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 February, 2010

February 26, 2010

Last call for Midwest?

by @ 17:35. Filed under Business.

Arriving at the story only 4 weeks after Mark Belling, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is now reporting that Republic Airways, owners of both Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines, is planning on a “unified” brand for the two airlines sometime after Labor Day. I’ll miss the name, mostly because of what it used to stand for.

I still remember my first flight on what was Midwest Express at the time – a midday trip to Cleveland in 1994. The soft-brown 2×2 leather seats on the DC-9, the complimentary glass of champagne, and the very-fresh sandwich offered (since it was a short flight, the full meal wasn’t an option) were all very nice. I guess it was inevitable that the best care in the air would be no more, but I didn’t expect the flight attendant on the Kansas City-to-Milwaukee leg of my return trip from CPAC to say that it was a Frontier flight before correcting herself.

February 25, 2010

Open Thread Thursday – the PlaceboCare Dog-and-Pony Show Version

by @ 7:58. Filed under Open Thread Thursday.

With Teh Won doing his kabuki theater on PlaceboCare 4.0 (even heavier on the abortion and taxes than the Senate version), it’s time for some hopeful thinking on its future (presented by Alice in Chains)…


I’m sure I’ll have some backhanded Tweets on that “summit”. That said, the thread is yours.

February 24, 2010

Obama’s “solution” for SocSecurity – break another campaign promise

by @ 21:55. Filed under Social Security crater.

(H/T – Dad29)

Last week during his Henderson town hall meeting, Barack Obama floated the idea of getting rid of the cap on the FICA/SECA taxes that go toward Social Security as a way to make it solvent for a bit longer. As Dad29 notes, that would be a significant increase in the marginal tax rate (for those of you in Rio Linda or West Palm Beach, that’s the amount of tax paid on the last dollar made) for those making more than $106,800, which is a lot less than the $250,000 Obama promised would not see a single tax increase, including very-specifically a payroll tax increase. Specifically, it’s a 6.2-point increase for those with an employer (with said employer being dinged that same 6.2 percent), and a 12.4-point increase for the self-employed. Assuming the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire on schedule, that would make the effective self-employed (i.e. small-business) top federal tax bracket 54.9%, and the employee top federal tax bracket 47.25%.

Item number two, almost thrown away, is an admission that Social Security is now likely to exhaust its combined “Trust Funds” somewhere around 2030, a significant move up from last year’s projection of 2037 (with the OASI fund projected to be exhausted in 2039 as of last year and the DI fund exhausted by the end of this decade). That would match the “high-cost” case from last year’s Trustee Report.

As for Obama’s claim that eliminating the cap would make Social Security solvent long into the future, let’s take a quick look at that. Assuming that it has no effect on on the economy, removing the cap would increase the FICA/SECA tax take by roughly 21%. Some very-back-of-the-envelope number-crunching refreshes my memory of a semi-forgotten study that found that lifting the cap entirely would only delay the inevitable decline and collapse of Social Security by roughly 15 years. Ever-so-conveniently, that would move fund exhaustion barely beyond Obama’s life expectency.

February 23, 2010

Poll-a-copia, February WI Governor’s edition

by @ 17:32. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

The February Rasmussen look-in at the Wisconsin governor’s race holds good news for Scott Walker, and not-as-good news for Mark Neumann and Tom Barrett. The raw numbers:

  • Walker 49%, Barrett 40%, undecided 10%, other 1% (compared to 48% Walker/38% Barrett/12% undecided/1% other last month)
  • Neumann 44%, Barrett 42%, undecided 10%, other 4% (compared to 42% Neumann/38% Barrett/13% undecided/7% other last month)

The reason why I call it good news for Walker despite a narrowing of the lead by a percentage point is two-fold:

  • He is now, within the margin of rounding, only one percentage point of hitting a majority, with his margin over Barrett twice the margin of the 4.5-point error.
  • His Favorability Index (the very-favorable less the very-unfavorable, taken from Rasmussen’s Presidential Approval Index) went up from +14 (29% very favorable/15% very unfavorable) last month to +18 (32%/14%). Significantly, he is the only candidate whose very-unfavorable percentage dropped.

