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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Washington Feeds Itself

We recently learned - and were awed by the fact - that the three most affluent counties in the United States are not around San Francisco or on Long Island. They're up in the Washington D.C. suburbs. Government, and those who feed off of government, are doing okay for themselves, it appears.

So this should surprise no one:
Stimulus Bill Sends Thrill Through Region
Local Officials Drawing Up Wish Lists
By Daniel de Vise and John Wagner, Washington Post Staff Writers

As Congress prepares legislation to pump more than $800 billion into the economy, governments in the Washington region are lining up for their share: dollars that could mobilize stalled projects to mend water mains, repave roads and rebuild schools, as well as plug other budgetary holes.

"There are many, many projects that are ready to go as soon as we know the criteria and how much money we're getting," said Gordon Hickey, a spokesman for Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D).

The stimulus plan is viewed in the two states and the District as something of a bailout. [link]
"Something of a bailout." No shit.

So the government is going do for the states of Virginia and Maryland that which the two states have - since the beginning of time - been expected to do for themselves. And most of the manna from heaven will go to a small handful of counties ... where, I wonder.

What did you expect? The tens of thousands of people who now make up that ever expanding government bureaucracy have to deal with the potholes and the lousy schools and the power outages and the inadequate police protection and the housing shortage for illegals and ...

More importantly, they have access to wads of cash to fix all that.

So they take it. And fix it.

Loudoun and Fairfax are the two most affluent counties in the nation. Any wonder?

- - -

A related thought. Here's something to consider, from the same Washington Post:
"The nation's employers, including some of its largest and most sturdy, announced plans yesterday to slash more than 55,000 jobs, a staggering one-day toll that highlighted how quickly layoffs are accelerating and how widely misery is spreading throughout the labor market."
How many of those 55,000 layoffs involve government employees who live in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties?

Zero.

In the nation's capital, Life Is Goooood.

When You Dance With The Devil

Now that Citigroup is tied at the hip to the federal government, what with President Bush having handed tens of billions of our tax dollars to America's largest (remaining) financial services company, making Citi beholden to Washington like never before, this should have been anticipated:
Obama & Congress Blast Citi Over Jet
By Jennifer Gould Keil and Chuck Bennett, The New York Post

High-flying Citigroup executives, trying desperately to hang on to their new, $50 million luxury jet, took heavy flak yesterday from the White House and Congress after The Post revealed how the beleaguerred bank is blowing taxpayers' rescue funds.

The Financial behemoth, being kept afloat by $45 billion in public life support, should not be spending its precious greenbacks on frivolous luxuries, said President Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs. [link]

Should Citigroup have made that purchase under the circumstances? In a more sane time, I'd say it's none of my - or your - business. The people who made the decision are obligated to the stockholders, not to me. But now it is our business, isn't it? Part of that jet was paid for by ... YOU AND ME.

Good grief.

From all indications, Citigroup had no alternative other than to take that pile of federal cash if it was going to survive. But that largesse came at a price. A price measured in federal meddling. Meddling that is now well-deserved.

This is all so tragic.

So Where Is It?

When I saw this New York Times headline, I thought the accompanying article was going to be about something entirely different:

The Epidemic That Wasn’t

It turns out to be about cocaine addiction.

I thought it was going to finally put a nail in the coffin of something entirely different - the chicken flu pandemic scare. I guess they're not giving up on that one yet.

Let's take a trip down memory lane. The same New York Times, two years ago:
“We have to be prepared for a Category 5 pandemic,” said Dr. Martin Cetron, director of global migration and quarantine for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in releasing the guidelines. “It’s not easy. The only thing that’s harder is facing the consequences. That will be intolerable.

“No one’s arguing that by closing all the schools, you’re going to prevent the spread,” Dr. Markel added. “But if you can cut cases by 10 or 20 or 30 percent and it’s your family that’s spared, that’s a big deal.

The guidelines did not suggest using the military to enforce quarantines, as President Bush said he might do when he first mentioned avian flu in 2005.

Dr. Levi said that using the National Guard to set up temporary clinics or move pharmaceutical supplies might make sense.
Call out the military! Set up clinics! We're all going to die!

Or not.

So how many Americans died in the chicken flu pandemic of 2006-2007 (the one that I had great fun in ridiculing at the time)?

0.

Zero.

So you know, I saw a billboard alongside the highway last week warning people to prepare for ... you guessed it.

For the love of God.

No Worries. We'll Do Another Bailout.

What is the definition of madness? The government forcing emissions mandates down Detroit's throat, restrictions that force America's Big Three auto makers to focus less on profitable automobiles and more on those little boxcars that nobody wants to buy and that GM, Ford, and Chrysler lose money on, forcing the auto makers to now be headed toward bankruptcy (the deal between Chrysler and Fiat notwithstanding), forcing the government to provide massive amounts of bailout money to them to keep them afloat so that the government can issue even more strict mandates, forcing the Big Three to lose even more money and forcing the taxpayers to provide ever bigger bailouts.

What?

Exhibit A:
Detroit Calls Emissions Proposals Too Strict
By Nick Bunkley, The New York Times

Detroit — Automakers said Monday that they were working toward President Obama’s goal of reducing fuel consumption, but rapid imposition of stricter emissions standards could force them to drastically cut production of larger, more profitable vehicles, adding to their financial duress.

Mr. Obama ordered the government on Monday to reconsider whether California and other states could regulate vehicle emissions to help control greenhouse gas emissions, a reversal of a position taken by the Bush administration.

The announcement came as General Motors and Chrysler are borrowing billions of dollars from the government to avoid bankruptcy, and as Toyota prepares to report its first operating loss in 70 years. Shortly after the president spoke, General Motors said it would cut 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio because of slow sales. [link]
Madness. Absolute madness.

God To Al:

"Stop."

There is a phenomenon that has developed over recent years that has been termed "The Gore Effect." According to the Urban Dictionary:

"The phenomenon that leads to unseasonably cold temperatures, driving rain, hail, or snow whenever Al Gore visits an area to discuss global warming. Hence, the Gore Effect."

For proof:
Gore Hearing On Warming Put On Ice
The Drudge Report

Al Gore is scheduled before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning to once again testify on the 'urgent need' to combat global warming.

But Mother Nature seems ready to freeze the proceedings.

A 'Winter Storm Watch' has been posted for the nation's capitol and there is a potential for significant snow... sleet... or ice accumulations.

A spokesman for Sen. John Kerry, who chairs the committee, was not immediately available to comment on contingency plans. [link]
Can these people be any more clueless?

Anyway, Al Gore's coming to town to talk about global warming. Put logs on the fire. Shutter the windows. Prepare for the worst.