No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

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Archive for January, 2007

January 26, 2007

Van Halen almost reunited

by @ 6:30. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Billboard.com is reporting that a Van Halen “reunion” tour with original front man David Lee Roth will be happening in 2007, presumably to be kicked off at the 2007 induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The reason I say “almost” is, a few months back, band “brain-trust” Eddie Van Halen booted Michael Anthony and replaced him with Eddie’s own 15-year-old son Wolfgang because Michael sided with ousted replacement front-man Sammy Hagar.

I am not holding my breath that this reincarnation of Van Halen will turn out any better than the average Hollywood revivals, which is a damn shame because the original Van Halen flat-out ROCKED. Eddie knows how to run everybody off, and David has been off the deep end since 1984.

January 25, 2007

The Boots and Sabers Current Events Test

by @ 17:50. Filed under Miscellaneous.

The questions that Owen’s and Wendy’s 6th-grader had to answer are over there. My mostly-correct answers, including a wholesale criticism of one of those questions, are below the fold.

(more…)

January 24, 2007

This is what the ‘Rats don’t want you to see

by @ 23:51. Filed under War on Terror.

Courtesy Ian, the Mahdi militia getting Hell(fires) pumped into them (warning, military-strength language in the vid)…

Bravo Zulu, and thanks.

A bit of housekeeping

by @ 16:07. Filed under The Blog.

After finding out that some people haven’t figured out I’ve moved, I’ve instituted redirects from both previous versions of my blog. It’s quite seamless for those who went to the norunnyeggs.eggstor.com version; a PHP trick redirects the person to the page they were expecting to see here. It wasn’t easy to find how to do that, but I did.

For those that were still going to the Blogspot version, I had to use a Meta Refresh tag, and (at least for the moment), it will dump them to the main page. Blogger doesn’t allow PHP headers to be set, and I didn’t set up the structure here like Blogger did for me there.

Dogs to get drunk

by @ 15:51. Filed under Miscellaneous.

(H/T – Allahpundit)

A brewery in the Netherlands has come up with a non-alcoholic beer for dogs made of beef extract and malts. Dunno if they’re going to ship it to the US, but over there, it’s a lot more expensive than Heineken, my beverage of choice at Drinking Right.

When I saw that, the first thing I thought of was Wyatt, Brian’s (my younger sister’s fiance) dog. Every time I’ve stopped over at their place and had a cold one, he’s right there begging for a sip. Dunno if he’d like the lack of alcohol though.

Health care – here we go again

by @ 1:52. Filed under Politics - National, Taxes.

In case you missed the State of the Union speech, one of the few major policy initiatives announced was a massive rewrite of the federal tax code designed to bring more people into the health insurance cabal. I haven’t quite decided whether President Bush was channeling FDR or the head of Aurora Health Care when he made the announcements that he would seek to make all health insurance expenditures taxable income and then give a standard $7,500 (for individuals)/$15,000 (for families) deduction for those that purchase or have their employer purchase health insurance. What I do know is that this has the potential to be more destructive than Bush’s previous meddling in health care, the grafting of prescription drugs onto Medicare.

First, let’s take a look at the current mess that is the tax code as it relates to health insurance. After a bit of research (thanks to the National Coalition on Health Care and National Association of the Self-Employed), I believe I have it down. First off, the portion of health insurance costs paid for by a “C”-corporation is a deductable business expense for the employer and tax-exempt in-kind income for the employee (which means that neither income, the employee’s portion of FICA, nor the employer’s portion of FICA taxes are paid). This was instituted under Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a way to get around his wage controls in World War II.

Next, those employees of “C”-corporations that participate in Section 125 health plans similarily have that portion of the health insurance costs declared tax-exempt (again, neither income nor either portion of FICA taxes are paid). I don’t know exactly when this came about, but apparently most employees have this as an option.

