Wednesday, June 30, 2010

. . and now back to your regularly scheduled spending

It was nice while it lasted, but the restraint of House Democrats came to an abrupt end today when they voted to increase assessments on banks by $10-$20 billion to pay for the banking reform legislation Congress is about to pass to replace the bank tax that Sen. Cosmo send he couldn't support.

I don't know who they think they're kidding. Sure, call it an assessment, but in the end it just as much a tax as any other given that the additional expenses will be passed straight through to bank customers. It is, in effect, just another tax we all end up paying.

The killer, though, is what we get for this $20 billion - a new, massive, non-functional, unaccountable banking bureaucracy. Yippee

A Rare Win for Fiscal Conservatives

All I can say is, "Wow."

House rejects extension of unemployment benefits

It must be an election year.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Complexity of the Byrd Situation

Let me preface this by saying that I hope he makes a full recovery, but the illness of 91 year old Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia makes for interesting political fodder. If the senator were to resign by next Saturday, July 3, 2010, there would be a special election in November to fill the rest of his unexpired term. If a vacancy occurs after that date, however, the Democratic governor of West Virginia would appoint an interim replacement who would not stand for election until November 2012.

Here's the story.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Is One Loudoun Dead?

One Loudoun, a massive mixed use development along the Route 7 corridor touted as "the biggest and most integrated center in Loudoun County," broke ground in September 2007. Since then, the group behind the development has made several road improvements. But where are the buildings? The retail shops and residences we were told would be here "in the 2009/2010 timeframe" are nowhere near completion - if they have even been started.

Rumors are rampant that the deal is dead.

Well, at least we got an overpass out of it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tell Me Another One, Uncle Neal!

This posted by Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin on the White House blog would make even Pinocchio ashamed.

"[W]e already know that whatever bill comes to the President’s desk will end the problem of 'too big to fail.' It will end taxpayer-funded bailouts. And it will make sure that American families and businesses never have to foot the bill for the irresponsibility of Wall Street."

Sure it will. Just like the reforms passed after the bank failures of the early 1990s did, and the ones passed in early 1980s before them. However, I do agree with this part:

"If you’re a family trying to buy your first house, a parent trying to fund your child’s education, an employee trying to save for retirement, or an entrepreneur trying to expand your business, you have a stake in financial reform."

Unfortunately, though, the financial reform bill means that even those with good credit will have a more difficult time finding a loan and end up paying more for it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Banks have repaid about 75% of TARP funds, Geithner says

Given the discussions I've had with some regarding TARP, I thought this article was particularly interesting. I  greatly fear, though, that the $700 billion that's been repaid simply will be spent again by folks like Barney Frank, as discussed in one of my posts below.

Here's the salient quote from the article:
"Mr. Geithner told a watchdog panel that banks had repaid about 75 percent of the bailout money they received, and the government’s investments in those banks had brought taxpayers $21 billion."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime: Mexico Seeks to Join Suit Against Arizona

Apparently forgetting that it is neither part of the United States nor an American citizen, Mexico (yes, the country, and not the Richmond restaurant of the same name) has moved to intervene in a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona challenging the Arizona law allowing police officers to inquire as to nationality. Story here

In its motion to appear as amicus curiae, Mexico contends that its diplomatic relations with the federal government should not be “frustrated by the actions of individual U.S. states.” Moreover, it contends that Mexico has a substantial and compelling interest in ensuring that its citizens illegally in the United States are treated “in accordance with federal immigration law.”

Not to get too legalistic here, but I certainly hope the court denies the motion. The idea of a foreign government intervening in a suit against an American state construing American law in an American court is almost as insane as that same government complaining that, in the end, we’re simply returning its citizens to it.

Never Miss an Opportunity to Spend

Though the discussion about the banking reform bill generally had involved the extent to which banks would be regulated, Rep. Barney Frank and Maxine Waters have the national checkbook out. Using funds that were supposed to go to TARP and be repayed by the banks, Frank and Waters want to spend another $4 billion on "mortgage relief payments to homeowners in order to defray mortgage expenses."

Stating the obvious, but this one really is just naked socialism no matter what spin Frank may put on it.

Quote of the Day

Speak not of doubt or failure. Seek earnestly the truth and already you have succeeded.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

No Apology Necessary

Just like he used TARP as an opportunity to cater to the populist, anti-business sentiment by publicly berating bankers, Obama has seized upon the Deep Water Horizon tragedy to look like he "kicked ass" by calling in BP execs and extorting $20 billion from the company even as the spill, the damage and the confusion continue virtually unabated.

