Monday, August 22, 2011


Barack Obama: He's Come Undone

AP File
By Pittsburgh Tribune Opinion
The wheels are off the Obama bus. It's up on the cinder blocks on some rental property in Martha's Vineyard this weekend. It is the end of the summer of discontent for a president who's clearly in over his head and whose wallowing is most unbecoming.
Mr. Obama's economic policy prescriptions, textbook Keynesian mumbo jumbo, have failed. History would have been instructive had only he been learned in the discipline. Obviously, he's not. Next month, he'll return with yet another chapter of the novella best titled "Hocus Pocus."

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That is a big tunnel

Return to England please... via Moscow: Kremlin paves way for New York to London rail link after approving £60bn Bering Strait tunnel

Trip of a lifetime: The Kremlin has given the green light for a £60billion tunnel linking Siberia to Alaska through the Bering Strait

East Coast Alert



Obama's Debt

CBS: National Debt Up $4 Trillion Under Obama

AP Graphics

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$500,000 federal stimulus grant creates 1.72 jobs in Nevada

A federal stimulus grant of nearly $500,000 to grow trees and stimulate the economy in Nevada yielded a whopping 1.72 jobs, according to government statistics.

In 2009, the U.S. Forest Service awarded $490,000 of stimulus money to Nevada's Clark County Urban Forestry Revitalization Project, aimed at revitalizing urban neighborhoods in the county with trees, plants, and green-industry training.

According to, the U.S. government's official website related to Recovery Act spending, the project created 1.72 permanent jobs. In addition, the Nevada state Division of Forestry reported the federal grant generated one full-time temporary job and 11 short-term project-oriented jobs.

Spending Cuts, Not Tax Hikes, Best for Deficit: NABE


The majority of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe that the federal deficit should be reduced only or primarily through spending cuts.

The survey out Monday found that 56 percent of the NABE members surveyed felt that way, while 37 percent said they favor equal parts spending cuts and tax increases. The remaining 7 percent believe it should be done only or mostly through tax increases.

List of woes prevented by debt ceiling agreement:

From Iowahawk:

Beltway policy experts begin living by own wits; after 45 minutes there are no survivors.

Roving bands of outlaws stalk our streets, selling incandescent bulbs to vulnerable children.

NPR news segments no longer buffered by soothing zither interludes.

Cowboy poetry utterly lacking in metre.

General Motors unfairly forced to build cars that people want, for a profit.

Mankind's dream of high speed government rail service between Chicago and Iowa City tragically dies.

At-risk Mexican drug lords forced to buy own machine guns.

WH communications office reduced to sending talking points to Media Matters via smoke signals and log drums.

Potential 5-year old terrorists head to boarding gates ungroped.

Defenseless mortgage holders forced to live in houses they can actually afford.

Without college loan program, America loses an entire generation of Marxist Dance Theorists.

Embarrassing state dinners, as Obamas are forced to downgrade from Wagyu to Kobe beef.

President Obama places tarp over Washington Monument to conceal from Chinese repo men.

Nation's freeway exits croweded with desperate bureaucrats waving 'will regulate for food' signs.

FCC finally kills off fairness doctrine

Good riddance!

The FCC gave the coup de grace to the fairness doctrine Monday as the commission axed more than 80 media industry rules.

Earlier this summer FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski agreed to erase the post WWII-era rule, but the action Monday puts the last nail into the coffin for the regulation that sought to ensure discussion over the airwaves of controversial issues did not exclude any particular point of view. A broadcaster that violated the rule risked losing its license.

What’s the Difference?

Question: What’s the difference between a Federal Jobs Creation Program and Kim Kardashian’s wedding?

Answer: Kim Kardashian’s wedding creates jobs.

Social Security disability on verge of insolvency

Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security's disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency.

Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can't find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs.

The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants — many wait two years or more before their cases are resolved — and worsening the financial problems of a program that's been running in the red for years.

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

2012 Jeep Wrangler: First Drive

Except for the Porsche 911, no vehicle has preserved its purity of essence like the Jeep Wrangler, an original creation as American as jazz and Kim Kardashian's rear end. Now its new Italian don has blessed it with the latest corporate power parts. Could change actually make the Jeep better?

