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.

Archive for October, 2011

October 29, 2011

Occupy Madison permit non-renewed due to whack jobs

No, the pun is not intended; The Daily Cardinal reports one of the main reasons the Occupy Madison street-use permit was not renewed was because a number of them were whacking off in public. Indeed, the behavior was so bad that a hotel next to the former occupied site felt the need to escort its employees to and from bus stops.

Another item that Madison officials had an issue with was the lack of restroom facilities. They reportedly are refusing to issue another permit until and unless the Occupiers secure some.

So, what did the Occupiers do? They marched down the street to Olin Terrace, on the shore of Lake Monona. Note the lack of restroom facilities or all-night hours in the city park.

The Isthmus notes that the expired/non-renewed permit wasn’t sought with the entire group’s up twinkles, so I doubt that the move to Olin Terrace has legal blessing.

The other reason for the move can’t exactly be discounted either. Madison’s Freakfest has been known to get quite violent.

Eggs on Da Radio

by @ 8:01. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

Pete Da Tech Guy decided to have me on his radio show on WCRN True Talk 830AM this morning. The show starts at 9 am Central, and I’m slated to follow Jimmie Bise at about the bottom of the first hour. Gabriel Malor will also be on. The big thing Pete and I will talk about is the recall fatigue felt by just about everybody without a D behind their name.

Tune in.

Revisions/extensions (4:44 pm 10/31/2011) – The podcast is up.

October 26, 2011

PPP – Wisconsin tiring of Recall Madness

by @ 17:13. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

Public Policy Polling, notably not in its role as the official pollster of DailyKos, just released a poll lamenting that the chance for Democrats to seize control of Wisconsin politics via the recall process is diminishing rather badly. Before I get to the analysis, especially of the crosstabs, however, I do have to discuss the partisan split in the poll, specifically the 37% Democrat/32% independent/31% Republican split. It is the biggest D-to-R split over the series of polls dealing with a possible Walker recall, with Democrats holding a 37%-34% advantage in the mid-August poll taken immediately after the Democrats failed to seize control of the state Senate, a 37%-32% advantage in May, and a 33%-32% advantage in February. Most other pollsters not only have a far closer D-to-R split (with some recent polls having a slight R advantage), but as a nod to Wisconsin’s lack of party registration, they have the independent portion a bit higher than either party. Given the trend of the recalls against the Republican state Senators ultimately falling short, a more-reasonable split would be 36% I/32% D/32% R.

The first hurdle is finding 540,000 so so signatures on petitions to force a recall election. While the top-line 49% oppose recall/48% support recall is a bit closer than the 50% oppose/47% support in August, it is due to both the hardening of resolve among Democrats (up from 86% support-11% oppose in August to 90% support-6% oppose now) and the 3 percentage point reduction in the Republican participation in the poll. Among independents, the opposition to a Walker recall, which had already flipped from support by August to the tune of 50% oppose/46% support, jumped to 57% oppose/40% support.

Similarly, while Walker is still underwater in the approval question at an overall 47% approve/51% disapprove, it is entirely due to an overweight of Democrats in the poll as he is above water among independents for the first time this year at 52% approve/44% disapprove. The over-90% on the partisan sides (approval on Republicans, disapproval on Democrats) essentially wipe each other out when realistic weighting is used.

The other hurdle for the Democrats to a successful recall is finding a candidate who can take on Walker. The only person who, at least in the PPP weighting, can beat Walker is former Senator Russ Feingold, who holds an overall 49%-46% advantage. There’s just 2 problems – Feingold has ruled out running for anything in 2012, and the theoretical Feingold lead is due entirely to weighting. The Republican and Democrat splits are exactly opposite (89% for the party to 7% for the opposition), while independents favor Walker by a narrow 47%-45% margin.

Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Walker 52%-46% in last year’s gubernatorial election, would lose by a 48%-46% margin with PPP’s weighting. However, not only does Barrett not get as many Democrats (86%) as Walker gets Republicans (90%), but independents break for Walker 52%-39%.

