health care spending would rise by an additional 0.7 percent between 2010 and 2019, mostly the result of more people getting medical services. Although the increased access to health care would drive up costs, the report found that the bill would accomplish Mr. Obama's goal of expanding health care coverage. About 93 percent of Americans would have health insurance under the plan, removing about 33 million people from the ranks of the uninsured. Perhaps the most startling revelation in the report, however, was an assessment that cuts to the Medicare program could undermine it. "Providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable," the report said. "Absent legislative intervention, [physicians] might end their participation in the program, possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries."
See also Robert Costa at The Corner. He mentions a negative report from Mayo Clinic and opposition by the AMA and hospitals to Harry Reid's expansion of Medicare.

Friday, December 11, 2009

787's first flight to be Tuesday

Boeing announced Thursday that first flight of the 787 will be Tuesday, December 15, at 10 AM. AVIATION WEEK : The first of six test airplanes, ZA001, is due to take off from Payne Field next to the airplane's final assembly factory north of Seattle. Chief Pilot Michael H. Carriker and copilot Randall Neville will conduct low- and high-speed taxi tests that take the airplane to the threshold of flight in preparation for Tuesday's events. Once airborne, Carriker and Neville are not expected to return ZA001 to Everett. They will land at Boeing Field in Seattle, headquarters for all of Boeing's commercial airplane flight tests. The full flight program is nominally expected to last 8.5 months and follows about three years of pre-flight certification procedures that Boeing has conducted with the FAA. If the flight schedule holds, FAA certification and delivery of the first production airplane - the seventh produced - to launch customer All Nippon Airways will be achieved late in 2010. But it is an aggressive schedule. Normally, Boeing allows a week to 10 days after first flight for analysis before taking to the air again. With the Christmas-New Year holidays fast approaching, ZA001 may not fly again until January. Seattle's Puget Sound region has enjoyed clear, sunny weather all week but is due to turn rainy next week. By itself, rain will not prevent the flight. But strong winds or low ceilings are factors that could result in a scrub. Once it begins, the flight is expected to last as long as 5 hours as Carriker, Neville and an army of flight engineers on the ground evaluate both the feel of the airplane and the streams of data pouring from hundreds of sensors embedded in its fuselage, engines and systems. The flight is intended to be conservative, establishing the basic flight envelope - the airplane's actual handling characteristics versus what computer models have predicted. While the flight of any new airplane draws attention, this one is special because it is the first for a commercial jet with a composite wing and fuselage. Aside from its use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic - composite - wing and fuselage assemblies, the 787 also introduces a distributed electric architecture supporting its many flight systems. Those systems are heavily dependent on a central computer system and the airplane is studded with software code.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Send that reporter to reeducation camp

NPR's top political correspondent had been caught appearing on Fox News - for the past 12 years. Send her to reeducation camp. The White House is after Fox... What a coincidence. NPR reporter pressured over Fox role - - Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network’s top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network’s political bias, two sources familiar with the effort said. According to a source, Liasson was summoned in early October by NPR’s executive editor for news, Dick Meyer, and the network’s supervising senior Washington editor, Ron Elving. The NPR executives said they had concerns that Fox’s programming had grown more partisan, and they asked Liasson to spend 30 days watching the network. At a follow-up meeting last month, Liasson reported that she’d seen no significant change in Fox’s programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, the source said. NPR’s focus on Liasson’s work as a commentator on Fox’s “Special Report” and “Fox News Sunday” came at about the same time as a White House campaign launched in September to delegitimize the network by painting it as an extension of the Republican Party.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The meeting on openness is closed - Obama?

But Obama promised... PROMISES, PROMISES: A closed meeting on openness - Yahoo! News:
It's hardly the image of transparency the Obama administration wants to project: A workshop on government openness is closed to the public. The event Monday for federal employees is a fitting symbol of President Barack Obama's uneven record so far on the Freedom of Information Act, a big part of keeping his campaign promise to make his administration the most transparent ever. As Obama's first year in office ends, the government's actions when the public and press seek information are not yet matching up with the president's words. "The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails," Obama told government offices on his first full day as president. "The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears." Obama scored points on his pledge by requiring the release of detailed information about $787 billion in economic stimulus spending. It's now available on a Web site, Other notable disclosures include waivers that the White House has granted from Obama's conflict-of-interest rules and reports detailing Obama's and top appointees' personal finances. Yet on some important issues, his administration produced information only after government watchdogs and reporters spent weeks or months pressing, in some cases suing. Those include what cars people were buying using the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program (it turned out the most frequent trades involved pickups for pickups with only slightly better gas mileage); how many times airplanes have collided with birds (a lot); whether lobbyists and donors meet with the Obama White House (they do); rules about the interrogation of terror suspects (the FBI and CIA disagreed over what was permitted); and who was speaking in private with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (he has close relationships with a cadre of Wall Street executives whose multibillion-dollar companies survived the economic crisis with his help).

Unemployment with Obama's stimulus pork bill

"In the strongest employment report since the recession began nearly two years ago, the government said Friday that the nation's employers had all but stopped shedding jobs in November, taking some of the pressure off of President Obama to come up with a jobs creation program." Javier Hernandez, New York Times, December 4, 2009. Click to enlarge. American Thinker Blog:

Saturday, December 05, 2009

ObamaCare: Government will be able to kick you off your health care plan

Congressman Henry Waxman clarifies it. In this stunning YouTube video he explains how under ObamaCare the government would have the power to “suspend” the enrollment of any American in any health care plan, that is, kick you off your plan. With the help of an aide, he begins reading from the 2,074-page bill; “The remedies described in the paragraph with respect to a qualified health benefit plan, they [federal officials] can levy civil money penalties, or can suspend the enrollment of individuals under such a plan after the date the commissioner notifies the entity of the determination under paragraph 1 that the plan does not qualify.” If federal officials determine your health plan does not qualify, you will be disenrolled, that is, kicked off. In government-speak “remedies” means punishment, and “suspend” means cancel. Watch it here. Tell us again, President Obama, how you guarantee that I will be able to keep my current health care coverage. Oh, you left out one little word - NOT. Thanks to Paul Guppy at Washington Policy Center

Friday, December 04, 2009

That kind of day?