The new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, now the go-to power for all things Chrysler, sports 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, weighs 90 pounds less that the boat-anchor 3.8. Changes for Wrangler duty include new intakes, exhaust and an alternator that will give mechanics a "hey, lookit" moment: To ensure the engine could survive the Wrangler plowing into 30 inches of water, the alternator was not only raised but reversed, with its pulley facing the block. Behind it is Chrysler's five-speed automatic transmission, the one 80% of buyers will take, along with the carryover six-speed manual for those who want to keep the mule whip in their hands.

On pavement, the Wrangler now gallops to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds — a full three seconds faster than the previous edition. Combined with last year's extreme interior improvements and some additional soundproofing, no longer does driving a Wrangler on a freeway resemble marshaling mountain goats through a windstorm. There's still more noise than a family sedan, and the Bridgestones' chatter comes through the floor, but it's at a dinner-table level, not "Bad Girls Club." The five-speed plays well with the V6, blipping the throttle before downshifts and letting it brush redline under a full boot.

The steering still remains more truck than car, but the suspension doesn't attempt to exhaust passengers with urgent updates about road seams; it also tracks towards just slight understeer. The weakest link is the brakes; soft as a deep-fried butter stick, you find the pedal down a few inches before the orders arrive to the wheels…

It's situations like this where the utter genius of Jeep engineering kicks in. At 2,000 rpm, the new 3.6 is pumping 96% of its total torque. Thanks to the extra lubed ring in the five-speed gearbox, a 2012 Jeep with the standard 3.73 rear axle sports a better crawl ratio — the measure of how that torque is multiplied through the axles to the rocks — than last year's Rubicon with the heavy-duty 4.10 axle. With the front sway bars electronically disconnected, the catawampus tires simply took an extra swig from the accelerator and moved on. Yes, the track was arranged by Jeep for Jeep — but few vehicles can survive crawling through holes large enough to swallow a Smart.

The good news on prices is that Chrysler held the base sticker at par with the old model, around $22,000. The bad news is that fully loaded varieties quickly ascend to heights of $34,000, and since Chrysler is setting sales records for Jeep Wranglers and struggling to keep up with demand, there's no plans to either adapt the four-cylinder diesel those sooty Europeans get or build a pickup truck at the factory.

Romney calls for extradition of Lockerbie bombing mastermind

Mitt Romney:

The world is about to be rid of Muammar el-Qaddafi, the brutal tyrant who terrorized the Libyan people. It is my hope that Libya will now move toward a representative form of government that supports freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. As a first step, I call on this new government to arrest and extradite the mastermind behind the bombing of Pan Am 103, Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, so justice can finally be done.

Top 3 bestselling cars in Europe

Top 10 bestselling cars in Europe July 2011:  1st, Volkswagen Golf

The clear winner is Volkswagen's Golf

Top 10 bestselling cars in Europe July 2011: 2nd, VW Polo

In a yo-yo battle with the Ford Fiesta, VW's Polo claimed second place in July

Top 10 bestselling cars in Europe July 2011: 3rd Ford Fiesta

Ford's Fiesta supermini slipped to third overall in July

Perry and Obama comparisons.

THE ANNOTATED RICK PERRY. He’s the son of penniless tenant farmers? I thought all Republicans were born-rich fatcats who went to prep schools and private universities.

Plus this: “When he reads a speech without his teleprompter, as in Charleston, he is more fluent and natural than when President Obama reads a speech with his.”

UPDATE: The intellectually incurious Barack Obama. “Obama’s just-released ‘summer reading list’ doesn’t offer a lot of evidence even for the ‘reads very widely’ thesis. It’s heavy on the wrenching stories of immigrant experiences, something the President already knows quite a bit about. … Maybe the release of this list is a bit of politicized PR BS designed to help the President out. If so, it’s sending the wrong message. Which leads me to suspect it might actually be real.”

As I’ve said before, for all the talk there’s not much actual evidence that Barack Obama is especially bright.

Men, stay out of Baltimore.