Neumann has a harder road given a more-significant narrowing of his lead over Barrett. However, not only does he still have said lead, his Favorability Index improved from -1 (10% very favorable/11% very unfavorable) last month to +4 (18%/14%).

Barrett shares that same +4 Favorability Index (22% very favorable/18% very unfavorable), an improvement from his +2 (19%/17%) last month. That is buoyed by an improvement in the views of both Gov. Jim Doyle (overall approval margin up from -26 to -20, Approval Index up from -31 to -24) and President Barack Obama (overall approval margin up from -8 to -5, Approval Index up from -20 to -11).

Talking to Four Year Olds – Dessert Edition

Regardless of the age, kids don’t understand the importance of healthy eating habits.  From early on, and yet today, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are “compartment” eaters.  The Things eat all of one item, say their vegetable, then the meat, then the starch.  If we sat their dessert on the table along with the rest of their meal, there is no doubt that they would eat that first.

The House Democrats had a plan to reform health care.  The Senate Democrats had a plan to reform health care.  While the plans varied on some details, we heard vociferous denials and objections from various Democrat leaders, including President Barack Obama, that there was no plan to “take over” health care.  They claimed time and again, that they just wanted to repair, fix or reduce the cost of it.

Today President Obama finally announced his plan for reforming health care.  Remember that neither the House or Senate plans were his and that every attempt to get him to explain the details of either of those plans was met with some variation of “he hasn’t released his plan.”

President Obama’s plan contains basically one item; price controls.  Pay no attention to anything else that he says about incorporating parts of the Senate, House or even Republican plans, they are moot.  With the simple act of controlling and dictating prices, President Obama will absorb national health care into the Federal government. 

By controlling the pricing structure, President Obama will force all of the other concessions that he wants:  Not including pre existing conditions; you won’t get that price increase.  Not reducing payments to physicians; you won’t get that price increase.  Using procedures that aren’t deemed acceptable; you won’t get that price increase.  Paying too much for people that have high cost health care; you won’t get the price increase etc. etc. etc.

When asked about the large loans provided to the auto manufacturers and the subsequent rules imposed on them by their Czar, President Obama claimed “I don’t want to run the auto companies.”  Saying that limiting premium increases is not controlling the insurance industry and in turn the medical industry, is just as disingenuous as his statement about the auto industry.

While we’ve taught our boys that they need to work the process, eat a good meal and they get dessert, President Obama has never learned this lesson.  Rather than eat a balanced meal, President Obama thinks his political life only exists to eat dessert.  I hope he has a good dental plan!

February 22, 2010

The FY2010 Social Security primary deficit now projected to be $34 billion

by @ 18:38. Filed under Social Security crater.

I could have also titled this Part 2 – I already reported that between February 2009 and January 2010 (or the first full 12 months of the Obama administration), Social Security posted a 12-month primary deficit in its combined OASDI “Trust Funds”. As part of a look into the numbers, I came across the Social Security appendix to the proposed FY2011 budget prepared by the White House Office of Budget and Management.

I draw your attention to the pair of tables titled “Status of Funds”, one found under the “Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund” section (pages 1214-1215 of the document) and the other found under the “Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund” section (page 1216).

Last month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the FY2010 Social Security primary deficit to be $28 billion, with the FY2011 primary deficit at $20 billion. The bad news is the OMB now predicts a primary deficit of $33.754 billion on total revenues of $793 billion, total outlays of $708.35 billion, and $118.404 billion of interest.