Thirdly, the self-employed (sole-proprietors, partnerships, and “S”-corporations), at least those not eligible to get in on a spouse’s or parent’s health insurance plan, get to deduct the cost of the health insurance from their income tax, but not the self-employment tax (the same as both the employee and employer portions of FICA). This is a more-recent change, starting off with a portion deductable from income taxes in the 1980s and slowly rising to 100% deductable a few years ago.

Those “C”-corporation employees unlucky enough to be paying health insurance costs out of their pocket outside of Section 125 plans, and those self-employed who don’t take advantage of a spouse’s health plan, use after-tax dollars, where both income and FICA taxes (both employee and employer) are paid.

Now, let’s jump to Bush’s proposal. It’s a Rube Goldberg attempt to get everybody into the health insurance cabal. First, it removes the unlimited tax breaks for health insurance costs on employees and self-employed individuals (leaving the deduction for “C”-corporations alone) and treats it as taxable income. Then, it gives every individual tax filer who buys or has bought for him/her health insurance a $7,500 deduction on both income and payroll tax (it’s unclear whether that applies only to the employee’s portion or both that and the employer’s portion), with a joint/head of household filer getting a $15,000 deduction.

Problem #1 – In order to make this appear “revenue-neutral”, the employer’s portion of FICA (and the “employer’s” half of the self-employment tax) would have to be collected on that first $7,500/$15,000. Guess what that is, kids? A tax increase on every employer who provides health insurance, and any tax increase on the employers gets passed along to the employees and the consumers. That could take the form of reduced pay, reduced health benefits, reduced jobs or higher prices, or any combination of the four. Worse, at least from the perspective of the Party In Government, if most of the plans above the limit dropped down to the limit, there is no hope of “revenue-neutrality”. What happens when gubmint runs short of cash? If you said, “They raise taxes,” give yourself a gold star. If you said, “They’ll cut spending,” smack yourself in the forehead.

Problem #2 – Since that first $7,500/$15,000 is taxable income, and without a redefinition of “taxable income”, it would be added to the Social Security obligations, where is the FICA money going to come from? It definitely isn’t coming from the employee (and half isn’t coming from the self-employed). Elsewhere in the State of the Union speech, President Bush pointed out the impending collapse of the three programs dependent on FICA (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) without offering up any plan (side note – where’s the ‘Rat plan for this time bomb?). Increasing those obligations without any thought to how to pay for said obligations is a recipe for a faster disaster.

Problem #3 – This does not address the underlying causes of escalating health care costs – the lack of a free market where the consumer has an incentive to hold down the costs and out-of-control malpractice litigation/insurance costs. It might drive down the costs of insurance at the very high end, as the Rolls-Royce health benefits (usually enjoyed by gubmint employees) are scaled back to avoid the adverse tax consequences. It won’t have any effect on the costs of those plans that are underneath the limits, and not many people who currently have employer-provided health insurance where the total cost is underneath the limits will have the savvy to seek out cheaper plans to get the “free money” from the feds. Indeed, by adding more people to the no-cost-incentive scheme, it will drive costs even higher.

Problem #4 – By making the employer’s portion of health insurance as well as the Section 125 portion taxable, this probably opens that up to state taxation. My money says that ‘Rat-infested states, such as Wisconsin, will seek to capture all of that money, including the portion the feds don’t.

Problem #5 – This would adjust using the Consumer Price Index. Last I checked, health insurance costs have gone up much faster than the CPI since who-knows-when. Simply putting a cap on the tax benefits won’t stop that, at least not without stripping the plans of essentially all coverage.

So, what’s the solution? Short of changing the dominant American mindset of wanting to live forever, preferably on somebody else’s dime, there is none.

January 23, 2007

State of the Union

by @ 19:58. Filed under Politics - National.

Call me a sucker, but somebody has to live-blog the abomination, and with Blogger down (again), it falls to the likes of Captain Ed, Mary Katharine Ham, Erick at RedState and me. They’ll probably do a better job than me, but let’s roll with it anyway.