Other Democras, including House Representative Ron Kind, former Representatives Dave Obey and Steve Kagen, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk (last seen on the statewide stage being the only Democrat in the country to lose a “frontline” statewide or Congressional office held by Democrats in the 2006 election), Assembly minority leader Peter Barca and state Senator Jon Erpenbach, all trail Walker more significantly. Worse for them, much of the state doesn’t know enough about them to have an opinion on them. This is despite Obey being in DC longer than I’ve been alive and ending up as the House Ways and Means Committee chair (and thus responsible for the failed Stimulus and most of the appropriations bills between 2007 and 2010), and Falk running 2 statewide campaigns in the last 10 years, the second successful enough to knock off the sitting attorney general in the Democrat primary.

Even the supposed bright spot for Democrats, a 46%-43% advantage in who should control the state Senate, is illusionary upon further examination. Independents favor Republican control of the state’s upper legislative chamber 41%-35%, reflecting a growing Republican trend first noted in the wake of the August recall elections.

October 20, 2011

The $35B Hostage

In an effort not to be seen as a lame duck President, or worse yet, completely irrelevant for his last year in office, President Obama is fighting harder and harder to pass legislation, any legislation that could be viewed as populist.  One such effort at populism is his effort to pass a jobs bill.

After getting shut down by his own party on a jobs bill that was a smaller version of the original stimulus plan, Obama has decided to try to slip through individual components.  The first effort of piecemeal has been whittled to $35B and is ostensibly focused on hiring or keeping police, fire fighters and teachers employed.

Obama let Biden loose yesterday to stump for the new jobs bill.  In attempting to make a point for passage of the bill, Biden said:

“In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes, just to pick two categories, climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers’ll be this year for Flint if we don’t rectify it.”

When confronted on his remarks, Biden followed up with:

“Let’s get it straight, guy. Don’t screw around with me. Let’s get it straight,” Biden responded. “I said rape was up three times in Flint. Those are the numbers. Go look at the numbers. Murder is up, rape is up, burglary is up. That’s what I said.”

Joe, Joe, Joe….

Joe attempts to argue that the number of police officers are the single largest reason for the number of violent crimes, especially murder and rape. He makes this assertion by using statistics from a microcosm, Flint Michigan, and wants us to believe that they extend to the country as a whole.

If you would ask Joe, he would tell you that we are woefully short of police and other law enforcement personnel. Under Joe’s logic, we should be seeing unchecked increases in violent crime during the current economic times. Joe may want to check with the FBI on what their statistics show. The FBI statistics clearly show that over the past few years, violent crime has been coming down. That fact is true on both a total basis as well as based on the rates per 100,000 population. In fact, contrary to Biden’s view of near anarchy, rapes per 100,000 were down to levels not seen since the mid ’70s and murder rates not seen since the early 60s.

OK, so I think it’s safe to say that Flint has bigger issues than the number of police they have on the street. At best, they are an outlier to national statistics. But, let’s says Biden is right, let’s say we do need more police to reduce rapes. If that is true, why is the administration only putting $5B of the bill towards policemen? Does Biden believe that $5B will eliminate rape completely in the United States? If not, what will he tell the woman whose rape would have been prevented by the $1 spent beyond the $5B? Will he tell her that teachers were more important? Will he tell her that firefighters were more important? Maybe Joe will tell her that additional DMV clerks were more important than her physical safety and self esteem?

Doesn’t matter how you slice it Joe, your comments are bad logic if I am kind and asinine if I’m honest. If you really believed what you were saying, you would put every last dollar of the $35B to hire police. Even then, there would be one woman who’s officer wouldn’t be hired inside of the $35B and she would be raped as a result…at least according to Joe. I guess we can just refer to this poor woman as the $35B hostage.

October 18, 2011

B-Team Debate Drunkblogging – It’s Vegas, Baby!

by @ 15:27. Filed under 2012 Presidential Contest.

After Shoebox handled last week’s debate solo with the usual aplomb, I’m back this week, even if my lungs don’t want to be. CNN (ugh) will be running tonight’s Western Republican Leadership Conference debate from the Sands Expo and Convention Center/the Venetian Hotel and Casino. The Venetian and I go back a ways; the only non-union property on The Strip hosted RightOnline and Kruiser Kabana last year. The Other McCain, future ambassador to Vanatu, is reporting live from the scene of the crime.

