Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Greece defaulted. Page C3

I have been convinced that it would be better for the worst offending counties in Europe to default than to allow Europe's banking system to melt down. And I recall someone saying that when it happened there would be a great effort to hide the news. It happened - both.

Tuesday Feb. 28 headline
S&P Declares Greece in Default
On page C3 of Wall Street Journal

It is shocking and sad but Greece asked for it and the other Euro-zone countries allowed them to.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Obamacare hurts 0 in the swing states

Obama gets what he asked for. Nancy Pelosi hid the details; Obama promised things that he didn't put in the bill - even after the bill was written. Now that people are learning what it does and will do they don't like it and Pelosi and Obama get the credit = blame.
Susan Page in USA Today
The health care overhaul that President Obama intended to be the signature achievement of his first term instead has become a significant problem in his bid for a second one, uniting Republicans in opposition and eroding his standing among independents.

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of the nation's dozen top battleground states, a clear majority of registered voters call the bill's passage "a bad thing" and support its repeal if a Republican wins the White House in November. Two years after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act— and as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments about its constitutionality next month — the president has failed to convince most Americans that it was the right thing to do. 
"Mandating that you have to buy the insurance rubs me the wrong way altogether," says Fred Harrison, 62, a horse trainer from York County, Pa., who was among those surveyed and supports repeal even though he likes some provisions of the law. "It should be my own choice." 
"It seems like it forces you to take health care (coverage), and you don't really have a say in the matter," says Beth Leffew, 26, a college student from Cincinnati. She says the president "didn't really listen to people" when they objected to the proposed bill. "It seems like he just shoved it right through Congress." 
Though the law has avid supporters, especially in the president's Democratic base, the net effect among middle-of-the-road voters is negative for him. What's more, the issue unites the GOP when the party is fractured among competing presidential contenders.
In the poll, Obama lags the two leading Republican rivals in the 12 states likely to determine the outcome of a close race in November...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The perfect progressive city - Detroit

Detroit was very successful in 1950 - highest per capita income of all US cities. But then they adopted every progressive dream. And look how far Detroit has fallen.

Some of the dream policies -

- A "living wage" ordinance, far above the federal minimum wage, for all public employees and private contractors.
- A school system that spends significantly more per pupil than the national average.
- A powerful school employee union that militantly defends the exceptional pay, benefits and job security it has won for its members.
- Other government employee unions that do the same for their members.
- A tax system that aggressively redistributes income from businesses and the wealthy to the poor and to government bureaucracies.

Detroit is a corrupt, bankrupt mess. Do you think it is a coincidence? Not likely.

Mackinac Center in Michigan

Monday, February 20, 2012

Who was George Washington? And an Inn

We honor President Washington for his heroic leadership in the founding of our country. He was sold as a rock in leading the Continental Army. Then at victory, at the peak of his power, he could have been king, but he retired to his farm.

He was asked to oversee the writing of the US Constitution. Not to lead it - Madison and Hamilton did that - but just to be present, so the proceedings stayed proper. Then when acclaimed president he rejected being president-for-life and retired after two terms.

George Washington's Sacred Fire by Peter Lillbeck shows Washington to be a man, who, faced with unprecedented challenges and circumstances, ultimately drew upon his persistent qualities of character - honesty, justice, equity, perseverence, piety, forgiveness, humility, and servant leadership, to become one of the most revered figures in world history.

George Washington's Sacred Fire at Amazon

Book presentation by the author last year - Spirit of George Washington blog

And an inn

On the Olympic Peninsula of Washington? Yes. In the super rain shadow, between Port Angeles and Sequim, Washington there is a replica of Washington's Mount Vernon on a bluff overlooking the Straight of Juan de Fuca. It looks perfect. And what a great setting for it.
George Washington Inn

The photo: From George Washington Inn.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Noncitizens voted. Criminal investigation

Those who are always promoting making voter registration easier and easier always ignore the problem of ineligible people voting. They just want more people to vote. We say, "But making it easier ineligible people voting, like non citizens or convicted felons who have not had their vote reinstated."