7:58 (all times will be Central; deal with it) – Plastic Pelosi is looking pleased she won this war.

8:01 – The First and Second Ladies have arrived, and the intros have started.

8:06 – Couldn’t we go back to messages transmitted by paper? This intro is worse than a prize fight.

8:09 – Here comes the Pres, and the first person who got his hand shook is Dennis the Menace. NOT a good sign. In better news, Mary Katharine Ham is serving Cheetos on her live thread (link is now above).

8:13 – Bush too pleased with his intro as the first “fe”male Speaker. I have to keep reminding myself, “Justices Roberts and Alito”. “Justices Roberts and Alito”. Class move noting the 2 members who are out with health reasons.

8:17 – Oxymoron alert – how can the ‘Rats keep true to their faith and honor the troops and respect the citizenry? Oh, that’s right, it’s Bush that’s signaling retreat and defeat.

8:18 – Charlie Rangel got up too early. He cheered the kill-the-deficit line, then Bush dropped the “no new taxes” line on them. Pres pointing out he halved the deficit 3 years early, then wants it eliminated in 5. Onto earmarks, noting they’re snuck in “when even C-Span isn’t watching”. Time to end the process, but issues a tepid halve-them challenge.

8:21 – Onto entitlements. 3 bad choices if they’re not fixed; tax increases, end to programs, benefit cuts. Doesn’t mention any fixes, but wants one from the ‘Rats. Nice try, but the presstitutes won’t let the blame be pinned on them. Now to education. Something for everyone (to hate) – choice and mo’ money.

8:23 – Tax shift time – health insurance “reform”. Stage 1, make health insurance a standard deduction of $7,500 for singles and $15,000 for families instead of an unlimited untaxed benefit available only to corporations. Stage 2, mo’ money to the states. Hey Jefe, if the fed taxes weren’t so damn high, we wouldn’t have to have the feds do subsidizing.

Now something for conservatives – more health savings accounts, medical liability reform (which draws the first boos of the evening). I can’t believe this line drew ‘Rat support – the best health care decisions are made by patients and their doctors.

8:27 – Border (in)security – “Guest worker” program. Say, would that have stopped the Mexican Army’s repeated incursions? Now lying about amnesty; not throwing the illegals out and granting them a special means of “legalization” is the very definition of amnesty.

8:29 – Energy – Complaining about dependence on foreign oil. Talks about clean coal, solar and wind, nuclear for electricity, NO mention of increased drilling. The ethanol mention wasn’t as bad as I thought; not talking inefficient corn-a-hole.

Spoke too soon – triple the corn-a-hole usage. Er, if we’re using corn-a-hole, we’re not saving anything. Shrink the cars again.

Ah, here’s the drilling. Double the Strategic Oil Reserve.

8:33 – Where’s High Priestess Heidi Cullen? Sounds like the Prez abandoned us on Global Warning.

8:34 – Second round of boos – ‘Rats won’t let you have votes on your judges.

Onto the Global War on Terror. Still no mention that the terrorists are Islamokazis (or “radical” Islamists). Plastic must’ve been watching Hiliary for approval to applaud the take-the-fight-to-the-enemy line; her applause was delayed.

Success stories time. First time I heard the Al Qaeda anthrax plot (still no official word on who sent the anthrax back in 2001).

8:37 – Did I hear right; the Pres actually called Al Qaeda Sunnis. I didn’t hear Muslims though.

8:40 – Positively Wilsonian call for making the world Safe for Democracy. Bush has the right idea, but the wrong reason why it works; the more people that have a voice, the less likely their leaders will act like Hitler or Stalin because of the instinct for self-preservation, not because of a non-existant sense of goodness.

8:43 – Tossing out Shi’a now. Still no mention that they’re Muslims. It might not be like Pubbies to abandon friends and break our word, but it’s been the ‘Rat motto since 1968.

8:46 – Line of the night – “We didn’t drive Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan only to have them set up in a free Iraq.” There are benchmarks agreed to by Iraq (but because we don’t want the Islamokazis to bust them, we won’t make them public).