Given that the administration had planned on taking $21.028 billion from the “Trust Funds” to pay for the rest of government for FY2010, that represents a $54.782 billion unplanned addition to the deficit. At least they’re not counting on Social Security to run in the black for FY2011 – they project a $19.136 billion primary deficit in the combined funds, so the first $19 billion or so in deficits next year will be “accounted for”.

The ugly news is that the OASI “Trust Fund”, which has been running 12-month primary surpluses for all except one 12-month period (due to an unexplained crediting of payments to the DI fund in November 1994) since 1988, is expected to run a $2.934 billion deficit in FY2010 before (hopefully) recovering to a $12.152 billion primary surplus in FY2011. The DI fund began running 12-month primary deficits full-time in October 2005, and transitioned to an overall 12-month deficit in February 2009.

CPAC 2010 – Distant replay

by @ 8:53. Filed under CPAC.

First things first, I have to tip my hat to the host of CPAC, the American Conservative Union, and especially Lisa De Pasquale. They really outdid themselves with this year’s event, especially with sneaking former Vice President Dick Cheney in on Thursday.

I also have to tip my hat to Erick Erickson of RedState. That was simply the best Blog Row that I’ve been a part of – from access to the main hall (we had a balcony in the main hall plus the room behind it) to Internet access (always an issue at an event like this, but far less an issue this time).

If you’re looking for a comprehensive write-up, I must refer you to John Hawkins’ posts from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. I’m no good at lengthy write-ups, so my stream-of-consciousness thoughts from earlier in this category will pretty much have to suffice.

As Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said, CPAC is a place to recharge the conservative soul. A big part of that is renewing acquaintances, of which I renewed many. Since I don’t have as good a memory as John, I’m sure I’ll miss a few (feel free to slap me upside the head if I forgot) – Sean Hackbarth, Kevin Binversie (for those who complain that the Wisconsin boys are first, talk to the hand), the aforementioned John Hawkins, Ed Morrissey, E.M. Zanotti, Dr. Melissa Clouthier (Chris, you’ve got competition in the mandatory hugs department), Katie Favazza, Jimmie Bise, Bruce Carroll Anita MonCrief, Robert Stacy McCain, Obi’s Sister, Fausta Wertz, Aaron Marks, Ali Akbar, Tabitha Hale, Mary Katharine Ham, Erik Telford, Kerry Pickett, Ericka Anderson from the House Republican Conference (Sean’s counterpart on the other end of the Capitol), Skye, and Doug Welch (who is Pinky unless he shouts it out first; then he’s the Brain). Also, as John noted, Michelle Malkin, who is now the Boss Emeritus with the sale of Hot Air to Salem, made a special appearance at BlogBash over at FreedomWorks, where Ed won the first of his two blog-related awards.

CPAC is not just about renewing acquaintances, it’s about making new ones. Just some of the people I finally got to meet were Nice Deb, Juliette Ochieng (BTW, I do recommend her book, Tale of the Tigers), Smitty (the other half of The Other McCain blogging team), Jenny Erikson, DaTechGuy, Sammy Benoit, Caleb Howe, Ben Howe, Breeanne Howe, Tommy Christopher (yes, I know, he’s left of center), Cheryl Prater, Dahlhalla, Sarah Peppel, Moe Lane (and again, if I forgot, hit me with something).

The overarching theme of CPAC this year was reducing the size and scope of government. Both the bulk of the speakers and the non-Presidential portion of the straw poll reflected that. The loudest applause lines were when the speakers spoke about slaying the leviathan (shameless plug for a friend, buy Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform).

I suppose I have to deal with that straw poll, specifically Ron Paul’s winning of the Presidential portion of it. One of the PaulNut groups brought in a massive amount of people for the purposes of stuffing the box (which closed early Friday afternoon) and hear Paul speak late Friday afternoon. That was reflected in the decidedly-negative reaction from the crowd when the results were announced.

Revisions/extensions (7:13 pm 2/23/2010) – I knew I’d forget somebody, and Moe is the vengeful type (well, not really, but you’ll have to read his wrap-up to get the joke).

