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

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Vote Of 'No Confidence'?

On the bank bailout bill a few months ago, Congressman Rick Boucher had this to say:
People understand what’s at stake here. They know this is not a gift to anybody. They understand this is an investment.

In the case of TARP, the government is buying stock in banks. As these banks stabilize and begin to earn greater profits, the government will get its money back and potentially profit from it. ... In the absence of the government making these investments, the economy would be in a lot worse shape than it is today. [source]
You know that old saying: "Hi. I'm from the government. I'm here to help."

A suggestion: Beware of government busybodies who tell you they come to you with "investments" and have your best interests at heart.

Apparently some aren't as confident as Mr. Boucher seems to be about the bailout's potential success. In fact, his actions could be viewed by some as an effort to weaken the banking industry.

That might explain this (click on the image to enlarge it) , found on a sign at a bank ... in Boucher's hometown of Abingdon:

Most local banks, as the management of this one seems to be wanting everyone to understand, didn't get caught up in the risky loan business that has swept so many of America's larger lending institutions from America's landscape. There are still gobs of smaller banks that are still viable and making loans to local patrons on a daily basis.

It could also be a message to the good congressman:

"We know what we're doing. Butt out."

In either case, these guys rock.

A Well-Reasoned Editorial

The Galax Gazette, to its credit, gets it mostly right in "A big plate of pork."

"The stimulus bill is seasoned with a lot of spending — too much, for some tastes. Now, it's up to Virginia and Twin County localities to make the best of it and prove that the money headed our way is for progress, not pork."

But they couldn't leave well enough alone. They had to throw this in there:

"Spending only gets labeled as 'pork' when it makes little sense in the bigger picture. A cheese museum in Wisconsin could be as valid as a bluegrass exhibit in Virginia, depending on your perspective and your culture and the kinds of tourists you're trying to attract."

They are right, of course. A cheese museum in Wisconsin IS as valid as the federal government paying for a bluegrass exhibit in Galax. Both are nothing more than attempts on the part of legislators to ingratiate themselves with their constituents, when there isn't some kind of quid pro quo - think graft - involved. Neither will provide the desired effect. Both are pork. Both are a waste of our hard-earned income.

And neither effort will attract tourists. After thirty years of trying, you'd think these geniuses would have gotten a clue by now.

Other than that, it's a good editorial.

Oh, Now They Squeal

Liberals like taxes. As long as it's someone else getting it in the shorts:
Tax Me If You Can
Wall Street Journal editorial

We're constantly told that taxes don't matter to business and investors, but listen to that noted supply-side economist, Alec Baldwin. The actor recently rebuked New York Governor David Paterson for threatening to try to help close the state's $7 billion budget deficit by canceling a 35% tax credit for films shot in the Big Apple.

"I'm telling you right now," Mr. Baldwin declared, "if these tax breaks are not reinstated into the budget, film production in this town is going to collapse, and television is going to collapse and it's all going to go to California." Well, well. Apparently taxes do matter, at least when it comes to filming "30 Rock" in Manhattan.

Believe it or not, Mr. Baldwin's views are shared across the movie industry ...

Of course, this is the same Hollywood film industry whose members fund causes and candidates that favor raising taxes on everyone else. The Motion Picture Production and Distribution industry last year gave $14 million in political contributions: 89% went to pro-tax Democrats. [link]
The devil in me says: Good. Tax the livin' hell out of them. They, more than most, have brought the mess we're in down upon us.

But then, they had a lot of help and encouragement. And I'm not a vindictive person. And I don't want anyone paying punitive taxes. Even the "beautiful people" in lala land.

It would be nice, though, if these fools realized they were talking out of both sides of their mouths.

Tell Us What You Really Think

Rod Dreher says the New York Times editorial page is comprised of androids, one-note wonders, and tittle-tattlers. Seems right to me:
I never have taken Dowd seriously -- she's the best example I can think of re: the danger of being all style, no substance; she simply has no core beliefs, and is little more than a gossip columnist, though a gifted writer of prose -- and Rich, while energetic, is utterly predictable. Herbert is a one-note drone, as Packer said. Agree with them or not, you at least get the idea that Brooks and Krugman are trying to deal with the world as it is, in a real way.