The debate starts at 7 pm Central; Shoe and I will open things up about 6:45. Bring your own favorite alcoholic beverage (preferably a lot of them). If the CoverItLive window doesn’t open for you, mash here.

Tuesday Hot Read – Phil Kerpen’s Democracy Denied: How Obama Is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him

by @ 0:09. Filed under Politics - National.

Americans for Prosperity’s Vice President for Policy Phil Kerpen has become a good friend of mine over the last 4 years. He decided to give me an advance copy of his book, Democracy Denied (list price $24.95, Kindle version $9.99), a look at how President Obama is abusing the regulatory process to implement what the voters explicitly rejected in the 2010 elections (and indeed, what Congress rejected when his party controlled it). It’s out today, so go grab it.

One of the first things I tend to notice when reading political tomes is the footnotes. The number of them tends to reflect how well-researched the tome is, and Kerpen did a lot of research. The notes section starts on page 275 and extends for a full 40 pages.

A helpful touch Kerpen included are liner notes scattered throughout the 275 pages of text. I won’t lie; it really helps in doing a quick-read book review. It also helps in highlighting, in sound-byte form, the particular point Kerpen is making in the section.

Books of this type typically explore the problem at length before setting out the proposed solution. Kerpen chose a different path; after a brief explanation of the problem of no legislative (Congressional) oversight of executive-branch rulemaking, he set out the case for a solution – the REINS Act. The story behind the REINS Act is not your typical one; its source was not from DC, or even a statehouse (though it is somewhat similar to Wisconsin’s legislative review of any proposed rule). Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) and Kentuckian Lloyd Rogers were separately wondering how to fight back against EPA overreaches like forced stormwater consent decrees. I’ll let Kerpen take over:

Then, the answer came to him (Davis) from Rogers. It happened in late August 2009, when Rogers called Davis and requested a meeting. Rogers talked about one of their favorite topics–the consent decree and the enormous impact it was having on fees. And then Rogers, according to Davis, laid out a very simple–profound, really–proposition.

Rogers said: “How come you guys can’t vote on these things?” and he handed Davis a piece of paper with a paragraph of text. It was the big idea, the idea that would become the REINS Act. This is, verbatim, what the piece of paper said:

Proposed legislation:
In adherence to the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, section 1…”All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” All rules, regulations, or mandates that require citizens, state or local governments financial expenditures must first be approved by the U.S. Congress before they can become effective.

The real meat of the book is the numerous avenues of overreach Obama and his administration have taken. From the never-in-writing-until-imposed carbon dioxide regulations to the attempt to silence dissent on the internet, from the attempt to force unionization down businesses’ throats to PlaceboCare, from Dodd-Frank to land-and-ocean grabs to put America in the dark, Kerpen outlines the attempt to get the Obama agenda rammed through by every means available. From the initial attempts to get each piece through Congress legislatively when Democrats had total power to how (outside PlaceboCare and Dodd-Frank) the pieces initially failed, from the extra-constitutional attempt to implement the legislatively-failed agenda items through executive agencies to how the pushback has begun (in some cases, somewhat-successfully) and how in each case it must continue, Kerpen outlines the recent history of each piece of Obama’s agenda.

The last full chapter illustrates how even Obama and his fellow Democrats realize that this process is quite unseemly. Of course, their idea is to spray the proverbial potpourii to merely mask the odor; Kerpen quotes Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to illustrate; “[Obama] senses what the public wants. And it is a little bit Nineteen Eighty-Four-ish. He’ll tell you he agrees with you, while at the same time doing the exact opposite. So, a lot of big words and high-flowing rhetoric, but not a lot of substance.”

Kerpen closes with a powerful call to arms:

Turning (Robert) Higgs’s crisis theory on its head, we may have now reached a crisis point in the workings of our system of government, a crisis of unchecked regulartory power that threatens to render Congress irrelevant and trample our economic freedoms. This crisis, made clear by the ambitiousness of Obama’s “fundamental transformation” can, if well communicated, arouse enough opposition to reverse a multi-decade trend toward ever-greater regulatory power.

This time, it can be different. This time we can win.