AN EPIDEMIC OF FALSE RAPE ACCUSATIONS IN BALTIMORE? “More than 30 percent of the cases investigated by detectives each year are deemed unfounded, five times the national average.”

Bush’s third term


 W’s Third Term In The Middle East. “That truth is that the United States has become more powerful in the Middle East today than at any time since the early 1950s. Perhaps not since President Eisenhower’s CIA helped restore the Shah in Iran has the US loomed this large in the political calculations of Middle Eastern regimes. . . . President Obama is pushing a democracy agenda in the Middle East that is as aggressive as President Bush’s; he adopts regime change by violence if necessary as a core component of his regional approach and, to put it mildly, he is not afraid to bomb. But where President Bush’s tough guy posture (‘Bring ‘Em On!’) alienated opinion abroad and among liberals at home, President Obama’s reluctant warrior stance makes it easier for others to work with him.”

Plus this: “In many ways we are living through George W. Bush’s third term in the Middle East, and neither President Obama’s friends nor his enemies want to admit it.”

Trial Lawyers' Worst Nightmare? President Perry

...Among litigators, there is no presidential candidate who inspires the same level of hatred – and fear – as Perry, an avowed opponent of the plaintiffs’ bar who has presided over several rounds of tort reform as governor. … That’s a potential financial boon to a president who has unsettled trial lawyers with his own rhetorical gestures in the direction of tort reform. … Democratic Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn – who, along with his wife, Amber, donated nearly $9 million to Texas candidates and party committees in the 2010 cycle – said he’s in the process of forming “some federal PACs” to take on Perry. That will likely include a federal super PAC that could take in the kind of massive donations that are permitted in Texas.

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NYT’s Dowd calls it: “It would have screwed up his vacation”

Maureen Dowd: Obama Didn't Call Congress Back Because 'It Would Have Upset Michelle'

Giving an interesting insight into the President's decision to not call Congress back from its summer break to tackle the problems facing the nation was New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd who wrote Sunday:
Americans are rattled and want action. They don’t know or care what Congress’s schedule is. They just see the president not doing anything.
Cruising white Midwestern hamlets in his black bus, Obama tried to justify not calling lawmakers back to D.C. by saying they’d just continue to bicker. But what does he think they’ll do in September? The truth is, he doesn’t want them back in the capital any more than they want to be back. It would have screwed up his vacation and upset Michelle, who already feels trapped in the Washington bubble.

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Motorola’s Value to Google Found in 18 Patents

Google is counting on its $12.5 billion acquisition of Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility to strengthen its patent lineup as Apple and Microsoft Corp. challenge Android, the best-selling smartphone operating system in the second quarter. Google had been issued fewer than 1,000 patents as of the start of this year. Motorola Mobility would add another 17,000, as well as about 7,500 pending applications.

NYT is surprised

NYT shocked, shocked to find anger at Obama in Weiner’s district

“He is a moron.”

Green jobs tomfoolery

Walter Russell Mead writing at the American Interest, Aug. 19:

It's understandable and even forgivable that a political candidate would talk about green jobs on the hustings, especially when the Democratic Party is divided between job hungry blue collar workers and fastidious greens who break out in hives in the presence of coal. What worries me isn't that the President's team advised him to make a few speeches on this subject. . . . What worries me is that they didn't understand that making something this bogus a central plank of his actual governing plan on an issue as vital as jobs would have serious costs down the road.

Many liberals want green jobs to exist so badly that they don't fully grasp how otherworldly and ineffectual this advocacy makes the President look to unemployed meat packers and truck drivers.

Let me put it this way. A GOP candidate might feel a need to please creationist voters and say a few nice things about intelligent design. That is politics as usual; it gins up the base and drives the opposition insane with fury and rage. No harm, really, and no foul.

But if that same politician then proposed to base federal health policy on a hunt for the historical Garden of Eden so that we could replace Medicare by feeding old people on fruit from the Tree of Life, he would have gone from quackery-as-usual to raving incompetence.

No Fear of Heights. (I am in awe.)