February 21, 2010

Ron Paul wins CPAC Straw Poll?

by @ 13:38. Filed under Miscellaneous.

View Image

And where was Steve Egg when all this went down?

My guess is he arranged a group outing to a Liza concert that skewed the vote.

Go to fullsize image

February 20, 2010

Obama’s True Colors

by @ 11:34. Filed under Miscellaneous.

For me it was never a close call.  From the first time I learned anything about then Senator Barack Obama, I was convinced that he was a left wing (as opposed to liberal) politician.  I read his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”  It is an Orwellian work, in which Obama touts his moderate credentials while providing a big spending, big government solution to every problem known to man.

Then the presidential campaign started.  We quickly learned about Obama’s participation in the Chicago Democratic machine, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers.  There is a good chance your mommy told you, “You will be judged by the company you keep.”  And you know what?  Looking at the company someone keeps is usually a pretty good indicator of who that person is.

We have recently learned that the President intends to push the stalled health care legislation through Congress using the “reconciliation” process, thereby avoiding the need to get 60 votes in the Senate. There is now only one reason to continue down this path: an undying commitment to government control of the largest single sector of the U.S. economy.

The people do not want this.  Every credible poll shows a 15% to 20% disapproval gap.  It is a budget buster.  There is no chance to get Republican support and claim bipartisanship.  Members of the President’s own party inside Congress don’t want this.  It seems almost every Democratic analyst that isn’t on the White House payroll thinks this is a bad idea.  Americans understand that the economy in general, and the unemployment rate in particular, is a much bigger priority.  And you can’t even argue that Obama is looking at the pure politics of the situation.  Forcing passage of the health care legislation will take a dreadful November outlook for Democrats and make it worse.

Forcing this through under these circumstances will once and for all demonstrate what many of us have known all along.  This president is hell bent on a statist system in America. How on earth did “the land of the free and the home of the brave” come to this? It is beyond disturbing.

CPAC semi-live blog – Day 3

by @ 7:49. Filed under CPAC.

I may have missed the start of Rick Santorum’s speech, but he’s still on as I start this. Like yesterday, I’ll be using CoverItLive to do this deal.

February 19, 2010

A Fairy Tale

by @ 9:57. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Once upon a time there was Global Warming.  Al Gore and others made up a bunch of data and went on evangelical tours to convince people that “The End Is Near!”  Increased hurricanes, increased tornadoes, melting glaciers, rising ocean levels, extinction of polar bears, destruction of food crops were just some of the horrific results that we were supposed to experience if we didn’t act immediately to move our economy back to one that reflected something from the 18th Century.  We were told this was urgent!  We were told we only had ten years to change our ways or go beyond the point of no return.

We didn’t change.

Some time passed, actually most of the ten year urgent zone, and something odd was noticed.  Hurricanes and tornadoes didn’t increase, their occurrence rates stayed flat or even reduced.  Polar bears didn’t disappear, they actually increased in numbers.  Worse of all, temperatures were no longer increasing, they were flat or (HORRORS!) in some cases, even decreasing.  How could any of this be?  None of this was supposed to happen with “Global Warming!”

The warming zealots condescendingly chided us for asking “what happened to the warming,” and explained that “Global warming was only part of the equation.”  As they fully understood the complexities climatic interactions, they told us that “warming was only a part of the equation.  Actually,” they continued, “cooling can also be part of the equation.  While our concern was originally focused on warming, the real issue is “Climate Change” which includes any variation in climate that we can use to fool you into believing our desire to control your actions!”

And so, the term “Climate Change” was born not as a definition of reality but as a result of sleight of hand where just like a magician, they didn’t want you to pay attention to the real issue and the real action of the trick.