October 14, 2011

Recall Madness – 2012 Edition promises to be even zanier

by @ 14:32. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

If the Democrats’ pending attempt to recall governor Scott Walker isn’t crazy enough, Democrat Party of Wisconsin chair Mike Tate promised to use the recall process to make a second attempt to seize control of the state Senate between the regularly-scheduled 2010 and 2012 elections. For his part, Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he hasn’t ruled out recalling Democrats, including those who had efforts against them last year fizzle out due to lack of sufficient signatures.

There is an interesting tidbit at the end of the linked Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story that puts into question which version of the legislative districts would be used to conduct the recall process; the districts put into place by a federal judge after the 2000 census or the districts that were redrawn last month. That stems from the last section of 2011 Act 43, which redrew the districts following the 2010 census. Specifically, it reads:

Section 10. Initial applicability.
(1) This act first applies, with respect to regular elections, to offices filled at the 2012 general election.
(2) This act first applies, with respect to special or recall elections, to offices filled or contested concurrently with the 2012 general election.

The Government Accountability Board did not have an immediate answer to the question of which set of maps would be used. That leaves the door open for me to explore the possibilities.

Before I do, however, I need to outline (once again) the statutory timeline of the recall process as it relates to the Legislature:

  • Once a recall committee registers with the GAB, it has up to 60 days to collect and submit for filing a petition for recall with a number of signatures equal to at least 1/4th of those who voted in the most-recent gubernatorial election in that district.
  • The GAB has up to 31 days after that submission to determine the petition is sufficient. If the GAB determines it is not sufficient, the recall committee has up to an additional 5 days to correct the identified deficiencies, with the GAB taking up to an additional 2 days after correction to determine sufficiency.
  • If the recall petition is deemed to be sufficient, a recall election is scheduled for the 6th Tuesday after the day the recall petition is deemed sufficient, and candidates may begin circulating nomination papers in a rather truncated timeframe.
  • If there is only one candidate per “recognized” party (i.e. a party with a candidate who received 1% of the vote in a statewide election in the most-recent election cycle with a gubernatorial election), that scheduled date is recall general election. If there is more than one candidate in a “recognized” party, that party has a recall primary on that date and the recall general election is 4 Tuesdays after that point.

Do note that this is the second (and only second) time the Legislature addressed the recall process when they conducted redistricting; the exact same initial applicability section (with the exception of the date, 2002 was substituted for 2012, and a different section number) appeared in 2001 Act 46, which redrew the Congressional districts after the 2000 census. The other legislative redistricting acts, both before and after a 1982 opinion from Democrat Attorney General Bronson La Follette addressing potential recalls, did not mention recall elections. That opinion, interpreting a court-ordered redistricting that was later superceded by Democrats when they seized complete control of the lawmaking process, said that the court ruling, issued in the middle of the 1982 ballot-access process, immediately applied to any potential recall process, including those Senators who were not up for re-election in 1982.

The normal partisan election ballot-access process, at least under current law, begins on June 1 of the election year when candidates can start collecting signatures, which must be back to the GAB (or, for county partisan offices other than district attorney, the county clerk) by the end of business on the second Tuesday in July (this time around, July 10, 2012). While the 2012 primary date is still in flux as the current second-Tuesday-in-September date, with respect to federal elections, is not in compliance with federal law, the 2012 general election will be November 6.

There were no recalls launched in 2002, but the former State Elections Board used the redrawn Congressional districts to conduct the entire 2002 election process, beginning with the circulation and submission of nomination papers on June 1, 2002, extending through the September partisan primary, and culminating with the 2002 partisan general election.

With all that background out of the way, we can explore the meaning of “concurrently with the 2012 general election”. There are 5 major possible definitions; I’ll present them in reverse chronological order and assume in all cases the full 60 days are used to collect signatures, the full 38 days (including the 7 days allowed to correct any deficiencies) are used to determine sufficiency of the petitions, and the minimum of 36 days between the finding of sufficiency and the scheduling of the recall election occur:

“Concurrently” means the date of the regularly-scheduled general election and the scheduled recall election are the same: If this definition is operative, that would put the latest date this time around a recall could start using the old distrcts at 6/18/2012. That is clearly in conflict with both the 1982 AG opinion and subsequent precedent set by the former State Elections Board establishing the start of the election season as June 1.