Have you had this kind of day? Lineup for gasoline in Chonqqing, China, published by Wall Street Journal on November 23, 2009. Or this? Click to enlarge.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Any climate news? ABC, NBC, CBS

Do the old big three networks have any news about climate? They have lots of news about the elite world leaders and their upcoming gathering in Copenhagen. But nothing about the scandal of ClimateGate disclosed in the emails. Nothing? So says Julia Seymore at Business and Media Institute. Julia Seymore at BMI - 12 Days, 3 Networks and No Mention of ClimateGate Scandal:
It’s been nearly two weeks since a scandal shook many people’s faith in the scientists behind global warming alarmism. The scandal forced the University of East Anglia (UK) to divulge that it threw away raw temperature data and prompted the temporary resignation of Phil Jones of the university’s Climate Research Unit. Despite that resignation and calls by a U.S. senator to investigate the matter, ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programming has remained silent – not mentioning a word about the scandal since it broke on Nov. 20, even as world leaders including President Barack Obama prepare to meet in Copenhagen, Denmark next week to promote a pact to reduce greenhouse gases. Other news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and Associated Press have deemed ClimateGate worthy of reporting, but the networks were too busy reporting on celebrity car accidents and the killer whale that ate a great white shark. Instead of airing a broadcast news segment that might inform the public about the science scandal, both ABC and CBS relegated the story to their Web sites. There was one mention of the scandal on ABC’s Sunday talk show: “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
OK. One mention on three networks over 12 days on a news opinion show, not the straight news. The East Anglia Climatic Research Unit's director Phil Jones stepped down while he is be being investigated. Albert Gore, Jr.'s favorite Michael Mann is under investigation by his university, Penn State. So what? The entire Kyoto/Copenhagen need to hobble our economy is based on the "research" of these people. BMI's climate science adviser says this is not a smoking gun, but a mushroom-shaped cloud. Brian? Katie? Whoever else anchors their news? The Seattle Times finally put it high on their web edition; don't know where it is in the print edition. But they cast it as a political ploy of Republicans in Congress. Are there climate scientists who have something to say about this? Yes. Couldn't find them, eh, Times? How about Prof. Mann? Honorable Jay Inslee says the e-mails somehow aren't stopping the Arctic from warming. What is your source of data, Congressman Inslee? Oh, the definitive source, of course. The IPCC's data from Phil Jones's CRU? Any climate news? Part 1

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

When Jon Stewart makes fun of the global-warming scientist-fudgers ...

When Jon Stewart makes fun of you your run of fame is probably over, because now it's OK for everyone to make fun of you. And how can you have a good crisis if people are laughing at the authorities who solemnly are warning the world of it. Fudging the data and throwing away the original data? That's Phil Jones and his Climatic Research Unit at University of Anglia in the UK. Watch to the end. It's good. If only Ben Stein could get in front of the camera every day like this. Hat tip to Thomas Lifson at American Thinker.

Fears of ObamaCare cost are justifiable

David Broder calls Harry Reid on his cost-hiding tricks. If The Big Democrat has lost Broder he has trouble. David S. Broder - David Broder: Fears of health-reform cost are justifiable - First, the public is opposed:
The day after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) gave its qualified blessing to the version of health reform produced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Quinnipiac University poll of a national cross section of voters reported its latest results. ... It read: "President Obama has pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our federal budget deficit over the next decade. Do you think that President Obama will be able to keep his promise or do you think that any health care plan that Congress passes and President Obama signs will add to the federal budget deficit?" The answer: Less than one-fifth of the voters -- 19 percent of the sample -- think he will keep his word. Nine of 10 Republicans and eight of 10 independents said that whatever passes will add to the torrent of red ink. By a margin of four to three, even Democrats agreed this is likely. That fear contributed directly to the fact that, by a 16-point margin, the majority in this poll said they oppose the legislation moving through Congress.
Costs? Big problems.
While the CBO said that both the House-passed bill and the one Reid has drafted meet Obama's test by being budget-neutral, every expert I have talked to says that the public has it right. These bills, as they stand, are budget-busters. Here, for example, is what Robert Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan group of budget watchdogs, told me: "The Senate bill is better than the House version, but there's not much reform in this bill. As of now, it's basically a big entitlement expansion, plus tax increases." Here's another expert, Maya MacGuineas, the president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: "While this bill does a better job than the House version at reducing the deficit and controlling costs, it still doesn't do enough. Given the political system's aversion to tax increases and spending cuts, I worry about what the final bill will look like." ... Republican budget experts such as former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin amplify the point with specific examples and biting language. Holtz-Eakin cites a long list of Democratic-sponsored "budget gimmicks" that made it possible for the CBO to estimate that Reid's bill would reduce federal deficits by $130 billion by 2019. Perhaps the biggest of those maneuvers was Reid's decision to postpone the start of subsidies to help the uninsured buy policies from mid-2013 to January 2014 -- long after taxes and fees levied by the bill would have begun.
You pay increased fees and taxes for 4 years before you receive increased benefits. That's how dinghy Harry keeps the costs down - front load the revenues and back load the costs, so the first ten years don't look so bad.
Even with that change, there is plenty in the CBO report to suggest that the promised budget savings may not materialize. If you read deep enough, you will find that under the Senate bill, "federal outlays for health care would increase during the 2010-2019 period" -- not decline. The gross increase would be almost $1 trillion -- $848 billion, to be exact, mainly to subsidize the uninsured. The net increase would be $160 billion. But this depends on two big gambles. Will future Congresses actually impose the assumed $420 billion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs? They never have
"They never have." He concludes:
The challenge to Congress -- and to Obama -- remains the same: Make the promised savings real, and don't pass along unfunded programs to our children and grandchildren. [and the states]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Any climate news?