Most Pubbies might understand the costs of failure in Iraq, but other than Lieberman, the ‘Rats either don’t know or don’t give a damn. If I were Pres, I would point out that the costs of failure were proven once before; when S(l)ick Willie Clinton bailed out of Somalia. Predictably, the ‘Rats sat on their hands (which got crushed by their fat asses).

8:51 – Good luck in getting the ‘Rats behind you, even with this new “bi-partisan” commission you’re doing. Time to increase the authorized strength of the Army and Marines and establish a civilian reserve corps.

8:54 – All the plastic in the world couldn’t hide Pelosi’s disgust at the revelation that Cuba is still not free. Darfur got a special mention (though once again, left unmentioned is the fact that Islamokazis are doing the killing). Is Bono in the house?

8:56 – Gallery time. Dikembe Mutombo first up, and he turned his unplanned NBA career into a partial realization of his original doctor dream, building a hospital back in the Congo. ‘Rats conflicted on whether to cheer the founder of Baby Einstein because she’s a woman that did it for the chilrun or vilify her for daring to become very successful out of nothing. Wesley Autrey IS a hero, as much a hero as the troops overseas he says are the real heroes – someone who will leap into the path of an oncoming subway train to save somebody who fell onto the tracks is one. One of those is next – Sgt. Rieman, who did much the same with enemy fire pouring in.

9:02 – “God bless,” and we’re out.

You can look elsewhere for the canned ‘Rat response.

WordPress 2.1 is alive

by @ 14:06. Filed under The Blog.

If you run WordPress on your own server, I recommend getting
WordPress 2.1. It has some cool features such as autosave, spell check (hey Aaron, this one’s for you!), and the newest version of Akismet.

One bit of a note; the 5-step process didn’t quite work for me. I had to delete all the old 2.0.7 files to get 2.1 working.

Stupid criminal of the day

by @ 13:06. Filed under Law and order.

JSOnline’s DayWatch has today’s winner loser – Benjamin R. Stibbe, Grafton’s worst resident, who is up on federal heroin trafficking charges, had his lawyer try to get certain statements he made to local officers thrown out because he was…wait for it…

…wait for it…

…not yet…

…almost time…

NOW!

high on the heroin he was busted with.

Never mind that, in this specific case, he first agreed to get some heroin from Milwaukee for an undercover officer. Never mind that he has been convicted of one case of providing lethal amounts of heroin to Grafton-area addicts, and that charges are pending in three others.

Maybe if Keg Goldschlager had hired his scumbag attorney, Anthony Cotton, she would still be driving a state-owned vehicle.

January 21, 2007

Jim Doyle – “anti-environment”

by @ 10:43. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

Or at least that’s what the likes of the Sierra Club would be calling the guv if he were a Pubbie after finding out that he directed the state DNR to petition the federal EPA to reclassify southeast Wisconsin as in compliance for ozone so that the business climate in this part of the state could improve a bit. Doyle’s request, if approved, will mean that businesses in southeast Wisconsin seeking to build or expand won’t necessarily have to install the most-expensive pollution controls anymore, pushing the entire burden of keeping ozone in check on motorists.

While I do applaud Doyle for realizing that onerous envirowhacko regulations do cause serious economic harm, there’s a couple points I still need to make:

  • I thought that onerous envirowhacko regulations didn’t harm business, or at least that’s what the envirowhackos kept on telling me.
  • But, but, but I thought that Republicans, which controlled the federal levels of the envirowhacko regulations during the last 3 years, when the average ozone level was held under the federal standards, wanted to destroy the environment (again, that’s what the envirowhackos kept on telling me).
  • Note that neither of the programs that affected motorists, the corn-a-hole-laced reformulated gas nor the tailpipe sniffing program, will be lifted. In fact, Craps wants to shove corn-a-hole on the rest of the state.