It also would, if the last-Tuesday-in-October date set for the recall turns out to be a primary, push the recall general election past the regularly-scheduled 2012 election. Just as an example, if Van Wanggaard (Republican Senator in the 21st District) were to face a recall (the Democrats have said they will be targeting him), a resident of Racine would be voting for Senator in the freshly-redrawn 22nd District in the beginning of November and voting on Waangard’s recall in the 21st at the end of November.

“Concurrently” means the date of the regularly-scheduled general election and a possible recall general election after a recall primary are the same: The latest a recall could start using the old districts under this definition is, this time around, 5/21/2012. It would still put the scheduled recall election date (this time around, 10/2/2012) later than the regularly-scheduled September primary (not to mention later than any potential August date). Also, it would put the start of the circulation of nomination papers for the recall election well after those for the succeeding general election are due and likely past any regularly-scheduled August primary (specifically this time around, 8/27/2012).

“Concurrently” means the date of the beginning of nomination papers for the regularly-scheduled election and the recall election are the same: Using this definition, the latest a recall could be initiated using the old districts is, this time around 2/23/2012. While, in most cases, any potential recall general election following a recall primary would happen prior to any potential regularly-scheduled August primary (this time 8/7/2012 versus the earliest-talked-about date of 8/14/2012 as the second Tuesday in August), the circulators of the two sets of nomination papers would be out and about at the same time. Given one can only sign one canidate’s nomination papers per election, this could prove confusing.

“Concurrently” means the time periods of the circulation of nomination papers overlap: Using this definition, the latest a recall could be initiated using the old districts is, this time around, 2/7/2012. As nomination papers are always due on a Tuesday, that means the papers for the recall election would have to be in by the last Tuesday in May (5/29/2012) to avoid conflict.

“Concurrently” means any part of the recall process and any part of the regularly-scheduled election process overlap: Under the earliest of the definitions, the latest a recall could be initiated using the old districts is, this time around, 12/19/2011. Recall elections are held on Tuesdays (excepting holidays), so the same 5/29/2012 final date holds.

Revisions/extensions (3:19 pm 10/14/2011) – I somehow misspelled Van Wanggaard’s name. Sorry about that.

October 11, 2011

The obligatory “Rats to start Walker recall 11/15” post

by @ 14:54. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

The DemocRAT Party of Wisconsin seems to think it has the timing, the GAB, and the “pre-planned signatures” all in its back pocket; last night, they announced that they’re going to attempt to cause a minimum of 5 elections in Wisconsin in 2012 and kick off the recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker on November 15. Of course, it got off to a rocky start as the announcement went up against the Brewers. I guess Mike Tate is a Cubs fan.

November 15 is not an “accidental” date. On November 9, the GAB is expected to take up several proposed changes in the circulation of recall petitions, from “single-signature” petitions (not witnessed by anybody) to online petitions as part of the process to “pre-populated” petitions, where all that’s needed is the signature. This comes after the GAB tried to force all three via unchallengable opinions but temporarily backed off after the Legislature threatened to force the GAB to adopt rules which could be reviewed and reversed by the Legislature. Given that former Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle appointed 5 of the 6 members of the board, the original 6 Doyle appointees hired the staff that attempted to “nudge” the board to do just this, and if Walker serves a full term, another 3 of the 5 Doyle appointees will come off the board to reduce the Doyle-appointee contingent to minority status come June 2014, I wouldn’t put it past the board to do what they originally intended on doing and to dare the Legislature to try to stop them in the less-than-a-week before the Rats start a “stacked-deck” recall effort.

Revisions/extensions (3:06 pm 10/11/2011) – Corrected the GAB meeting date.

Another GOP Debate

Things are getting interesting:

Palin and Christie are definitely out.  The field is set.

Bachmann and Hunstman are no where to be seen on the polling but are still showing up to debates…for how long?

Johnson is invited.  Will he answer any question without starting with “I will pass a balanced budget!”

Ron Paul won a straw poll…or did he?  Does it mean anything anyway?

Reports are out suggesting that Romney’s team were advising Obama on how to do a healthcare mandate.

Perry seems to have lost all positive energy.

According to the MSM, Herman Cain is not really a black man.

All these things are likely to be discussed or commented on during the live blog tonight.  The debate starts at 7 PM central.  I’ll probably get started a bit before that.  Drunk or sober, you’re all invited!