The world is lit up with the news about the lead scientific promoters of human-caused global warming. Emails at ground zero of the climate-warming researchers - Climatic Research Unit at University of East Anglia in the UK - contain talk of manipulating the data to exaggerate the data to show warming during the recent years. The British research center's director, Phil Jones, wrote that he had used a "trick" to "hide the decline" in a chart detailing recent global temperatures.
From: Phil Jones To: ray bradley ,, Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000 Cc: k.briffa@xxx.xx.xx, Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm, Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or first thing tomorrow. I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998. Thanks for the comments, Ray. Cheers Phil
See also Telegraph UK - Powerline Blog 11/20 - 11/21 - 11/21 again on how to avoid a Freedom-of-Information-Act request - 11/23 There is also a similar case in New Zealand reported by Watt's up with That?. In the US Penn State University is investigating Michael Mann the scientist behind Albert Gore, Jr's "hockey stick." News Busters - PSU statement Any news about climate fit to print? A search at the Seattle Times for "climate" shows on top: "Climate conference just around the corner", "Leaders say momentum building on climate change", "Britain, France back global fund for climate ills" and such. The first page of 20 results shows no signs of the controversy. On the second page at #22 is the defense, which is not needed because there is no problem. I can't tell what page that ran on. At #23 a story on the business page. Who will find news there? So it's a small story. Is not the investigation of Prof. Mann news? Or only Obama going on another trip to Copenhagen to bow before foreign sovereigns and apologize for the US's actions preceding his election? While he is there it is expected that he will promise to hobble our economy for decades in the future because of man-made global warming. News?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cost of Obamacare went up $100M, no, $300 million

I don't know the source of Carter's optimism: Health care will not add to the deficit "because Senator Cantwell promised." How can she promise that when Distinguished Harry Reid is making multi-$100 million pork deals? It was reported that Senator Landrieu of Louisiana was going to vote for Obamacare last Saturday in exchange for $100 million in pork - I mean needed funds for her state. But Landrieu responded angrily that she wasn't so cheap. She got $300 million. Dana Milbank - Sweeteners for the South:
On the eve of Saturday's showdown in the Senate over health-care reform, Democratic leaders still hadn't secured the support of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of the 60 votes needed to keep the legislation alive. The wavering lawmaker was offered a sweetener: at least $100 million in extra federal money for her home state. And so it came to pass that Landrieu walked onto the Senate floor midafternoon Saturday to announce her aye vote -- and to trumpet the financial "fix" she had arranged for Louisiana. "I am not going to be defensive," she declared. "And it's not a $100 million fix. It's a $300 million fix."
Why, that's less than a billion. But it's only one senator and they add up. Newsweek says Landrieu is not a p*******. I am sure she will thank them for using that word. Another trick works so far Last week Speaker Nancy Pelosi hid billions in costs, so she would be able to claim she cut that amount in her Obamacare, HR 3961. This bill would cancel a planned 21 per cent cut in reimbursement to doctors. This offsets her Obamacare that makes the same kind of cut. Obama won't get credit for the savings if it already happened. It's confusing: they want Obama to get credit for the cost saving that is already scheduled. So they are canceling the cut, and including it in Obamacare, so Obama can do it and claim the savings. As I recall the Senate already turned back this trick.

787 still tracking for Dec. 22nd first flight

According to a good, nonofficial source. The airplane enthusiasts keep on top of what's going on and are pretty reliable. They have inside sources, plus they watch the flightline every day. They even gather to watch factory rollouts; it's not hard to do because it is next to a freeway and, even better, going to the flightline the aircraft cross the freeway. All things 787
According to sources Boeing is still tracking to a first flight on December 22nd. Boeing hopes to start testing the fix on the static air frame after the Thanksgiving holidays (next week) and verify what their computer models are telling them. Once that is complete then the way should be clear to restart pre-flight gauntlet tests followed by taxi tests and then first flight. Additionally, the remainder of the test fleet as well as the production models completed thus far should go through the side of body modification in fairly rapid order. I would expect that Boeing should have a good understanding if the side of body modifications work soon after they complete the tests. They will still have to review the test results with the FAA and get their approval prior to the continuation of the test program.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What is Christine Gregoire doing?