Of course, Rep. Barton was absolutely crucified for apologizing to a BP exec for Obama's Gestapo tactics. Indeed, with the administration's help. BP and its management have become so demonized that anything that even gets close to rational discussion of the situation is enough to get you tarred and feathered. Though Rep. Barton's original message certainly could have and should have been clearer, and he shouldn't have offered the lame apology, his point definitely is valid. It WAS a shakedown, pure and simple.
Obama politics as usual.

Great article on it here

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Transportation Plan Passes Despite Odd Opposition from Stevens

On Tuesday, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved revisions to the Countywide Transportation Plan. Supervisor Stevens Miller, voting in opposition to the plan that would widen badly congested roads, offered a curious reason for his vote. As reported in Leesburg Today,

"Board Vice Chairman Susan Klimek Buckley (D-Sugarland Run) voted against the plan because she does not believe it would support the commercial tax base needed to shore up Loudoun’s economy. Supervisor Stevens Miller (D-Dulles) said he felt like he couldn’t 'get to the heart of my issues' and he was being asked to trust something 'I don’t really know a lot about.'"

While I question Buckley’s veracity, Miller’s excuse for voting against the proposal is, well, inexcusable. His job is to “know” about the issues presented to the Board, make reasoned evaluations of them and act according to his conscience (and common sense). Here, though, he pleads cluelessness despite the fact that this very issue has been percolating for so long that one reason supervisors voted against it was that the CMP was now outdated. Indeed, back In July 2009, the Board extended the time for considering the proposal. That was 11 months ago.

Well, Miller may not be doing his job, but at least this time he didn’t do something really stupid - like challenge Delgaudio to a duel.

Loudoun Newspaper Merger - Good Luck. You'll Need It

Though we lose an independent editorial and reporting voice with the "merger" of these two papers, I'm glad to see that, for now, both the Loudoun Independent and the Loudoun Times-Mirror will continue to publish. I feel it's not for long, though. With any continued contraction in the print media market, the new owners likely will completely do away with one paper or the other. In fact, I'd say it's simply a matter of time until the new entity merges the two papers into one.

Best of luck to them!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

President Teleprompter continues with the blame game

In a rare address from the Oval Office, our esteemed Teleprompter President simply dished out more inflammatory rhetoric . Again acting like a schoolyard punk, Obama boasts that he will "make BP pay" rather than offer any pragmatic solutions to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

All this chest beating, and still the public's assessment of his handling of the crisis continues to decline. Maybe, just maybe, it's time to work on solving the problem in cooperation with those who know most about it rather than distracting everyone with bursts of pseudo-machismo. In other words, maybe he should just start acting like a president.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

ANOTHER $50 billion?!

Where to begin.

Let's see . . .

Obama rams through a $700 billion pork-laden, free-for-all-spending package under the guise of an economic stimulus, bribes his way to a $1 trillion dollar health care entitilement program, and now demands another $50 billion to pay off the teachers' unions. When will the insanity end?

Oh, wait, there's end in sight!

"'I think there is spending fatigue,' House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said recently." as quoted in the Post.

Hooray! Apparently, congressional Democrats are simply becoming too tired to cut any more checks. Maybe that's the way to the fiscal discipline Obama has promised.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Don't Cry for Me, Venezuela

Keep the day job, Hugo.

On second thought, quit the day job and give Broadway a shot. More on Hugopalooza here

In Favor of a New Third Party for Tea Party Activists

With a couple stories in local papers and the Post on the possibility of unsuccessful Republican candidates running in the general election as third party candidates, I can’t help but say I absolutely love, love, LOVE the idea of a new third party as the home (or asylum) for Tea Party activists.  All those crackpots who want to eliminate the Fed can take the militant anti-abortionists with them to their own padded room where they can fight over who is the most extreme nutball.

No doubt, Republcans would lose some votes and probably some elections, too. In the long term, though, it’s nothing but a clear win for the Republican party. A house cleaning like that would certainly make the party far more welcoming to independents and former Republicans disillusioned by party purists. I see it as a tremendous opportunity to build a stronger (and saner) political base.

With any luck, the Tea Party as a third party will arise in Loudoun, taking Dick Black as their state senate candidate and Suzanne Volpe as their chairman to start.