For months there has been concern about what would/will happen if China, the largest holder and buyer of US treasuries, decided they were full and didn’t want to obtain any more.  This past week, the US held another treasury auction.  We found out at that auction that indeed, China is now full.  Not only did China not buy many treasury offerings, they became and net seller of treasuries in December of ’09.

If indeed China is full of treasuries or worse, if China is net selling treasuries, the financing of President Obama’s massive deficits will become a big challenge.  If US debt is not absorbed in the open market and no change is made in the debt required due to the huge spending budgets, the solutions become ugly.  Dramatically higher interest rates and force inflation are just two of the prettier ways of dealing with the situation.  Other options are far less attractive.

One would think that the Obama administration would be paying attention to the change in China’s attitude.  One would think that if Obama were really serious about his newly announced appreciation for fiscal conservatism, he would be using this event as an indicator of our need for change.  He would point at it and say “we’re at the end of our borrowing limits, we need to change now!”

One would think.

When asked what if anything, the change in China’s treasury appetite meant, Top White House adviser Lawrence Summers said:

The truth is that these numbers fluctuate and that there’s a wide range of holders of Treasury debt.

Like “Global Warming” before it, President Obama’s concern for “budget deficits” appear to be transforming underthe  inconvenient and untimely facts that face it.  As “Global Warming” became “Climate Change”, a “debt crisis” is now just “portfolio diversity” according to Larry Summers.

Yeah, right.  Now, let me tell you the one about the three bears!

Live from CPAC – Day 2

by @ 7:43. Filed under CPAC.

Sorry about the lack of actual blog coverage yesterday. To make up for that, I’m firing up Cover It Live to do Day 2 coverage.

Revisions/extensions (11:00 am 2/19/2010) – I can’t get the CiL console to respond. I’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way when interesting things happen.

R&E part 2 (11:21 am 2/19/2010) – CiL seems to be back, but I will be away from the keyboard for a bit.

February 18, 2010

Poll-a-copia, Senate edition

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

Rasmussen Reports expanded and extended upon their Russ Feingold-v-Tommy Thompson matchup last month, this time including the two announced Republican challengers. The quick-and-dirty numbers:

– Thompson 48%, Feingold 43% (up from a 47%/43% Thompson advantage last month)
– Feingold 47%, Terrence Wall 39%
– Feingold 47%, Dave Westlake 37%

As Rasmussen noted, incumbents who can’t get to 50%, especially against a couple of people little-better-known than John Doe, are in trouble. Of note, the “undecideds” in all three matchups are, to within the margin of rounding, equal to the margin between the major candidates.

Roll bloat – Fedoras, cannoli, and cameras

by @ 5:40. Filed under CPAC, The Blog.

One of the great things about CPAC is that one meets new great people. Things haven’t even officially started, and DaTechGuy crossed my path. (Un)fortunately, in addition to the fedoras and the cannoli, he brought his camera, and shockingly, it didn’t break with me on the wrong side of it.

February 17, 2010

Pre-CPAC Hot Read Part Deux – Jimmie Bise and Stacy McCain CPAC guide

by @ 10:11. Filed under CPAC.

Jimmie Bise, who like me attended his first CPAC last year, wrote a guide for rookies making their first appearance (bullet points here):

1) Dress for Success…and a Lot of Walking.
2) Prioritize.
3) Grabbing Grub:
4) Prepare for Brushes with Conservative Fame:
5) Love the Nightlife, But Not Too Much:
6) Remember Why You Came:

Meanwhile, Robert Stacy McCain has the plan for sneaking into the big events:

Yeah. Then there’s Plan B: Hang out with me in the hotel lobby bar, saunter down to the main ballroom right after the crowd reaches fire-code capacity, then I’ll tell my buddy the security guy that you’re a VIP and — presto! — you’re in like Flynn.

For some reason, Plan B works best when the alleged VIP is an extremely attractive woman. And here’s the thing: Even if Plan B doesn’t work, we just go back to the lobby bar, which is where all the real fun is, anyway.