'When you are climbing well, the fear is not there': Meet the young rock star hailed as the best of his generation

Fearless: Alex Honnold

After graduating from the climbing walls of his late teens in California to the nomadic lifestyle of an international climber, Alex Honnold, 26, claims fear has become irrelevant to him. His achievements include climbing the iconic north-west face of the Half Dome in America's Yosemite National Park and tackling the 2,500ft cliffs near to Borneo's Kota Kinabalu peak. Mr Honnold made his name at the age of 23, when he free climbed Yosemite's Half Dome in just two hours and fifty minutes, an ascent which usually takes between one or two days.

Wow! Heck, I think the camera guys are brave

That's one way to beat the queue for the cable car! Daredevil scales 10,000ft mountain balancing on just a wire... without even a harness

Freddy Nock

Freddy Nock took 90 minutes to edge to the top of the Zugspritze mountain in south Bavaria - without any safety equipment. The Swiss-born tightrope artist now plans to submit his feat to the Guinness Book of Records as the 'longest and highest wire walk above sea level without a balancing pole.'

Reliable economic stats on China are very difficult. This could be a weathervane stat.

Ferrari Testa Rossa most expensive car ever, China car sales suck, and the Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG

Demand In China Slopes Downward
Geely Automobile Holdings Co., whose parent owns Volvo Cars, fell to its lowest in almost two years in Hong Kong trading after saying demand for vehicles in China is showing signs of slowing. Geely dropped 6.1 percent to HK$2.15 at the 4 p.m. close, the lowest since Oct. 5, 2009, and extending this year's decline to 37%. The benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 0.5%. The automaker's shares dropped even after reporting first-half profit today that beat analysts' estimates. Inflation and economic policy tightening in the world's second-biggest economy pose "significant" threats, and demands for sedans in the country is "slackening", Geely said in a statement today

Econ History

LIFE AFTER DEBT: In this month’s market upheavals in the United States and Europe, we are witnessing the end of a seven-decade economic experiment. But does anyone have any clue what comes next?

 “The post-war era witnessed not only the triumph of Keynesian economics, but also the establishment of public pensions throughout the Western world. Almost all these pension plans were set up on a pay-as-you-go basis that provided high rates of return to the first generation of pensioners (which, perhaps not coincidentally, was the generation that voted them into existence) at the cost of an unfunded commitment to later generations. Public pension plans are the biggest element in the off-balance-sheet obligations of states, which also include unfunded health-insurance liabilities and the 2008 guarantees to the banking system. In most countries these ‘implicit’ public debts dwarf their traditional obligations traded in the bond market. In the United States, the total long-term commitments for Social Security, public sector pensions, and Medicare have been estimated at over 300 percent of GDP on the basis of current policies.”

Debts that cannot be paid, won’t be. Commitments that cannot be honored, won’t be. Guarantees that can’t be followed through on, won’t be.

Because Obama would not act…

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Social Security disability program on verge of insolvency.

Update from Wisc. Union falls without the gov’t to collect for them.

IT’S ALL OVER for the University Of Wisconsin Teaching Assistants’ union. “The TAA was central to the protests that took place at the Capitol last February and March.” They will not be missed.

Plus, from the comments: “The nail in the coffin was no longer having ‘union dues …automatically deducted from the paychecks of the 2,700-2,800 graduate teaching assistants at Madison’.” Yep. Without the government to collect their cash for them, they’re not viable.

A great day for Libya, a bad day for Arab rulers.


Libyans Cheer Rebels in Tripoli,
As Qaddafi's Whereabouts Unknown

After a morning of heavy fighting near Muammar al-Qaddafi's Tripoli compound, rebel forces control at least 95 percent of the capital city, though the whereabouts of the Libyan leader remain unknown.

Only Liberals who never served, who know no one who has served, could say this.

NYT Essay Rips 'Cult of The Uniform'...Says Soldiers Aren't 'Heroes'

Presidential Vacation Update. Michelle zones him out and he skips holes to avoid being photographed.

PLAYTIME: Obama tees it up, hits the beach...
Skips hole to avoid being photographed...

Allies meet


Obama’s Wall Street buddies. With politicians: “follow the money”

REVEALED: Wall St Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Fed's SECRET Loans...


What if Obama quit?