Of course, with an out-of-control tax and lawsuit environment fostered by Doyle, this will amount to nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the R.M.S. Titanic.

January 20, 2007

First blogroll addition of 2007

by @ 20:49. Filed under The Blog.

I am such a dumbshat for waiting over a year to add Sister Toldjah to the roll. Hopefully, you’re not as stupid as I am and already have her on your blogrolls.

Today’s signs the end of the world, or at least conservatism, is nigh

Item #1 – Hitlery (or if you prefer, Hiliary) Rotten Von Der Schlikmeister has tossed Old Crusty Black Pantsuit into the Presidential ring. The game is now afoot. Unlike Allahpundit, who called the timing an “amateur mistake”, I declare it a masterpiece. One of the most-watched weekends of the (mostly-)liberal Sunday morning talk shows, made so because those liberals without fax machines need their pre-State of the Union Address marching orders, now gets dominated by Hiliary, and the hosts “Meet the Press”, “Face the Nation”, “This Week”, and “Late Edition” won’t have to temper their genuflection before her with any criticisms from Limbaugh and the weekday Fox News crew.

Item #2 (with a H/T to Kate) – It sure looks like we’re about to get a massive tax increase from yet another President Bush. Take a gander at this line from this week’s Presidential radio address (the last one before his State of the Union Address)

Americans are fortunate to have the best health care system in the world. The government has an important role to play in our system. We have an obligation to provide care for the most vulnerable members of our society — the elderly, the disabled, and poor children and their parents. We are meeting this responsibility through Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. We must strengthen these vital programs so that they are around when future generations need them.

It even comes with Jefe’s own “read my lips” moment:

We must address these rising costs, so that more Americans can afford basic health insurance. And we need to do it without creating a new Federal entitlement program or raising taxes.

Item #3 – Investor’s Business Daily is reporting that a tax hike in the form of a cap on tax breaks for employer-provided health care is just one of the hard turns to the left that is expected to be announced on Tuesday night. He will also announce that, unlike Jim Ott (a major hat-tip to Josh Schroeder for getting that exclusive), he doesn’t want to lose his AMS certification, that making his 2001 and 2003 temporary tax cuts permanent are off the table, and that corn-a-hole will get a fresh massive federal influx.

January 18, 2007

Trust politicians to foul up a fix to a foul-up

by @ 16:41. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin, Taxes.

(H/T – Nick)

In order to give instant gratification to the fine folks of the Town of Oregon that were screwed over by the Department of Revenue on their 2006 property taxes to the tune of at least $578,000 through an error in the equalized assessed values of the properties in the town, the Legislature is fast-tracking a “no-interest” loan program.

What happens when the DOR screws up that equalized assessed value? In three words – taxes go up. Longer explanation – there are three potential ways the taxes go up. First, there is at least the potential for a reduction in state aid to the property-taxing authority, and taxing authorities being the charter members of the Party In Government they are, tend to refuse to cut their plans of spending accordingly. This affects the entire taxing district negatively, not just the portion in the directly-affected municpality.

Second, in property-taxing districts that include other municipalities, the ratio of the equalized assessed value in the municipality where the value was inflated to that in the municipality (or municipalities) where the value was not inflated. This automatically inflates the tax bill in the directly-affected municipality, while artifically reducing the tax bill in the remainder of the district.

Finally, under the now-expired Craps Tax Anti-Freeze, the various property-taxing authorities had the authority to increase taxes by the value of new construction. If the value of new construction was artifically inflated by the DOR, guess what? The authorization to further jack up taxes just showed up fraudulently, and knowing the PIGS that are the taxing authorities, they wouldn’t pass up this opportunity. To be fair, this would also have happened under the various versions of the Republican tax freezes that were vetoed by Doyle.