They response that ineligible people might be registered, but they never vote. Never. It is just over-eager registration collectors (who are paid). Oh, Never?

In Florida law enforcement is investigating non-citizens voting. Voter fraud is a third-degree felony in Florida.

It wasn't hard to find the non-citizen voters. They looked at the excuse forms for jury duty for "I cannot serve because I am not a US citizen." 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Puget Sound Explorers - Key Peninsula

My kind of people - explorers. They blog their explorations at Puget Sound Explorers.

They recently spent a day where I spend days every months - Key Peninsula in South Puget Sound, west of Tacoma. They spent time at Creviston Valley Farm and Trillium Creek Winery. I haven't taken in this farm yet, but I have had the tour at the winery and bought their wine. I am not the person to carefully judge wines, but I will buy theirs again.

Longbranch and Lakebay

There is much more to include in an exploration of Key Peninsula.
  • Bed and breakfasts - Glen Cove Hotel is big on hosting weddings.
  • Shoreline State Parks - Penrose Point, which is a star, and Joemma Beach, which is nice.
  • Lavender Farms - at least two of them.
  • Parks. For such a laid-back rural area the city and county parks are pretty good. There is even a new little park with beach access.
  • Historic churches - I have yet to explore, but there are some at Vaughn Bay, Longbranch, and …
  • And for strange history, the town of Home, which had its post office closed, then the post office of tiny Lakebay was moved there. Yes, a town whose post office has the name of another. I need to find a good write up of this.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dr. Art Coday for Senate

Dr. Art Coday is running for the US Senate seat kept warm by Maria Cantwell. Coday is a Harvard-trained, primary-care medical doctor whose practice is with Medicare and Medicaid patients. He ran two years ago, but stepped down when Dino Rossi announced his candidacy. He then ran for legislature and outperformed Dino Rossi in a strong Democrat district.

Coday is very effective at explaining limited government and growth-oriented economic policy and knows health-care issues including Obamacare inside out.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Whale Trail in Washington

A great resource for the wildlife viewer. There is a system of 25 on-shore (mostly) sites that are good for viewing marine mammals, especially orca whales. Washington waters also regularly host gray and humpback whales and sperm whales were seen this year.

They are in Puget Sound, Staight of Juan de Fuca, on San Juan Island, one on the Pacific Coast. The exception to the on-shore rule is -- on all Washington State Ferries. There is great viewing on the ferries, but who gets to spend much time on them?

None of the sites are south of the Tacoma Narrows where we hang out. In the South Sound we have hundreds of resident harbor seals and California sea lions come every year during the darker months. But whales don't regularly go south of the Tacoma Narrows. Though they sometimes do; our next-door neighbor had a close encounter with two orcas (as I recall) about five years ago when he was on his boat that was anchored. Being anchored means he was in shallow water, probably 5 feet of water at our lowest minus 4 tides. And less than two hundred meters from our bulkhead (high tide mark). He had no warning: suddenly they come up near him.

The photo: It's mine! I took it from a 20-foot panga boat in the Pacific Ocean about two miles off the shore of Cabo San Lucas. With my pocket-size digital camera I never use more than 3x telephoto, so you know we were close. When this close you make sure you are following the whale. Don't get in front of hime. We only saw this one whale, but he breached like this continuously for half an hour! Click to enlarge.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nice hand printing press for sale

I listed my father's little Kelsey Excelsior 3 by 5 inch printing press for sale on Craigslist. It is small, but heavy. A very nice piece of machinery.

See my blog post last July for more photos. (For some reason I referred to it as a printer.)

Obama listens and does not change his birth-control/abortion policy

President Obama approved the HHS rule announced two weeks ago that requires all Christian nonprofits - hospitals, schools, universities - to provide birth control and the morning-after pill for free. The morning-after pill prevents a fertilized egg from implanting; that is considered to be an abortion.