Washington's current budget was "stimulated" by Obama's 2009 stimulus package. Its huge gap was plugged by a generous $3.3 billion in money from people in other states. So we were in a hole and got a one-time shot. The revenue projections used in that budget are being clobbered by reality. The expected revenue has dropped by $760 million since September. Still in the hole. So have we stopped digging? That is, spending. Christine Gregoire says it is her duty to balance the budget.
“I will produce a budget balanced to this revenue projection because I am required to by law,” Gregoire said. “We all know a budget reflects the values of our state. All options must be on the table to produce a budget that works.”
She is tempted to raise taxes. But raising taxes will slow our economy. Here are 32 economists commenting on the specific situation in our state this year.
“Leaving earnings in the hands of individuals and businesses is the best way to help grow the private sector, create jobs and lead to higher levels of consumption,” the letter states. “Increasing taxes at this time will shift necessary capital from the private sector to the public sector, thereby depriving private enterprise of the source of true economic growth and making Washington state even less competitive for new businesses and jobs.”
And newspapers around the state are calling for no tax increases. The Columbian in Vancouver. State law says she doesn't have to wait for the Legislature to meet in January. She can take action on her own, indeed, she must take action. State law prohibits a cash deficit from occurring by requiring the Governor to take action. Here is what RCW 43.88.110(7) says:
If at any time during the fiscal period the governor projects a cash deficit in a particular fund or account as defined by RCW 43.88.050, the governor shall make across-the-board reductions in allotments for that particular fund or account so as to prevent a cash deficit, unless the legislature has directed the liquidation of the cash deficit over one or more fiscal periods . . .
She can call a special session in December rather than late until January. After all, what do they always do when they meet in January? They wait for the next revenue forecast. But don't think she isn't doing anything. She is very active going to D.C. to beg for more money. Also NPR. Before June 30 the trips were in violation of, first, her own, then the legislature's, travel ban. HT to Jason Mercier at Washington Policy Center.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Intellectual Ammunition - Health care - Welfare - Russia -

The nation's leading think tanks are continuing to produce critical information that expose and challenge the "big government solves everything" movement. There is excellent work being done in pockets all around the country. Get Your Intellectual Ammunition - John Hood - The Corner on National Review Online: • Writing for the Cato Institute, researchers from Cal State-Northridge and New York Presbyterian Hospital have a new study showing how and why America leads the world in medical innovation:
In general, Americans tend to receive more new treatments and pay more for them — a fact that is usually regarded as a fault of the American system. That interpretation, if not entirely wrong, is at least incomplete. Rapid adoption and extensive use of new treatments and technologies create an incentive to develop those techniques in the first place. When the United States subsidizes medical innovation, the whole world benefits. That is a virtue of the American system that is not reflected in comparative life expectancy and mortality statistics.
• The Heritage Foundation’s indispensable Robert Rector and two of his colleagues have just produced their latest summary of federal welfare spending. Years ago, Rector exploded the myth that only cash assistance to families with children was “welfare,” showing that Washington and the states spent hundreds of billions of dollars more on means-tested health benefits, day care, housing, and many other in-kind and cash programs strewn across dozens of agencies. For the 2008 fiscal year, the total welfare bill was $714 billion. Three-quarters came from the federal budget, the rest from the states. • Last month, Leon Aron of the American Enterprise Institute published a fascinating exploration of Russia’s massive economic and social problems as seen through the eyes of Russians residing in the country’s 460 company towns, or “monotowns.” Aron’s conclusion:
Intoxicated by the oil-fed economic boom, Putin's Russia has dispensed with such democratic shock absorbers as uncensored media, responsible and viable political opposition in the national legislature, and genuine local self-governance. With rigid recentralization putting the political center of gravity in the Kremlin and with the road signs and traffic lights of societal feedback largely obscured and darkened, the danger of a major accident in the next six to eight months is a distinct possibility. And monotowns are perhaps the deepest and most proximate potholes.
• Conservatives have opened up another front against Obamacare — the dubious constitutionality of federal encroachment on state budgeting and on the freedom of state residents to make their own health-care arrangements. Michael Ciamarra explains the argument well in a new piece for the Alabama Policy Institute. • If you were entertained or outraged by the disclosure this week that the federal government’s official site for reporting stimulus data has claimed tens of thousands of jobs created or saved in congressional districts that don’t actually exist, you have a network of conservative think tanks and watchdog groups to thank. As the Franklin Center reports here, the first stories on the screwup came from New Mexico Watchdog. Similar groups in other states soon followed up. The Montana Policy Institute then confronted the federal panel that oversees and got a revealing response. Read the whole thing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Places to cross-country ski for free (or almost) in the Methow

You can enjoy the Methow valley without paying $20 per person per day to tour the famed ski trails of the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association (MVSTA). With a little research and a Sno-Park permit ($21/day per car; $41 per season!), you can ski nearly (or completely) free on trails of all ability levels in our state's sunny winter wonderland. Follow the link for details. Most, but not all, require the Sno-Park permit and some research. Seattle Times Newspaper:

Obama Calls Stimulus Data Errors "Side Issue"

President 0 says to pay no attention to the massive errors in reporting spending the stimulus money. Did you know - accounting is an inexact science, he claims. Tell that to a corporate executive on trial because of a mismatch on his company's financial reports. Those reporting errors are guilty of trying to throw him off the trail, he says. And they are a side issue compared with the goal. There he is telling the truth, because the goal is rewarding his political allies with big bucks. He doesn't care if a huge amount went astray. :
President Obama brushed off criticism over his administration's inaccurate reporting on job creation Wednesday, telling Fox News the accounting is an "inexact science" and that any errors are a "side issue" when compared with the goal... ... "I think this is an inexact science. We're talking about a multitrillion-dollar economy that went through the worst economic crisis since 1933.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obama creates 30 new jobs in one congressional district. Bad news: No such district

Phantom jobs created "or saved" in a phantom Congressional district. Los Angeles Times Blog: Chicago politics, where voting is such a revered civic duty that people do it even after they're dead, cold, stiff, stuffed, boxed and buried beneath the permafrost for years, has now come to D.C. with the Obama administration. This afternoon comes the most encouraging economic news, courtesy of our keen-eyed buddy Rick Klein over at ABC, that the Obama administration's $787-billion economic stimulus has, for example, thankfully created 30 new jobs in a little-known rural corner of Arizona at a cost to American taxpayers of only $761,420. That works out to only $25,380.67 spent to create each individual job. Seems like a lot per slot, but those 30 folks must be happy to be employed again and paying taxes. This will be a real feather in the cap of Vice President Joe Biden, who's been left behind and assigned by the ever-campaigning president to monitor the stimulus plan, its spending and effectiveness moving into the crucial midterm elections of 2010. Might the Democrats snatch that House seat? So the people of that 15th Congressional District in staunchly Republican Arizona should be pretty happy about this. Trouble is, there is no 15th Congressional District in Arizona. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Doesn't exist. Not in Arizona. Not even on paper at the Democratic National Committee. There are only eight. Period. But the administration's much-vaunted website reported these jobs as being created there.