October 8, 2011

Saturday Hot Read – WSJ’s “103,000 vs. 1.1 million”

by @ 8:30. Filed under Economy Held Hostage.

Tom Blumer has been noting the failure of the current “recovery” versus the recovery from the 1981-1982 recession for some time. Before I take you to the main event, I do encourage you to look at the latest from Tom; he also explains how the “103,000 jobs added in September” isn’t quite all in September.

This morning, The Wall Street Journal jumped on board this train, with a front-page story (unfortunately, behind the paywall), a banner companion must-see graphic (fortunately, not behind the paywall), and a little look at the third Septbembers of Ronald Reagan’s and Barack Obama’s terms. The devastating part:

As it happens, the biggest one-month jobs gain in American history was at exactly this juncture of the Reagan Presidency, after another deep recession. In September 1983, coming out of the 1981-82 downturn, American employers added 1.1 million workers to their payrolls, the acceleration point for a seven-year expansion that created some 17 million new jobs.

Bear in mind that is, depending on whether one measures the end of the 1981-1982 recession as October 1982 or November 1982, a mere 11 or 10 months (respectively) after the end of the recession, while we’re in the 27th month of “recovery”. The similar point in this “recovery” is either April 2010 or May 2010. April 2010 saw a seasonally-adjusted job growth of 277,000, and May 2010 saw a seasonally-adjusted job growth of 458,000.

The bigger problem is what happened after that 10th/11th month of recovery. The next month after that point in the 1980s where there was job contraction was June 1986, and after that, July 1990. Meanwhile, June 2010, July 2010, August 2010 and September 2010 all saw job contraction.

October 6, 2011

Liberal Republicans told me if I supported Sharron Angle, an extremist would be the Class III Senator from Nevada…

by @ 21:29. Filed under Politics - National.

…and they were right! Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada, Class III) twisted the rules of the Senate like a pretzel to deny the Senate the ability to vote on Obama’s Son-of-Porkulus bill.

I would label this another exhibit of how the Senate GOP is nothing more than the minority half of the bipartisan Party-In-Government, but I’ve run out of letters. Own it, RINOs.

Revisions/extensions (9:22 am 10/7/2011) – After further review of the Senate rules (specifically V and XXII), I am convinced Senate Minority “Leader” Mitch McConnell wanted precisely this result. If he wanted to maintain the tradition (which, actually, is a violation of the Senate rules) of allowing the minority to offer non-germane amendments after cloture, he would have given written notice of the motion to suspend the rules yesterday and have it taken up today.

Open Thread Thursday – Witless version

by @ 9:56. Filed under Open Thread Thursday.

Unless you see it on Twitter, and probably not even there, I’ve got little to nothing today. That, and the fact that it’s Thursday, means it’s Open Thread Thursday. Maestro, music…


Don’t be as shy as me. Pipe up!

October 5, 2011

Falklands Part Deux?

by @ 23:13. Filed under International relations, War.

(H/T – The Old Pooners Facebook Group, specifically Christopher Irvine)

Nile Gardiner of The Telegraph outlined the latest bout of words between Great Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands. The gang has kicked around the possibility of it going beyond words off and on for a while, and given at least some of them are/were naval operators, they’re a lot better at it than I am.

If memory serves, both the Royal Navy and the Argentine armed forces have atrophied since 1982, though the RN has really suffered. Unless the RAF figures out a way to get either the Tornado or Typhoon 8,000 miles in number before the Argentines close the airfields (and then have the RN get reloads down), the Brits won’t have any air cover. On the other hand, with a fair bit of warning, a British sub could put a real crimp in the ability of the Argentine Navy to actually land any troops given they have exactly 1 troop carrier and 4 destroyers.

The big question is how much support the US would give Britain, if any in this scenario. Back in 1982, the US gave Britain significant off-battlefield logistical support once the Argentines decided to not negotiate.

Has it been 6 years?

by @ 17:09. Filed under The Blog.

I keep on forgetting these blogiversaries. First, I have to give a nod to Sister Toldjah and Ed Morrissey for hitting their 8th blogiversaries (note the plural) 2 days ago. They’re both good friends of mine; ST has guest-blogged here (and I over at her place), and Ed has for reasons beyond comprehension given me a key to Hot Air’s Green Room.