There was massive blowback, because the First Amendment provides free exercise of religion. And this forces Christians, particularly Catholics to violate their conscience. Even from Democrat senators and congressmen and liberal's liberal Chris Matthews pushed back.

So Obama changed his policy - to be the same. No change! Seattle Times

Original policy: Every employer must provide birth control and morning-after pill for free. Every employer uses insurance, so they must buy insurance that provides birth control and morning-after pill for free.

New compromise policy because Obama listened. Every insurer must provide birth control and morning-after pill for free. Every employer uses insurance, so they must buy insurance that provides birth control and morning-after pill for free.

Didn't you notice the difference? No. Because there is none.
"It's an accounting trick," said Mike Gonzales of the Heritage Foundation. "Do they think people are stupid?"
Wesley Smith of Discovery Institute provides broader context at National Review Online.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ryan Lewis birthday

Ryan Lewis is happy and growing after his first birthday. He nearly died in his first month because his liver was severely damaged before birth. He received a liver transplant and made many overnight hospital stays.

Puyallup Herald

Ryan is my niece's son. There has been a lot of prayer go up from this household for him and his family.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Cantwell action for higher oil prices

Senator Maria Cantwell again talked about US energy independence and prices when taking action against both:

I know that gas prices going up are a very big challenge to us and we need to find alternatives to foreign oil,”

Yesterday she killed a source of oil while saying that.

Tacoma News - Tribune

Monday, February 06, 2012

Seattle South Park bridge under construction

I admit that this is not a story with wide interest. But I grew up in West Seattle and worked for Boeing for decades. And my last Boeing project before retiring was with Flight Test. Flight Test is located at Boeing Field, of course, but several hundred people, including me, were/are across the Duwamish River in South Park. So during my last four months of work I drove over this bridge every day.

The 16th Ave SW bridge aka South Park bridge was closed in June, 2010, due to age and just plain wearing out. The politicians showed up for the cameras, but didn't work together to get its replacement going until after it closed. Construction is began in August, 2011, and the new bridge is scheduled to open in mid 2013.

The official page for the project - King County 
West Seattle blog is also following it, of course, with recent photos from pilot/photographer Long B. Nguyen.

Photo: The green squares are the supports for the new bridge, next to the remains of the old bridge. By Long B. Nguyen

White House employees owe back taxes to the IRS

White House employees owe a huge amount in taxes to the IRS. Thirty six employees owe an average of $23,165.33! Daily Caller

Who cares?

Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah wants to do something about it. (Oh, he is a Republican.) Now only IRS employees are penalized for thumbing their nose at Timothy Geithner, the tax man. Chaffetz's HR 828 allows federal management to fire employees who are seriously delinquent in federal taxes

Rep. Chaffetz

“If you work for the federal government and you don't pay your taxes, you should be fired. It is totally unacceptable to live on the federal payroll and not pay your taxes. The Obama Administration has totally ignored this cheating. Congress should pass my bill and hold federal workers accountable.” 

This past June, Mr. Chaffetz introduced legislation (H.R. 828) which would terminate the employment of current federal employees and prohibit the hiring of future federal employees who have a “seriously delinquent tax debt.” Similar legislation was introduced during the 111th Congress (H.R. 4735). Each employee terminated would be subject to due process. The Daily Caller published a column by Mr. Chaffetz on this subject in March 2011. 

According to FERDI, more than 98,000 federal civilian employees owed $1.034 billion in unpaid federal income taxes in 2010. When retirees and military personnel are included, nearly 280,000 people owed $3.4 billion. Currently, only IRS employees can be terminated by their agency for non-payment of federal income taxes.
Current news sources say that Chaffetz's bill allows, not requires, firing, but his own web site says "would terminate…"

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Take another year off, Senator Cantwell

Honorable Senator Harry Reid announced that his Senate won't fulfill the budget process this year. The Democrats' budget would be the rough numbers that were cobbled together behind closed doors in the crush of the Obama-made debt-ceiling crisis last August.

