Friday, July 15, 2011

If the bottom 50 % have to pay tax: great, they have 'skin in the game'

US debt crisis: Obama warns of 'tax rise for all' if deal cannot be done.

Vocal cords brought back to life

Call it a silent killer: some 6 percent of the U.S. population has some kind of voice disorder, most of those resulting from scarring of the vocal cords that can lead to diminishing or even total loss of the ability to speak. Giving voice to the voiceless, a team of Harvard and MIT researchers have developed a synthetic, injectable material that can be implanted into scarred vocal cords to restore their function.

Rather than approaching the problem as a physiological one, they looked at the vocal cords as a mechanical issue. That is, they didn’t attack the scar tissue in the vocal cords but devised a fix for it. That fix came in the form of a material known as polyethylene glycol (PEG), which they chose because it is already FDA approved for other medical applications.

i remember tigers did very well during the Vietnam War

Snow leopards have been discovered thriving in war-torn Afghanistan

Well spotted: The Wildlife Conservation Society's cameras snapped secretive snow leopards across the mountains of Afghanistan
The big cats are among the most elusive animals on earth, but the World Conservation Society snapped them in Afghanistan using camera traps.

A plan

GOP announces vote on 18-month debt-ceiling plan

While Barack Obama went to the press for the third time in 17 days, John Boehner and Eric Cantor called his bluff in the House.  The Republican leadership announced that the House would vote on a plan to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion and matching cuts:
House Republicans said Friday that they planned to vote next week on a proposal to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, with matching cuts and guidelines to control future government spending.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said at a news conference Friday that the House next week would vote on a “cut, cap and balance” approach. The House plans to separately vote on a measure that would amend the U.S. Constitution to require the federal government to balance its budget.
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said Friday that the White House has been “unwilling to put a real plan on the table,” but said next week’s vote would not “preclude” the chance of reaching a deal with Democrats.

Where has he been?

obama sold
Obama Drops Debt Bomb: ‘The American People Are Sold’ on My Debt Proposal
"I just want to repeat this. ... 80% of the American people support an approach that includes revenues..."

Where is the President's Plan?

The man offers nothing. No plan just deadlines.

US 'is running out of time'

Barack Obama tells Congress it has 24 hours to solve debt ceiling issue.

Here is the Republican Plan in a nutshell. There is no Dem Plan.

House GOP leaders are going to the bank with the 'cap, cut and balance' provision that would aim to reduce federal spending, impose spending caps and require the eventual passage of a balanced-budget amendment.

It is as if he was not there, that it was not his plan, that he did not sign the bills.

Obama Dodges: 'Congress Has Run Up the Credit Card'


PRESIDENT OBAMA: "These are obligations that the United States has taken on in the past, that Congress has run up the credit card and we now have an obligation to pay our bills. If we do not, it could have a whole set of adverse consequences. We could end up with a situation, for example, where interest rates rise for everybody, all throughout the country, effectively a tax increase on everybody, because suddenly, whether you're using your credit card, you're trying to get a loan for a car, or a student loan, businesses that are trying to make payroll ..."

Where is the President’s Plan?

'Don't you remember my campaign?'


President is smoking more than cigarettes.


GOP's no-tax proposal 'doesn't seem like a serious plan to me'...
POLL: Just 34% support tax hike to pay nation's debt...

Bureaucratic shortcomings explained

Walter Russell Mead:

Our governing classes, our academics, our journalists and our professionals mostly hate this and, eyes firmly fixed in the rear view mirror, try to pretend that the world of the twentieth century can never, will never break up. Except for some entrepreneurs, mavericks and renegades, our technocratic elites are mostly a bunch of rule followers and incrementalists. They got where they are by scoring well on tests, manipulating the platitudes of conventional wisdom a little better than the next guy and by pleasing their supervisors.

This is almost exactly the wrong way to raise leaders for tumultuous times. We need Teddy Roosevelts, Winston Churchills, Harriet Stowes and Alexander Hamiltons. We are producing legions of promotion-hungry bureaucrats and narrow specialists with no knowledge of or interest in the tumult and chaos that inevitably rises up in times like ours. We then place them in large, bureaucratically run institutions and expect them to deal creatively with the unexpected, the revolutionary and the totally new.

michael ramirez

The Obama Economy

Inflation rises at highest pace in three years...
Manufacturing contracts...

When you fly on other people’s dime, you should be careful what you complain about

Air Force One, the Tax-Free Personal Jet

Rich Karlgaard provides a little context for the class warfare rhetoric our President   recently used to denounce Americans who are successful enough to fly personal jets:

Barack Obama, who rails against tax breaks for corporate jets, flies in the biggest jet of all — a Boeing 747.