The current “fix” for an error in the calculation of equalized value that results in a higher-than-otherwise-allowed property tax bill is to have the DOR to adjust the following year’s equalized value downward in the hope that that tax bill will be lowered by the amount that it was “mistakenly” raised. Since the equalized value is frozen months before the budgets of the various property-taxing authorities, and thus their mill rates, are set, it is merely a hope on the part of the DOR that they got it right the second time.

Becuase this imperfect relief comes late, the Legislature got this bright idea to create a mechanism for a no-interest loan to those affected by a major foul-up by the DOR (one that is at least 10% high) in the form of AB-20. In short, it gives the affected property owners a more-or-less exact relief in the form of a no-interest loan from the state through the taxing municipality at the beginning of the year, with the amount of that loan added to the tax bill at the end of the year. In theory, the current “fix” outlined above pays off the loan with no additional money coming from the taxpayer. Unfortunately, since that relief is imperfect, if the DOR doesn’t get it right and the year-end relief is less than the loan, guess who has to come up with the money?

On to the reason why this bad fix is headed on the fast track. The fraudulent overtaxation of the fine folks in the Town of Oregon that spurred this “fix” was a result of an error on the part of the state Department of Revenue back in August 2006. At that point, they certified that the property in the Town of Oregon was worth $47 million more than the amount at which should have been certified. Take a good look at that date. That is roughly 3 months prior to the date the state figures out how much aid to give various units of local government, and 4 months prior to the date those governments set their budgets and determine their mill rates. You mean to tell me that, in those months between the foul-up by the DOR and the fraudulent increases in the tax bills, nobody figured this out?

A major part of that fraudulent tax increase is blamed on the effect of that foul-up on the school district’s levy; in fact, the linked Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story focused solely on that. Since the school district also includes the Village of Oregon, there are two parts to that; the reduction of state aid to the district, and the change in balance between the property values in the town and those in the village. Color me cynical, but both the new “fix” and the existing “fix” sure seem to only address the latter, and the folks in both the town and the village just got screwed.

So, what’s the fix? First, don’t wait 5 months to double-check those equalized values. In this case, if the DOR would have caught this in early October, none of this would have happened. Next, instead of guessing how much relief is going to occur in the portion of the district that was screwed the previous year, implement an actual amount and dun those that improperly got a break (be it the state or the property owners outside the directly-affected municipality) appropriately. Then and only then can the “instant gratification” loan work.

January 15, 2007

SO close to peace in the western part of the Middle East

by @ 23:04. Filed under Politics.

(H/T – Allahpundit)

Haaretz reports on a 2-year secret effort by a former Israeli Foreign Ministry director general and former Israeli ambassador to Turkey, a Syrian-Alawite businessman with close ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad (both acting with the knowledge and approval of their governments), and a European mediator to create peaceful Israeli-Syrian relations. One of the tidbits from the Haaretz background story -

“Farouk Shara (the Syrian Vice-President) told me radical Islam constitutes a threat to Syria and that peace is the only way to halt it,” the mediator said. He said the Syrians told him that in a few years, they would lose their oil sources and need significant amounts of foreign currency to purchase energy from external sources. The Alawite regime realizes, the European mediator said, that in order to survive, it has to bring foreign currency into Syria, and that no sane businessman would invest his fortune in a country that is not at peace with its neighbors.

They got as far as drafting a “non-paper” (that linked version is one of the early versions). If it were to have been adopted, it would have returned the Golan Heights to the Syrians as a demilitarized zone, with much of the area turned into a park where Israelis could enter without a Syrian visa, introduced a zone of reduced military presence on either side of the Golan (with a larger zone on the Syrian side), secured the Jordan River water for Israel, and ultimately resulted in a peace treaty between Israel and Syria.

Alas, the effort died in the midst of the Israeli-Hezbollah fighting in August, 2006. Syria demanded to make the talks official (but still secret) at that point, with C. David Welch, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, also involved, but the Israelis balked.

I’ll have to sleep on this and try to figure out what’s what, who all got played here (I’m smelling something), and all that good stuff.

January 13, 2007

Google helping terrorists

by @ 20:49. Filed under War on Terror.