Why Obama bowed to Emperor

Click to enlarge.

Monday, November 16, 2009

'Penguin tourists' trapped in Antarctic ice

Of the Antarctic cruise ships there is one that is a real ice breaker; the others have hardened hulls that can handle brushing against floating ice, but are not ice breakers at all. The real ice breaker got itself in trouble four days ago - and still is. But their problem is only their schedule. This ship is designed and built to handle the ice it's in. 9 News - UK More than 100 penguin-loving tourists including dozens from Britain are trapped by ice off Antarctica aboard a Russian ice-breaker cruise ship. The Kapitan Khlebnikov is in a bay near Snow Hill island, located off the northeastern end of the Antarctic Peninsula, and cannot leave as the bay is sealed off with ice, the Russian transportation ministry said. "The wind has currently slowed down in the area and the massing of the ice has ended. Everything is calm aboard the ice-breaker, nothing is threatening the passengers and crew," the ministry said in a statement. "When the wind changes to a favourable direction, the ice-breaker will head into clear water and on to the port of Ushuaia," at the extreme southern end of Argentina. There were 105 passengers aboard the vessel and the total delay in the ship's scheduled trip could be around two days, it added. The ship has been at its current location for four days, German Kuzin, an official with the Far Eastern Shipping Company, the ship's owner, said in televised remarks. "There's nothing to worry about there," Kuzin said. "To put it plainly, the ship got stuck between an island and an ice massif." Many of the passengers are Britons who paid more than $18,000 for a tour whose highlight was seeing emperor penguins on Snow Hill island, according to Exodus, a British tour operator. Around 50 mostly British passengers booked their tours through Exodus and have been well cared-for while the ship has been stuck, Rob Dixon, a spokesman for Exodus, told AFP by telephone from London. "There's a lot of entertainment on board," Dixon told AFP. He said the weather was improving and predicted the ship would reach Ushaia by the end of this week, two or three days behind schedule. "They've certainly seen the penguins they came to see," Dixon added, noting that passengers had been able to leave the ship by helicopter.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Charlottesville Virginia

We are visiting grandchildren. Charlotteville is interesting and beautiful. Thomas Jefferson & U Virginia. Went to Richmond for more history. And lots of rain. I am limited to the Iphone keyboard, so more later.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Buy Obama's health insurance or go to jail - confirmed by committee

Big Government Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years. In response to the JCT letter, Camp said: “This is the ultimate example of the Democrats’ command-and-control style of governing – buy what we tell you or go to jail. It is outrageous and it should be stopped immediately.” Key excerpts from the JCT letter appear below:
“H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.” [page 1] - – - – - – - – - - “If the government determines that the taxpayer’s unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply…” [page 2] - – - – - – - – - - “Criminal penalties Prosecution is authorized under the Code for a variety of offenses. Depending on the level of the noncompliance, the following penalties could apply to an individual: • Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year. • Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.” [page 3]
... According to the Congressional Budget Office the lowest cost family non-group plan under the Speaker’s bill would cost $15,000 in 2016. You Congressman intends this for YOU.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Obama's takeover is dropping like a rock

At Intrade people put their own money on the measurable outcome of events. This is a much stronger indicator than predictions by pundits, because every opinion is expressed by risking one's own money. Obama's health care takeover is running below 10% as of 6:30 AM Pacific time. Wow. Bid 6.0; Ask 9.8. Those are expressed as parts of 100, so they are effectively percentages. And it's for completion by the end of December, 2009. But we have to continue the fight, nevertheless. Nancy Pelosi is willing to lose her majority to complete this takeover of 1/6 of the economy. She views the long-term and having everyone dependent on the government is good for the big-government libs, even if - shock! - a Republican is on top. So Nancy will continue her reckless, hiding-the-truth course ignoring the danger until she hits the rocks. I usually view the top Intrade odds as a side benefit when I regularly read Donald Luskin's Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid - aka the Krugman Truth Squad.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Sunrise over Case Inlet

Case Inlet is a far branch of Puget Sound that from near the Nisqually Delta runs north. This is the view looking west from our cabin. The Moon at sunrise today, 11/4/09. Click the photo to enlarge. The Moon appears small because my IPhone's camera has no zoom!