A normal 747 costs $320 million. Obama's comes with all sorts of special features out of a James Bond movie that probably bring the cost to around $500 million. Operation costs come to about $100 million per year.

Gee, wouldn't you call that a form of compensation? The president of the U.S. makes $400,000 in salary but he gets a perk that is worth $100 million a year. Cool! I'm not even counting the annual costs of his other perks — ground transportation in limos, free digs at the White House, the parties, the First Lady's trips, and so on.
Just one perk, Air Force One, is worth $100 million a year.
You are right, Mr. President. Let's end this tax break for corporate jets. Which means, you pay up, Big Guy! You owe the IRS roughly $35 million a year for your personal jet.

Fast and Furious, Part II

ICE Director Morton

Update: Congressmen Are Now Demanding Answers About ‘Operation Castaway’

"We find it extremely troubling that the United States government would willfully allow weapons to be acquired by dangerous criminal and drug trafficking organizations."

Krauthammer: Call Obama's Bluff

By Charles Krauthammer
President Obama is demanding a big long-term budget deal. He won’t sign anything less, he warns, asking, “If not now, when?”
How about last December, when he ignored his own debt commission’s recommendations? How about February, when he presented a budget that increases debt by $10 trillion over the next decade? How about April, when he sought a debt-ceiling increase with zero debt reduction attached?
All of a sudden he’s a born-again budget balancer prepared to bravely take on his own party by making deep cuts in entitlements. Really? Name one.

Read more:

Indonesian Volcano: Mount Lokon

'Glowing lava flowed like flames and it sounded like we were in a war': Race to escape volcano as thousands flee mighty Indonesia eruption

  • Thousands of panicked Indonesians were forced to flee their homes after the volcano they lived near erupted.

Mount Lokon spit lava and smoke high into the sky - sending residents racing down its fiery slopes.

Glowing lava cascaded from the mouth of the crater, triggering forest fires along its slopes, while one woman died of a heart attack as she fled.

Eruption: Indonesian volcano Mount Lokon triggered forest fires after it spewed out hot gas and lava

Eruption: Indonesian volcano Mount Lokon triggered forest fires after it spewed out hot gas and lava

Eruption: The residents of this house in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, could also be evacuated

Eruption: The residents of this house in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, could also be evacuated

Read more:

Planes Collide (Ever noticed that Boston Logan seems to have more than their share of screw ups?)

Oops! Pilot rips tail off jet and damages wing on another as airliners collide on runway

Oops! At least no one was seriously injured when the planes collided

As both planes readied for take off in Boston, the left wing of a large passenger Boeing 767 jet, collided with the tail section of a smaller Atlantic Southeast Airlines jet. The smaller plane incurred major damage when it's tail fin was ripped off and its horizontal stabilizer was wrecked but there were no serious injuries.

The Border

Hidden in plain sight under black netting in the Mexican desert . . . the largest ever marijuana plantation (with toilets for the workers)


The 300 acres of pot plants were sheltered under black screen-cloth in a huge square on the floor of the Baja California desert, more than 150 miles south of Tijuana. Army general Alfonso Duarte said the screening, which is often used by regular farmers to protect crops from too much sun or heat, made it difficult to smell what was growing underneath.

Minn update

Why Minnesota Matters.

“This is Minnesota. Republicans have mostly won a pitched battle with a Democratic governor on spending and taxes in a liberal state. Dayton caved on his signature issue. If Republicans can make it here, they can make it anywhere.”

Nobody’s going to accommodate their way into the White House.

Energized By Debt Fight, A Battered Gingrich Pushes On.

When Obama says he can’t guarantee that Social Security checks will go out if there is no deal, Gingrich urges House Republicans “to pass a $100 billion cut with a $100 billion debt-ceiling increase, which takes care of all the Social Security checks in August. Say to the president, ‘OK, we’ve taken care of everybody who needs to get a check in August. Are you going to tell Senate Democrats to block it? Are you going to veto it?’” In North Charleston, it’s what the audience wants to hear.

I don’t know who will win the Republican nomination (and I doubt it will be Gingrich) but it’ll be someone who’s willing to stand up and fight. And that’s who’ll beat Obama, too. Nobody’s going to accommodate their way into the White House.

S & P Warns of U.S. Credit Downgrade

Credit rating agency Standard and Poor's says there's a 50 percent chance it will downgrade the U.S. government's credit rating within three months

How it is done

Indiana, $1.2 Billion in the Black


Indiana leaders patted themselves on the back on Thursday because of a bigger than expected amount of money in the state's checking account.