For some reason, I'm hearing music: "What a wonderful world it would be."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This Is Why I Don't Allow Ads

Over at Too Conservative, bless their hearts, they allow ads to be posted on their site, probably by AdSense.  AdSense, in turn, places whatever ads it wants, pretty much, which means you effectively have no control over the products, services or people appearing on your site for which you apparently vouch.

Well, there's this one that's now running on TC.  "The Patriot Majority" slams all the Republican Nevada senate candidates in what seems to be a front for Harry Reid. Keep in mind, this comes a week after a Nancy Pelosi plug also ran under the "Link" section.

I'm not one to begrudge a guy for making a buck, but when it comes at that kind of price, is it really worth it?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dee Dee Stands for Dumb Dumb

Is every criticism of President Obama a racial slur?  Dee Dee Myers and the rest of the knuckleheads at MSNBC apparently think so.

Come on, man!.  Ooops.  No racial slur intended.

But while we're on the topic, what's up with the remark about looking for "whose ass to kick.''  Obama's obviously looking more for scapegoats than solutions.  Indeed, not once in his interview with Matt Lauer did the president give any indication that the federal government had actually offered any assistance to BP in stopping the spill.  Well, other than threatening to sue them - like that would make a difference.

Monday, June 7, 2010

In Honor of my 100th Post . . .

and as I read of so many political bloggers hanging it up, permanently or temporarily, I just had to pass this on.

Available for purchase here

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Herring Mailer

I received yesterday a "legislative update" from state senator Mark Herring touting the 10 of 17 bills he introduced that became law.  Thinking that most of these bills were probably recognition of things like the second anniversary of Velocity Five (which I very much like), I was surprised to see, after checking the list of bills for which we has the chief patron, that the bills were, in fact, substantive and his numbers were fairly accurate.  Of course, there were several fluff senate resolutions he sponsored, too, but there really weren't too many of them.  The success on those bills, coupled with his appointment by Governor McDonnell to the Technology Working Group panel, will make him a formidable opponent for any Republican challenger.

And for those Dick Black and Patricia Philllips fans, here are a couple other Herring figures that might interest you:

Number of plastic fetuses mailed to fellow senators:  0
Number of Harry Potter books sought to be banned:  0

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Subsidize the Leftist Media?

I still can't believe there would ever be any serious discussion in the federal government to subsidize the media, but, sure enough, the FTC is working on a plan to raise taxes on the rest of us  to make sure that the liberal media can continue in its ways.

Keep in mind that there's more "news" out there than ever before.  It's just democratized as a result of the Internet, and, hence, the old-school media outlets have lost their oligopoly on news and opinion.

All I can say to that is "HAAAA HAAA HAAAAA HAAAA!!"

WAGE Against the Machine

And the "machine" is the idiocy of two Loudoun County supervisors, Kelly Burk and Sally Kurtz, who voted against permitting a new (and what would be the only) radio station in Loudoun County.

As quoted in the Loudoun Independent, Burk explained her opposition: “I don’t believe it is going to be local programming."

First of all, the BOS should not play FCC or program director. We need a local station, period. And though there's no guarantee that the new WAGE will touch local issues, it is certain that there won't be any local issues aired without it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Politician Deathmatch 2010

Vying for the title Heavyweight Populist Nutball of the World, we have in the red corner, weighing in at 125 lbs, Ron Paul representing the libertarian/Tea Party movement bent on dismantling every government program ever created including the nation’s central bank. And in the blue corner, at 4’ 7”, we have Robert Reich representing the socialist movement, intent on nationalizing just about everything with profit motive including BP.

Let’s get ready to ruuuummmmbbbblle!

Ah, yes. There’s nothing like extremism begetting extremism. Triggered by Obama’s successful socialization of healthcare and overregulation of financial services, the political parties have further polarized, especially in their responses to the variety of recent crises (and perceived crises). Ironically, both movements appeal to populist sentiment. Feeding that populist beast, though, is just wrong regardless of which party serves up the red meat.

We need reasoned responses that take into account political and economic realities, and, hence, we keep the Fed just like we keep privately held oil companies. We also need to let the free market work as much as possible, which is why I support the Republican platform. But when Republican candidates like Catherine Crabhill (not that she has any chance, but it underscores my point) support the abolition of the nation’s central bank, I get concerned that conservatives will fumble the golden opportunity presented by the extremists on the left.

In other words, my fellow Republicans, be conservative, but don’t be crazy.