$60 billion in medical fraud versus $8 bil in profits

The money in profits for health insurance companies is small compared to the money taken in fraud from Medicare and Medicaid.
All it took to bilk the federal government out of $105 million was a laptop computer. From her Mediterranean-style townhouse, a high school dropout named Rita Campos Ramirez orchestrated what prosecutors call the largest health-care fraud by one person. Over nearly four years, she electronically submitted more than 140,000 Medicare claims for unnecessary equipment and services. She used the proceeds to finance big-ticket purchases, including two condominiums and a Mercedes-Benz. Health-care experts say the simplicity of Campos Ramirez's scheme underscores the scope of the growing fraud problem and the need to devote more resources to theft prevention. Law enforcement authorities estimate that health-care fraud costs taxpayers more than $60 billion each year.... Investigators and prosecutors trained their focus on Miami after noticing two troubling patterns: · HHS investigators discovered that nearly half of 1,581 medical equipment companies they visited in the Miami area did not comply with basic Medicare requirements to be open during scheduled hours and to have a telephone number. The inspector general and the Government Accountability Office have flagged weak oversight of these kinds of suppliers for a dozen years, according to congressional testimony... Authorities say the strategy is working. They point to a $1.75 billion drop in Medicare claims in Miami since the operation began a year ago. But even government officials hope for a more comprehensive solution.
$60 billion in fraud. Versus $8 billion annual profits for insurance companies - all of them. Theses are large companies serving 100 million people. Those profits are not large for that size of operation. Isn't $60 billion stolen a real problem? Via Weekly Daily Standard

Thirteen New Taxes In House Democrat Health Bill

Americans for Tax Reform put together the tax increases in the latest version of Obama's health care takeover. Some of these are outright tax increases; some are reductions in deductions, which causes paying increased taxes; some lower the standard for the IRS to rule against the legality of a deduction, which increases the taxes. Especially insidious is the tax on medical devices on page 339. Obama wants a piece of my hip replacement. H.R. 3962, the "Affordable Health Care for America Act" has been introduced--all 1990 pages of it. This gargantuan beast contains thirteen new tax hikes. Here they all are, with description and page number (PDF version): Employer Mandate Excise Tax (Page 275): If an employer does not pay 72.5 percent of a single employee’s health premium (65 percent of a family employee), the employer must pay an excise tax equal to 8 percent of average wages. Small employers (measured by payroll size) have smaller payroll tax rates of 0 percent (<$500,000), 2 percent ($500,000-$585,000), 4 percent ($585,000-$670,000), and 6 percent ($670,000-$750,000). Individual Mandate Surtax (Page 296-97): If an individual fails to obtain qualifying coverage, he must pay an income surtax equal to the lesser of 2.5 percent of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) or the average premium. MAGI adds back in the foreign earned income exclusion and municipal bond interest. Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 324): Non-prescription medications would no longer be able to be purchased from health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Insulin excepted. Cap on FSAs (Page 325): FSAs would face an annual cap of $2500 (currently uncapped). Increased Additional Tax on Non-Qualified HSA Distributions (Page 326): Non-qualified distributions from HSAs would face an additional tax of 20 percent (current law is 10 percent). This disadvantages HSAs relative to other tax-free accounts (e.g. IRAs, 401(k)s, 529 plans, etc.) Denial of Tax Deduction for Employer Health Plans Coordinating with Medicare Part D (Page 327): This would further erode private sector participation in delivery of Medicare services. Surtax on Individuals and Small Businesses (Page 336-37): Imposes an income surtax of 5.4 percent on MAGI over $500,000 ($1 million married filing jointly). MAGI adds back in the itemized deduction for margin loan interest. This would raise the top marginal tax rate in 2011 from 39.6 percent under current law to 45 percent—a new effective top rate. Excise Tax on Medical Devices (Page 339): Imposes a new excise tax on medical device manufacturers equal to 2.5 percent of the wholesale price. It excludes retail sales and unspecified medical devices sold to the general public. Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (Page 344): Requires that 1099-MISC forms be issued to corporations as well as persons for trade or business payments. Current law limits to just persons for small business compliance complexity reasons. Also expands reporting to exchanges of property. Delay in Worldwide Allocation of Interest (Page 345): Delays for nine years the worldwide allocation of interest, a corporate tax relief provision from the American Jobs Creation Act Limitation on Tax Treaty Benefits for Certain Payments (Page 346): Increases taxes on U.S. employers with overseas operations looking to avoid double taxation of earnings. Codification of the “Economic Substance Doctrine” (Page 349): Empowers the IRS to disallow a perfectly legal tax deduction or other tax relief merely because the IRS deems that the motive of the taxpayer was not primarily business-related. Application of “More Likely Than Not” Rule (Page 357): Publicly-traded partnerships and corporations with annual gross receipts in excess of $100 million have raised standards on penalties. If there is a tax underpayment by these taxpayers, they must be able to prove that the estimated tax paid would have more likely than not been sufficient to cover final tax liability

Monday, November 02, 2009

IAM union bluffed Boeing and lost

Boeing's money isn't good enough for them. Last year's strike cost Boeing a lot of money and damaged the company's reputation by delaying the 787 by at least two months and by the delivery delays in other products and contracts. The Official Blog of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation:
... The 2008 strike was Boeing’s fourth in just two decades, and, at 57 days, the longest since the 69-day strike in 1995, which “poisoned morale for years.” According to the AP, the 2008 strike cost Boeing $100 million a day in deferred revenue and postponement of the 787. That kind of loss won’t be recouped for years. Boeing’s final offer to the machinists prior to last year’s strike included a 14 percent monthly pension increase, a 2008 lump-sum bonus worth about $3,900 on average, a generous new incentive-pay plan and other perks. All told, Boeing estimated the package was worth an additional $34,000 in extra compensation to the machinists over three years. But it wasn’t enough. The machinists’ unreasonable display of “solidarity” has landed them squarely in the boat of irrelevant (sic). Union leaders foolishly carried on as though competition from other states did not exist. “Given the country's economic condition, it would be hard for Boeing or any company right now to make the investments needed to put Charleston in the realm of a first-class aircraft-assembly site," Tom Buffenbarger, the machinists’ president told the Seattle Times this July. The union called Boeing’s bluff, and turned out to be wrong.
It wasn't a bluff.
For its part, Boeing had had enough. Just after the company made the South Carolina announcement, Boeing’s vice president of human resources and one of the lead negotiators in the talks with the machinists told the Times that the company was “unwilling to indulge the kind of last-minute brinkmanship that has been typical in all recent contract negotiations with the [machinists].” [The article linked at the Seattle Times has been removed by the Times.]