That leads me to my own blogiversary. 6 years ago today, I decided (more like was dragged by the unfortunately-absent GBFan) to open up shop after getting an invite onto the dearly-departed WisconsinSportsBar. I’ve gone through fits and spurts, moving from Blogger to a less-than-satisfactory stay at Yahoo Small Business while hosting WordPress to a long, though not profitable, tenure with BlueHost. Along the way, I’ve picked up way too many friends to count, a very-successful-in-the-real-world co-blogger in Shoebox (we could tell you how successful, but first we’d have to kill you), and even some notoriety.

Lately I haven’t been doing as much blogging as I really should. Oh well; like Jib, and decidedly unlike Robert Stacy McCain, I’ve never saw it as a means to a financial end (which reminds me; if you can rattle your favorite bloggers’ tip jars if they have them, they all would appreciate it).

Thank you, the readers, for being around for the ride, and let’s see if we can make it another 6.

21 of the last 25 months

by @ 16:43. Filed under Social Security crater.

For those of you who think that Social Security is doing just fine (cough…Mitt Romney…cough…Harry Reid…cough), I’ve got some bad news for you. The Office of the Chief Actuary has finally caught its financial operations reports up to the present after not updating it for several months. The numbers are, in a word, horrible:

  • Except for the “double-taxation” (both quarterly estimated income tax and taxation of benefits) months of January and June, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance program has not had a monthly positive primary (cash) balance since July 2009.
  • The 12-month OASI primary deficit peaked at $20.16 billion in the June 2010-May 2011 period, and isn’t expected to ever become a surplus again by the Social Security Trustees, the Congressional Budget Office, or me. My re-estimation of the 2009 Trustees’ intermediate-case scenario, the last one I have any confidence in, has that never dropping below $10.6 billion (in the February 2012-January 2013 period).
  • The last time the Disability Insurance program had a monthly primary surplus, and indeed, the last time it likely will ever have a monthly primary surplus, was April 2009. If it weren’t for the temporary ability to monetize the DI “Trust Fund”, in most months, less than 75% of the scheduled benefits would be able to be paid out as its annual primary deficit has crossed the $34 billion level on annual costs of just over $131 billion.
  • Speaking of the DI “Trust Fund”, its book value has dropped below $165 billion, and even with interest paid, its annual “burn rate” has crossed the $25 billion level. That makes it likely the person who serves the next Presidential term will have to deal with an exhausted DI “Trust Fund”.

Ponzi Scheme?

First things first; since it is written as law, Social Security cannot meet the illegality portion of the definition of a Ponzi scheme. Of course, if what Charles Ponzi did was written into law as being lawful, it wouldn’t meet the illegality portion of the definition either.

While a full collapse of a Ponzi scheme is almost always the end result of the process, the point where it collapses with the promoter still around is when that promoter is unable to return what he or she promised to the “investors”. Because it is a compulsory government entity, Social Security will always be taking a lot of money and paying “something” in benefits unless a majority of Congress has the gumption to call “Bravo Sierra” on the wealth-transfer scheme and pull the plug.

It matters not a whit that Social Security is a defined-benefit plan rather than a defined-contribution one. Actually, that’s not quite true; the fact that Social Security is a defined-benefit plan means that when it becomes unable to meet the payments promised, or when the terms are altered for those already in the system (I’ll be generous and say “heavily” invested in the system to cover only those who are at least 55 years old), it also meets the “inability to meet returns” definition of a Ponzi scheme regardless of whether it continues to pay benefits.

As current law stands, the only sources of funding for both the DI and OASI programs are the payroll taxes (supplemented this year by transfers from the general fund to replace the temporary cut in the payroll tax), the taxes on benefits (really, just a recapture of money that has the effect of reducing net benefits and net cost) and the “Trust Funds”. Once the “Trust Funds” run out of money, or the SSA is unable to monetize them, the net benefits paid out in a particular month are limited to whatever comes in via the payroll tax (or more-properly, what is projected to come in via the payroll tax, less any interest due the Treasury on that particular “float”) that month.