(H/T – See-Dubya guest-blogging for Michelle Malkin while she is over in Iraq)

The Daily Telegraph reports the British Army has found evidence that the terrorists in Basra are using maps generated by Google Earth to target them.

I see this as a problem that ultimately has no real solution. There are just too many entities selling (or making freely-available) high-resolution satellite photos worldwide, some in countries that are less-than-friendly to either the United States or the United Kingdom.

However, that does not leave Google entirely off the hook. They are, after all, an American company which seems to think that providing up-to-date, high-resolution images of places like the Shaibah Logistics Base just outside Basra and Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia is “a good thing”.

January 11, 2007

Speaking of dying “reform”, this time federal

by @ 21:18. Filed under Politics - National.

(H/T – Slublog)

You might remember that one of San Fran Nan’s goals of her 100 Hours gimick was to end earmarks as we know them by forcing disclosure of who dumped the earmark in. It actually is one thing I can cheer out of the Rat-infested House.

However, I have some bad news. Much like the every-other-year dance of pay increases for Congress, it was all a sham. It seems our “brave” new leaders in the Senate, Dick Turbin, Dingy Harry Reid, and Ted “The Swimmer” Kennedy, don’t want to kill earmarks in the Senate. While they did not manage to table the attempt by Jim DeMint (R-SC) to adopt the House language on earmarks instead of a competing definition that would exempt 95% of the earmarks (vote was 51-45, more on that in a moment), the Swimmer objected to unanimous consent, allowing Turbin and Dingy Harry to keep on twisting arms to try to keep the pork alive.

So, who voted how? It was close to party-line, with most of the Pubbies jumping onto the reform wagon a bit late and most of the ‘Rats clinging to the pork like a liferaft. Beyond the three that didn’t vote (Johnson, Brownback and Inouye), the ones that jumped ship were:

  • ‘Rats who voted to not table the amendment – Cantwell, Feingold (shock), Harkin, Kerry (who probably will take the opportunity to say he voted for it before he voted against it), Landrieu, Lieberman, Nelson, Obama (who, if he didn’t mark himself for an extended stay at Ft. Marcy Park before, just did now), Tester and Webb.
  • RepubicRats who are just too damn stupid – Bennett, Bunning, Domenici, Hatch, Cave-A-Lott (proving me right he wasn’t worthy to return to leadership), Smith and Voinovich.

The final votes are expected next week.

Ethics? We don’t need no steenkin’ Ethics Board!

by @ 19:42. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

It’s not often that I give any credit to state Sen. Mike Ellis (RINO-Neenah), but I have to this time. According to JSOnline’s PoliticsWatch, he found a possibly-fatal flaw in the plan to replace the Ethics and Elections Boards with a newly-constituted Government Accountability Board. In Ellis’ jealous eyes (jealous because his plan at “reform” got shot down last year and will never see the light of day), the requirement that those that serve on that GAB cannot run for office within 1 year of leaving that board is “patently unconstitutional”, as he seems to see a near-absolute constitutional right to run for office. I’ll leave that to the likes of Rick Esenberg and Jeff Wagner to comment intelligently on whether that could be a legitimate concern or just another one of Ellis’ stunts.

Worse, there is an unusual clause in the bill that not only requires the entire package to be made void if any portion is ruled unconstitutional, but that the Ethics and Election Boards remain defunct. Usually, lawmakers include “severability” clauses to bills that expressly state if a portion is ruled unconstitutional, the remainder remains in force.

Either way, Craps wins. Either he gets a board where he picked every last member to replace one board where he has effective control of half the members (one directly, the other 3 through his party apparatus, and a tie-breaking 5th picked by the überliberal Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson) and another where he would have full control before 2010, or he has nobody other than an attorney general who saw nothing wrong at the governor’s mansion while US Attorney for western Wisconsin to worry about at the state level.

New press secretary for the Milk Carton

by @ 8:37. Filed under Miscellaneous.