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The people of Honduras will decide their president

Honduras has overcome pressure to reinstate its ex-president who was legally removed. There appears to be wide acceptance of having an election rather than forcing Honduras to violate their constitution and reinstate him. Maybe I am assuming that the election follows their constitution. Key to the agreement is senior US Congressman Eliot Engel. This is very good news. It really hurt to see our government taking the questionable approach. Besides, Castro and President-for-life Hugo Chavez were big on it. That alone causes pause. The American, A Magazine of Ideas
After months of bickering among self-interested politicians and self-important foreign meddlers about the June 28 ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, late last night Zelaya accepted a proposal by the interim government under which the supreme court will decide whether the congress can review his removal from office. Although it is quite doubtful that the court and congress—which approved of Zelaya’s removal in the first place—will return him to power, this formula clears away international sanctions and ensures recognition of November 29 elections in which 4.7 million voters will choose a new president and congress. This solution represents a triumph for the Honduran people and their constitution, and it recognizes that Honduras’ future is much more important than Zelaya’s fate. The U.S. State Department and the Organization of American States (OAS) had painted themselves into a corner by suggesting that the international community would not observe or respect these elections unless Zelaya were restored to power. However, a key Democratic congressman—Representative Eliot Engel (D–New York), chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere—recently stepped up to state the obvious: the international community should support these elections as a logical solution to the political impasse. Representative Engel noted in an October 21 statement that all of the presidential candidates (including a representative of Zelaya’s own party) had asked OAS to observe the elections. “I urge OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza to grant this request,” Engel said, “so that an effective election monitoring effort can be put into place.” Engel’s leadership forced U.S. and OAS diplomats to back away from their absolutist position and recognize that the upcoming elections were more important than Zelaya’s return to power.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Beware Jumping in Pools blog - fake news stories

Stay away from this one, not Gateway, he is good, but Jumping in Pools. Gateway Pundit: Jumping in Pools Blog is a website that specializes in writing realistic but fake stories, publishing them and then watching who will link to their bogus news story. The blog does not identify itself as a satire site and several of their satire pieces are so close to fact that it is hard to tell the difference. Don’t be fooled. Several conservatives have fallen for their pranks and Reuters even published one of their posts at least once. This is a dangerous website. The latest conservatives to fall for one of their fake news stories were Rush Limbaugh and Michael Ledeen. On August 25 Jumping in Pools posted a fake article about Obama’s far left college thesis. Obama wrote his thesis on a nuke free world. He never released it during the campaign because it is reportedly filled with radical slurs against America. The state-run media never cared much about it. So in August Jumping in Pools posted one of their fake stories claiming they found this thesis. Last week Rush’s team and Michael fell victim to the prank. Tonight the state-run media is getting a good laugh at Rush’s expense.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Censorship by Attorney General Holder

President Obama doesn't like criticism. Who does? But Obama's Attorney General took the extreme step and actively censored criticism of an Obama policy recently. It's very chilling for the top legal officer in the government to tell you to shut up. Obama talks about increasing opportunities and more flexibility in K-12 education. But his actions speak louder than his words. He is killing a D.C. voucher program that gets kids into better schools. And censoring those to disagree. Silencing Voices for School Choice - Weekly Standard:
Former D.C. Councilmember Kevin Chavous of D.C. Children First said October 16 that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had recently approached him and told him to kill the ad. The 30-second ad, which has been airing on FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and News Channel 8 to viewers in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, urges the president to reauthorize the federally-funded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that provides vouchers of up to $7,500 for D.C. students to attend private schools. The ad features Chavous and a young boy--one of 216 students whose scholarships were rescinded by the Department of Education earlier this year when the agency announced no new students would be allowed into the program. The ad also includes an excerpt taken from one of Obama's campaign statements. "We're losing several generations of kids," Obama says, "and something has to be done." "President Obama is ending a program that helps low-income kids go to better schools, refusing to let any new children in," Chavous says in the ad. "I'm a lifelong Democrat, and I support our president. But it's wrong that he won't support an education program that helps our kids learn."
Censorship is often misunderstood. Editing by the media is not censorship; it might be biased, but it's not censorship. Censorship is prior restraint of speech by the government. This is the real thing. Via Cato.

Monday, October 26, 2009

ACORN-registered voter convicted of vote fraud

ACORN claims that their fraudulent registering noneligible voters and registering people multiple times is no big deal because they never vote. PROVEN FALSE. A cross-dressing Ohio man has been convicted of illegally voting. The American Spectator : The Nine Voting Lives of ACORN&#039;s Darnell Nash: ... a cross-dressing Ohio male escort whom ACORN registered multiple times to vote was convicted of full-fledged vote fraud in addition to the lesser crime of voter registration fraud. A spokesman for Cleveland prosecutor Bill Mason confirmed yesterday that a local investigation of ACORN remains wide open. The conviction of Darnell Nash, apparently known by several aliases including Serina "Sexy Slay" Gibbs, is hugely significant for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that ACORN has long maintained that vote fraud, as opposed to the lesser crime of voter registration fraud, essentially never happens.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bending the cost curve - Up! - Obama's health care takeover

