Virginia Officially Out of Its DroughtJust in time too. I was thinking this morning, as the daily deluge was coming down, that if we get any more ... drought, we'll all have to take to the lifeboats.
By Melinda Williams, Southwest Times
A wet first quarter of the year has officially removed Virginia from its lengthy drought.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey Drought Watch map, updated Wednesday, no areas of Virginia are considered to be in drought conditions.
As a matter of fact, Southwestern Virginia is now considered to be at “near normal” levels of precipitation, based on a National Weather Service Six-Month Precipitation Index. [link]
Monday, May 11, 2009
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
States of ConfusionI think the Palestinians do want two states to exist in the region. It's just that Israel isn't one of them. Think of it as Palestine and East Palestine. Or, if they had their way, Palestine and that quaint Jewish cemetery once known as Israel.
A friend notes with wry amusement the following passage from a recent news story:
"The Palestinian Authority and Hamas rejected over the weekend Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people as a precondition for resuming the stalled peace talks between the two sides . . . .
"Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official closely associated with [Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud] Abbas, said on Saturday that the Palestinians would not return to the negotiating table until Netanyahu publicly accepted the two-state solution. 'We reject Netanyahu's demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state,' he said. 'This demand illustrates the racist nature of Israel and the extremist policies of its government. It also shows that Israel is not serious about making peace with its neighbors.'"
To sum up, then: Israel's enemies insist that it agree to a two-state solution -- but they refuse to recognize the existence of one of the two states in question. [link]
Carbon Reality, AgainThose greenhouse gas emissions, you may recall, were supposed to be warming the planet. The reason liberal politicians were pushing "cap-and-trade" was to stop that same global warming. But, as test data are proving, the planet is not warming. So why do we need cap-and-trade, you ask?
Wall Street Journal editorial
It's turning out that the biggest problem with carbon taxes is political reality. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has just announced he will delay implementing his trademark cap-and-trade emissions trading proposal until at least 2011. Mr. Rudd's March proposal would have imposed total carbon permit costs (taxes) of 11.5 billion Australian dollars (US$8.5 billion) in the first two years, starting in 2010. This would have increased consumer prices by about 1.1% and shaved 0.1% off annual GDP growth until at least 2050, according to Australia's Treasury. Support has fallen among business groups and individuals who earlier professed enthusiasm for Aussie cap and trade. Green gains were negligible; Australia accounts for only 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The reversal, or "backflip," has caused Mr. Rudd much embarrassment.
This is yet another example of politicians elsewhere cashing in politically on the current anti-carbon enthusiasm, only to discover that support diminishes as the real-world costs become clear. [link]
It was never about the planet or atmospheric temperatures. It was always about tax revenue.
A lesson you'd do your grandchildren well to learn. As the Australians now have.
[M]any experts believe his proposals would actually destroy U.S. jobs. Being more heavily taxed, American multinational firms would have more trouble competing with European and Asian rivals. Some U.S. foreign operations might be sold to tax-advantaged foreign firms. Either way, supporting operations in the United States would suffer. "You lose some of those good management and professional jobs in places like Chicago and New York," says Gary Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute.
Including state taxes, America's top corporate tax rate exceeds 39 percent; among wealthy nations, only Japan's is higher (slightly). However, the effective U.S. tax rate is reduced by preferences -- mostly domestic, not foreign -- that also make the system complex and expensive. As Hufbauer suggests, Obama would have been better advised to cut the top rate and pay for it by simultaneously ending many preferences. That would lower compliance costs and involve fewer distortions. But this sort of proposal would have been harder to sell. Obama sacrificed substance for grandstanding.
"Tax Dodge Myths," Washington Post, May 11, 2009
The Jobless Rate, Slow to Improve, Tests Obama
From the United States government:
Slow to improve?
Not improving at all would be accurate.
Worsening would be even more accurate.
But then this is the New York Times.
White House Forecasts No Job Growth Until 2010We want our money back, Mr. President.
By Joshua Brustein, New York Times
President Obama’s chief economics forecaster said on Sunday that the country was not likely to see positive employment growth until 2010, even if the economy began to grow later this year.
According to figures released on Friday, the unemployment rate in April was 8.9 percent, its highest level in a quarter-century. The so-called underemployment rate, which counts people who are working part time because their hours have been cut and those who have given up looking for jobs, reached 15.8 percent. [link]
The president and his press laughed uproariously.
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"That's way, way beyond reasoned debate or comedy and Obama's reaction to it was astonishing.
"Hard to take from the man who promised a new era of civility and elevated debate in Washington."
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"It’s about showing off in the classless-thug attack-dog competition, not about speaking truth to power."