There is only one man who can spin the fact that 11,152 calls to police were made from Milwaukee Public School system schools last school year into a “non-crisis”. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present the new press secretary for Milwaukee’s Mayor, Tom “Milk Carton” Barrett, Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, who has a world-exclusive quote on the news of the day from MPS -


“There is no crisis here. Those 60 calls per day
to the Milwaukee Police Department are really
misdirected calls to Domino’s Pizza.”

January 5, 2007

One last Mushroom update

by @ 10:24. Filed under Lawsuit madness, Politics - National.

Harriet Miers, not-at-all-affectionately refered to on this blog as the Mushroom when President Bush floated her as a Supreme Court nominee, is leaving her post as White House Counsel as of January 31. According to Fox News the real reason for her resignation was the fact that Karl Rove is anticipating non-stop lawsuits from the ‘Rat-infested Congress, and Miers’ career as a civil litigator left her woefully unprepared in either the criminal law or separation-of-powers disciplines.

And this is the broad that Bush wanted us conservatives to swallow on the Supreme Court? Most of SCOTUS’ work is in those two disciplines.

Mexicans to drain Social Security dry

by @ 9:54. Filed under Immigration, Politics - National.

The Washington Times reports on a secret protocol Jefes Bush and Fox negotiated in 2004 to allow Mexicans who worked in the US illegally and get amnesty to collect Social Security for the time they worked here illegally. Though the totalization agreement that this is part of hasn’t been submitted to Congress, once it is, Congress has to reject it within 60 days or it becomes law.

So, what’s wrong with this? Actually, it’s two things. First, the illegals were not working here legally, and in most cases, it cannot be proven how much they earned. Why in the hell do they deserve Social Security benefits when there isn’t going to be enough to pay those under 35 the way it is?

Second, this sure sounds like a treaty to me. Last time I checked, treaties needed a 2/3rds concurrance of the Senate.

I guess we now know without a doubt which party Jefe Bush was rooting for this past November.

Catching up (take 2)

Had this ready to go when my router crapped out on me and I lost this. Let’s see if I can catch up again:

  • John Washburn is still trying to find out exactly what happened in Milwaukee on 11/2/2004. Despite claims from the retiring Milwaukee Police Department chief Nan Heggarty that the investigation into the 2004 election was over on 11/27/2006, there is still no final report forthcoming. After weeks of getting the runaround, John finally got the US Attorney’s office to say that the report will be available in the next month. So, where’s the election records? The FBI says the Milwaukee County DA’s office has them, the DA’s office says they don’t have them. Bear in mind that this investigation was used by the State Doylie Elections Board to not process John’s election complaint.
  • The Dems learned no sense of humility in their dozen years in the political wilderness. Bela Pelosi and company are planning on ramrodding their agenda through the House without so much as a committee hearing or an amendment. Worse, President Bush is set to confirm again and again my fears from 1999 that he wasn’t a conservative. The Asian Badger was right when he predicted a shortage of KY Jelly.
  • Speaking of not-conservative Republicans, Tommy Thompson appears to be serious about running for President in 2008. Not only does he have a website up (once again, I’ll state for the record I will not knowingly link to campaign websites, so you can find it yourself), but he threatened promised Iowans with weekly visits.
  • With a hat tip due Jib, it seems that Taliban head Muhammed Omar has e-mail access. One of his intermediaries has been in contact with Reuters, and Omar says he hasn’t seen Osama Bin Laden since the end of 2001. Hey One-Eye, come on out of hiding so we can confirm you said that (and then confirm your death).
  • Another hat tip, this time to Allahpundit and Owen – a bunch of gunmen overran a National Guard listening post in Arizona. Can we declare war on Mexico, or at least properly militarize the border now, Jefe?
  • Speaking of gunplay, this is how New Years is celebrated on the North Side of Milwaukee. Patrick, I hope you kept your head down when you recorded the audio.

I hope that catches me up through midnight.

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