But listen, could there be any columnist of his stature more irrelevant today than Thomas Friedman?
Ouch.

Looks like I ain't the only one who's noticed ...

Pathetic

The best way to illustrate how clueless our new president is? Instead of constructive ideas, we get this:
Obama's New Tack: Blaming Bush
By Scott Wilson, Washington Post Staff Writer

In his inaugural address, President Obama proclaimed "an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics."

It hasn't taken long for the recriminations to return -- or for the Obama administration to begin talking about the unwelcome "inheritance" of its predecessor.

Over the past month, Obama has reminded the public at every turn that he is facing problems "inherited" from the Bush administration, using increasingly bracing language to describe the challenges his administration is up against. The "deepening economic crisis" that the president described six days after taking office became "a big mess" in remarks this month to graduating police cadets in Columbus, Ohio. [link]
When you read the article carefully, you come to realize that the premise doesn't hold. His isn't a new tack at all. Obama criticized Bush in his inaugural speech, he criticized Bush in the first month of his own presidency, and he whined about the "mess" Bush left him this "past month."

So where's the "change in tack"? Obama has done nothing but criticize Bush throughout.

But to the bigger point: Obama said he was going to bring change. If carping about the difficult task ahead and yammering about the bad lot he was handed by his predecessor is "change," I think some of his followers might become, over time, a bit disenchanted. I think they were expecting something more. Like actual change.

Or not. Maybe they just wanted someone in the White House who could speak for them:

"We hate Bush. We hate Bush. We hate Bush ..."

Hope. Change.

Obama Alters Bush Gitmo Program

He's no longer going to allow our government to call the terrorists being warehoused at Guantanamo to be called "enemy combatants." Henceforth they'll be called Millie Vanilli:
U.S. Won’t Label Terror Suspects as ‘Combatants’
By William Glaberson, New York Times

The Obama administration said Friday that it would abandon the Bush administration’s term “enemy combatant” as it argues in court for the continued detention of prisoners at Guant√°namo Bay, Cuba, in a move that seemed intended to symbolically separate the new administration from Bush detention policies.

“The president has the authority to detain persons” who planned or aided the 2001 terrorist attacks as well as those “who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or Al Qaeda forces,” administration lawyers wrote. [link]
So we're not going to call them "enemy combatants" any longer. And, heaven forbid, we're not going to call them terrorists. We instead are going to call them "persons who planned or aided the 2001 terrorist attacks as well as those who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or Al Qaeda forces."

Wouldn't "assholes" be a lot more wieldy?

- - -

Oh, and there's this from the same article. I find it especially enjoyable, knowing how it's going to go over with the hate-Bush crowd:

"The filing signaled that, as long as Guant√°namo remains open, the new administration will aggressively defend its ability to hold some detainees there."

Obama's policy is Bush's policy.

Sweet.

Well, It's Empty Rhetoric After All

In response to China's concerns about America's out-of-control spending and its request yesterday for assurances that Obama's government has things under control, what does the president's spokesman provide?

Hot air.

"I think further reassurance would be for leaders here to demonstrate their commitment to spending money wisely and to stop borrowing more of it in the future by putting us on that path to fiscal sustainability through passage of the President's budget to cut the deficit in half."

"To cut the deficit in half."

Earth to Obama team: The budget deficit in the year just ended was $459 billion. Half of that would be $230 billion.

But the projected deficit for 2009, if Obama's budget is approved, is estimated to be nearing $2,000 billion (or $2 trillion). That's not half. That's quadruple.

That's not fiscal sustainability. It's utter madness. And the Chinese know it.

If I were them, the mattress should be looking pretty inviting right now.

If I were us, I'd be very, very afraid.

Illinois Must Be Run By Democrats

Illinois Income Tax May Jump 50 Percent

That'll get the economy going again ...

Try To Go Up Against The Big Guy ...

... and see what his fans'll do to you. This ...
... brings this:

You gotta read the whole thing.