That’s where the primary deficits loom large. For 21 of the last 25 months, the OASI program needed additional funding from the monetization of the “Trust Fund” to fully-pay its scheduled benefits, while the DI program needed additional funding from the monetization of its “Trust Fund” for the last 28 months and all but 22 of the last 97 months since its latest (and probably last) dip into the red began in August 2003.

October 4, 2011

Communis…er, Occupy Wall Street goons release their “demands”

by @ 17:52. Filed under Politics - National.

Via Fred (no, I won’t give the proto-Commies the traffic), here’s their list of demands, along with a heaping of fisking:

Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.

Unless they’re trust-fund babies (with the emphasis on babies), they won’t exactly be able to afford the Starbucks and iPads that have sustained them anymore.

Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.

Because that’s worked out sooooooooo well for Canada, Great Britain, Cuba, North Korea,….

Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.

I believe the Soviet Union tried that. The quality of both goods and medical services, quite frankly, sucked precisely because the factory worker and the doctor serving the narod were paid the same. I also believe that, the machinations of Mad Vladmir Putin notwithstanding, the Soviet Union is as dead as fried chicken.

Demand four: Free college education.

I’m surprised they didn’t say “free bongs”.

Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.

And exactly how many of them drove their Nissan Leafs and Trek bicycles to Lower Manhattan? This ought to be renamed, “Travel for me but not for thee.”

Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.

How convenient of the Communis….er, Occupy Wall Street crowd to put this right after the previous demand in their manifesto. Since there won’t be any transportation or energy, the second coming of the Works Progress Administration will be even less useful than the first.

Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.

Again, how are they going to recharge their Leafs and iPads without any fucking electricity? Only a couple of them will be as lucky as the Krazy Kims they want to emulate, though eventually most of them will end up in the other well-lit places, namely the prison camps.

Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.

Translation – Kill The Man!

Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.

I note they’re not telling Castro and Krazy Kim to open up their borders.

Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.

Like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, where he always won “re-election” with 110% of the vote?

Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.

“You fucked up. You trusted us with your money.”

Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.

“And our children will be no better with debt.”

Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union

But, but, but I thought that equal-and-inflated wages for all meant that there would be no need for a union.

October 3, 2011

At least a 4-way dance for the GOP US Senate nomination

by @ 9:59. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

After the creation of an exploratory committee for former governor/HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and the creation of a campaign committee by former Congressman Mark Neumann scared off former state Senator Ted Kanavas, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) and state Senator Frank Lasee (R-DePere) have both formed exploratory committees. Assuming the exploratory committees all turn into campaign committees, it sets up a old-versus-“new” both in southeast Wisconsin and outstate.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Madison/DC investor Eric Hovde is looking at trying to duplicate Sen. Ron Johnson’s path. Considering both the Madison and real estate aspects (but mostly the Madison ones), I’d have to rank him closer to Terrence Wall than Johnson.

There is a reason why Thompson ally Brian Schimming is all-but-salivating over a crowded field – there is far less anti-Thompson sentiment outstate than there is anti-Neumann sentiment in southeast Wisconsin.

Monday Hot Read – Fran Tarkenton’s “What if the NFL Played by Teachers’ Rules?”

by @ 7:07. Filed under Education.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Fran Tarkenton fired one more touchdown over the heads of the teacher unionistas:

Imagine the National Football League in an alternate reality. Each player’s salary is based on how long he’s been in the league. It’s about tenure, not talent. The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he’s an All-Pro quarterback or the last man on the roster. For every year a player’s been in this NFL, he gets a bump in pay. The only difference between Tom Brady and the worst player in the league is a few years of step increases. And if a player makes it through his third season, he can never be cut from the roster until he chooses to retire, except in the most extreme cases of misconduct.

Let’s face the truth about this alternate reality: The on-field product would steadily decline. Why bother playing harder or better and risk getting hurt?

No matter how much money was poured into the league, it wouldn’t get better. In fact, in many ways the disincentive to play harder or to try to stand out would be even stronger with more money.

Of course, a few wild-eyed reformers might suggest the whole system was broken and needed revamping to reward better results, but the players union would refuse to budge and then demonize the reform advocates: “They hate football. They hate the players. They hate the fans.” The only thing that might get done would be building bigger, more expensive stadiums and installing more state-of-the-art technology. But that just wouldn’t help.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the NFL in this alternate reality is the real -life American public education system….

Not bad for an ex-Viking.

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