State Auditor Tim Berry said Indiana finished the fiscal year on June 30 with nearly $1.2 billion in the bank, more than 40 percent above last year's finish, when tax revenues were plunging and budget makers were worried that the state would run out of money this year.

Berry said the rebound happened because of a recovery in tax collections and Gov. Mitch Daniels' success in cutting the budget.

While the state received $1.34 billion less than it had anticipated over a two-year period, it spent $1.52 billion less than it had budgeted for in June 2009.

Read more:

The Obama Downgrade: The Real Reason the U.S. Could Lose Its AAA Rating


So the credit-rating agencies that helped to create the financial crisis that led to a deep recession are now warning that the U.S. could lose the AAA rating it has had since 1917. As painfully ironic as this is, there's no benefit in shooting the messengers. The real culprit is the U.S. political class, especially the President who has presided over this historic collapse of fiscal credibility.

Moody's and the boys are citing the risk of a default on August 2 as the proximate reason for their warning. But Americans should understand that the debt ceiling is merely the trigger. The gun is the spending boom of the last three years and the prospect that Washington lacks the political will to reduce it in the years to come.

Read more:

It is a start

Forty Republican Senators Demand that Democrats Follow the Law

Featured imageIn what may have been a historic vote, forty Republicans voted today to sustain Senator Jeff Sessions’ point of order objecting to the Democrats’ violation of the Congressional Budget Act by passing an appropriation bill when there is no federal budget in place. The Republicans voted for legal process, for transparency and for honesty in budgeting. Every Democrat voted to violate the Congressional Budget Act.



$35,800 per couple...


What the Repubs want to cut. Where is O’s list? From Jody

These are all the programs that the Republican House of Representatives has proposed cutting. Read to the end.

  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy. $445 million annual savings.
  • Save America 's Treasures Program. $25 million annual savings.
  • International Fund for Ireland . $17 million annual savings.
  • Legal Services Corporation. $420 million annual savings.
  • National Endowment for the Arts. $167.5 million annual savings.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities. $167.5 million annual savings.
  • Hope VI Program. $250 million annual savings.
  • Amtrak Subsidies. $1.565 billion annual savings.
  • Eliminate duplicative education programs. H.R. 2274 (in last Congress), authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 at a savings of $1.3 billion annually.
  • U.S. Trade Development Agency. $55 million annual savings.
  • Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy. $20 million annual savings.
  • Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding. $47 million annual savings.
  • John C. Stennis Center Subsidy. $430,000 annual savings.
  • Community Development Fund. $4.5 billion annual savings.
  • Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid. $24 million annual savings.
  • Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half. $7.5 billion annual savings
  • Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20%. $600 million annual savings.
  • Essential Air Service. $150 million annual savings.
  • Technology Innovation Program. $70 million annual savings.
  • Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program. $125 million annual savings.
  • Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization. $530 million annual savings.
  • Beach Replenishment. $95 million annual savings.
  • New Starts Transit. $2 billion annual savings.
  • Exchange Programs for Alaska , Natives Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts . $9 million annual savings
  • Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants. $2.5 billion annual savings.
  • Title X Family Planning. $318 million annual savings.
  • Appalachian Regional Commission. $76 million annual savings.
  • Economic Development Administration. $293 million annual savings.
  • Programs under the National and Community Services Act. $1.15 billion annual savings.
  • Applied Research at Department of Energy. $1.27 billion annual savings.
  • FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership. $200 million annual savings.
  • Energy Star Program. $52 million annual savings.
  • Economic Assistance to Egypt . $250 million annually.
  • U.S. Agency for International Development. $1.39 billion annual savings.
  • General Assistance to District of Columbia . $210 million annual savings.
  • Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. $150 million annual savings.
  • Presidential Campaign Fund. $775 million savings over ten years.
  • No funding for federal office space acquisition. $864 million annual savings.
  • End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services.
  • Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. More than $1 billion annually.
  • IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget. $1.8 billion savings over ten years.
  • Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees. $1 billion total savings. WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees. $1.2 billion savings over ten years.
  • Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of. $15 billion total savings.
  • Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress.
  • Eliminate Mohair Subsidies. $1 million annual savings.
  • Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. $12.5 million annual savings
  • Eliminate Market Access Program. $200 million annual savings.
  • USDA Sugar Program. $14 million annual savings.
  • Subsidy to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). $93 million annual savings.
  • Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program. $56.2 million annual savings.
  • Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs. $900 million savings.
  • Ready to Learn TV Program. $27 million savings..
  • HUD Ph.D. Program.
  • Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act.
  • TOTAL SAVINGS: $2.5 Trillion over Ten Years

My question is, what is all this doing in the budget in the first place?