Why would he want to write a budget? If they build the budget they have to show the American public how they plan to spend more than they bring in. And how they plan to raise taxes.

For cover Senator Conrad of ND intends to do the first step of the process, then set it on the shelf. That won't fulfill the process required by the budget law either.

Follow the law? Harry Reid?

And what will our two senators do with all their free time? Take another year off. This is the third year they have flouted the law and not built the budget.

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions responded: (The Hill)
“It’s been more than 1,000 days since Senate Democrats have offered a budget plan to the American people," Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the budget committee, said in a statement. “Now, once again, the Senate’s ineffectual Democrat majority balks at the task of leadership.” 
Sessions argued Senate Democrats don’t want to spell out a long-term budget plan for fear of public scrutiny. 
"[Reid] obviously continues in his belief that it would be politically foolish for his members to go on record in support of any long-term vision," he said. "But by refusing to lay out a budget plan for public examination — a fact no one can deny — the Democrat Senate has forfeited the high privilege to lead this chamber." 
… Sessions argued that the spending caps under the debt-limit agreement "crafted behind closed doors and rushed to passage at the 11th hour under threat of panic, do not even approach the definition of the budget process that the [Budget Control Act] law requires." 
"They are not in any way or any sense a Senate Democrat budget plan," Sessions said.
"There is no argument that can be made that these caps are a long-term vision for this country — not on taxes, not on entitlements, not on spending, not on debt."
Senator Charles "Chucky" Schumer of New York joined Reid,
"They're attacking us because they have nothing better to do. They need something else to talk about."
Via Daily Caller

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Remember Obama's 3 years

Today is third anniversary of President Obama telling Matt Lauer on "Today":

"I WILL be held accountable. You know, I've got four years. ... A year from now, I think people are gonna see that we're starting to make some progress, but there's still gonna be some pain out there. If I don't this done in THREE years, then there's gonna be a one-term proposition."

You are right, Mr. President! There is the door.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Obama is killing energy sources and jobs

Obama's Jobs Commission says The US needs energy for our economic development.

So Obama kills energy sources AND jobs. And this is despite detailed study showing no impact on the environment.

… “the Department of State’s Final Environmental Impact Statement reaffirmed the findings of the two previous environmental impact statements, namely, that the Keystone XL Pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment.”

Understanding the economic implications, Democratic Senators Max Baucus, Jon Tester, Joe Manchin, Ben Nelson, Mark Begich, and Mary Landrieu have all expressed support for the pipeline.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu did not explicitly support the pipeline but did acknowledge that “it’s not perfect, but it’s a trade off” and that Canadian oil sands producers are “making great strides in improving the environmental impact of the extraction of this oil.” These are bold words from a man who has unabashedly derided fossil fuels in support of renewable energy and welcomed high gas prices. President Obama’s former “car czar” Steve Rattner also emphasized that the president should approve the pipeline permit.

Obama deserves no credit for oil and gas boom

The one person who deserves no credit for the oil and gas boom is the person who claims it - Barack Obama. In fact, this Administration has bent over backwards to make oil and gas production and exploration as difficult as possible.

"... According to the Institute for Energy Research (IER), the Obama Administration has been issuing BLM oil and gas leases at the lowest pace of any president in the last 30 years – in fact at half the rate of the Clinton White House and 80% slower than in the Reagan era, dragging their feet to please the environmental lobby (see top chart above).
By comparing oil and gas production on Federal vs. state and private lands, we can get a true read on this Administration’s energy policy. Since Obama took office, according to the Institute for Energy Research, oil production has fallen precipitously on Federal onshore and offshore leases, while it has increased by an even larger amount on state and private lands largely outside of this Administration’s reach. The only reason total oil [and gas] production has increased since Obama took office is because private companies on state and private lands have increased production enough to offset the large drop that has occurred in Obama-controlled producing regions. Obama’s taking credit for the current oil and gas boom ranks up there in the pantheon of great political whoppers right next to Al Gore’s invention of the Internet."

Graphics from Mark Perry