The Obama administration analyzed Obama's health care takeover and found it will raise, not lower, costs. The Actuarial section of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did the analysis. The whole report is here (pdf). Read Joseph Ragu's column on it: America in the World: Bending the Curve -- Up!: Supposedly the whole point of ObamaCare was to 'bend the curve' and reduce the growth rate of health-care spending. Everyone now knows it will do the opposite -- as at least one corner of the Obama Administration is willing to admit. "This week, the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, released a cost estimate for the House health bill. Its projections mostly track those issued by the Congressional Budget Office, but CMS does ask some questions that CBO so far hasn't pursued. The results aren't pretty. "CMS estimates the House bill would add 2.1 percentage points to the (already high) annual growth rate of national health spending. In 2019, when the second decade of ObamaCare would kick in, the bill would add 2.7 points to the growth rate. "CMS also observes that the 'game changers' President Obama and especially budget chief Peter Orszag used to promote, like comparative effectiveness research and more wellness programs, are actually nonchangers. They'll save a pitiful $2.1 billion over a decade -- about 0.002% of the $1.042 trillion in new spending authorized by the House bill. "Even the good news isn't so good. CMS says spending growth would be even higher except that so many more people will receive their care from government, allowing Washington to economize through 'sizable discounts imposed on providers,' which is one way of putting it. (Another way of putting it: Expect long lines and shabbier treatment as fewer doctors are willing to treat government-insured patients.) "In fact, CMS estimates that seven years after the bill's provisions take effect, government's share of total health-care spending will have risen to 55% from today's 47%. Single payer, here we come.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I am going to vote for Initiative 1033 because it's a smart way to limit spending that has some safety valves. If an emergency occurs, like the politicians have claimed every year since I was born, they can convince the voters and the voters can choose to raise their taxes. I-1033 allows keeping a rainy-day fund; it allows tax increases by vote; borrowing is allowed; and the legislature can change it after two years. Oh oh, another emergency is coming... In the link Eyman compares I-1033 to Colorado's TABOR. His summary is below the link. Sound Politics: EYMAN CONTRASTS I-1033 WITH COLORADO: Initiative 1033 contains proven policy which is eminently reasonable -- it allows government an automatic increase every year equal to the growth of the economy. It has a built-in safety valve, the same as I-601: if government thinks the automatic increase isn't a big enough increase, they can go to the voters and ask for more. I-1033, just like I-601, allows the people, and not the politicians, to decide how fast government grows and how big a tax burden we can afford. I-601's fiscal discipline worked, it will work again with the passage of I-1033.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dumbest RINO trick of this year

The Republican power elite chose a woman supported by ACORN, Dede Scozafava for the special election in New York's 23d district. She is not just a RINO - Republican in Name Only - but far left; she also supports Obama's health care takeover, cap and trade, and the unions taking away the private ballot with card check. Also NY Daily News. And she is dumb. She held a campaign event in front of her opponent Doug Hoffman's office and his supporters came out with their Doug Hoffman signs in front of the cameras set up for her appearance. Hat tip: American Thinker

Thursday, October 22, 2009

One more day and a wakeup call

Tomorrow is my last day working at Boeing after 39 years and 10 months. My military veteran friends tell me two days to go is "one day and a wake up call." Because the duties end on the second to last day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Public Option Deception

Obama wants his takeover of health care to be complete. For that he needs the Federal government to be providing health care for most people. That's the "public option." It is the road to single-payer. They say they don't want this takeover - the public option. But they always have wanted it. And they said so repeatedly. Big Government ... More damning still, we uncovered video of the original architect of the public option, Yale professor Jacob Hacker, describing how it was designed to not “frighten people into thinking they are going to lose their private insurance” even though that is the inevitable result. In another clip he denies the plan is a Trojan horse saying, on the contrary, “it’s right there”. In other words, it’s not even a secret. Most relevant of all, Hacker admits in another clip that the real advantage of his plan is that “at least you can make the claim that there is competition between the public and private sectors”. In other words, this is all a marketing strategy designed to get around public resistance to government-run health care. For his part, President Obama has been an extremely disciplined salesman. The mantra of “choice and competition” has been repeated to the point that it is little more than political background noise. To this day, neither the President nor any of his spokespeople have been challenged by the media about these claims, despite the fact that there is video evidence which directly contradicts what he is saying. So confident is the President that the media will toe his line that, in a speech in front of the American Medical Association, the President explicitly denied that the public option was a “Trojan horse” for a single payer system. On this, and numerous other occasions, he has said that opponents of reform who claim this are not telling the truth. Outside talk radio, the conservative blogosphere, and a couple editorials in the Wall Street Journal, no one has been willing to suggest that the opposite is the case. With so many proponents of reform caught on tape directly contradicting the President, it almost seems as if the mainstream media has intentionally avoided covering this story. And as anyone who has been paying attention knows, that’s something they’ve been guilty of more than once since Obama took office. NY Times public editor Clark Hoyt admitted in a bombshell statement that the paper had risked appearing biased for its failure to cover the Van Jones and ACORN stories as they broke. The Washington Post was similarly chastened. And as it turns out, both papers may have an additional reason to avoid touching this story. Because politicians are not the only ones we have exposed admitting the truth about the public option. Back in June, we posted a video of Ezra Klein from the Washington Post revealing how the public option was designed as a “sneaky strategy” to move towards single payer. And we have posted videos of Paul Krugman from the NY Times admitting much the same. ...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vince Flynn at Third Place Books Monday night

Best-selling novelist Vince Flynn will be presenting his new book Pursuit of Honor Monday night at 7 PM. At Third Place Books The top level of Lake Forest Park Town Center mall: 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155 Directions and map This is my neighborhood. I like to walk there.