That’s a Plan B I can get behind.

I wish I had that guide last year, but I lived, overspent, and learned. Catch you on the flip side.

Pre-CPAC Hot Read – Troglopundit looking for a million hits

by @ 9:33. Filed under Miscellaneous.

The most-famous caveman blogger to ever come out of Baraboo, Lance Burri, needs your help. The TrogloPundit is about to turn one, and he seems to be of the mind that he should be as popular as Robert Stacy McCain:

As many of you will have noticed, the past 355 days have not – repeat not – placed TrogloPundit in contention to join the fabled Million Hits in a Year club. That’s why I’m telling you about my anniversary a day short.

See, it’s not too late. All we need is…well…about six hundred and seventy-six thousand hits between now and 11:59 pm tomorrow. That’s it! Okay, a little more than that, I think. Make it six hundred and seventy-seven thousand hits, just to be safe. And that’ll make One Million Hits!

Go. Hit Trog again and again and again. Most of you haven’t seen him when he is REALLY desperate. I have. It’s not a pretty sight, completely unlike this shameless theft from Trog

Pot, Meet Kettle

by @ 5:10. Filed under Economy, Politics - National.

It’s not often that I fisk an entire article but this one was so blatant it deserved a response.

Frank: Partisanship is out of control in Congress

Even the title is laughable. Other than Nancy Pelosi, I can’t think of anyone in Congress who is as arrogant, belittling, as drunk on their own power or as partisan as Barney Frank!

At a book signing at the University of Massachusetts, Frank commented on Evan Bayh’s retirement announcement:

“I don’t understand how you make things better from the outside. I share the frustration, but I would have hoped he would have stayed around and voted to change the filibuster rule,” Frank said.

Really? You can’t think of one way that it would be better to be on the outside than on the inside? Other than the obvious point that Frank being out would definitely lower the partisanship, how about if you were a Representative who actually had a conscience, a Representative who did not think driving the country into an inescapable black hole of debt? What if you thought that the far left of your party had become so partisan that they had severed themselves from all sense of reality? What if you were tired of being counted amongst those who were responsible for the destruction of the United States? What if you thought that your party leadership were part of the problem? What if you actually paid attention to your constituents and heard the anger, frustration and concern? If you were that person, wouldn’t you think that going to your constituents with a clean slate and removing your personal desires from the equation might be a good thing?

But partisanship was a theme to which he returned again and again, saying he believes a clear shift began under Republican Newt Gingrich’s tenure as House speaker in the second half of the 1990s.

Before that, he said, Democrats and Republicans could disagree but remain cordial and work toward compromise. Now, though, the pressure to please the party’s base to win primary elections has spawned a Congress in which the sides are “very ideologically differentiated,” he said.

“Compromise” has been a word that means we continually slide to the left. On days that Republicans are called “ideologues,” we slide just a bit to the left. On days that Republicans cosponsor legislation with Democrats, we run wildly to the left. While there may be some legitimate argument that the United States has moved left socially, moving left fiscally means a complete disregard for basic economics.

We are now “very ideologically differentiated” because fiscally, we are at a dire point. The Left wants to abandon any fiscal discipline of any kind. They want to spend with the belief that examples of economic stagnation of Europe and the demise of the Soviet Union’s economy were a result of not having people who were enlightened enough to create money out of thin air as the current Left believes they can. The Right, whether they actually believe it or it is now fashionable, want to stop the country from committing financial Harri Kari. The reason that people like Frank see this as partisanship is that the Left is incapable of seeing any issue in the terms of black and white or right and wrong. The core of the Left ideology is that everybody’s opinion is as valid as the next person. There is no right or wrong, just opinions. This thinking leaves them claiming that all issues should be negotiated and compromised. I don’t think anyone with a correct brain would believe that what Hitler did to the Jews was able to be compromised about. What the Left is looking to do the US financially has the potential to have consequences every bit as horrific.

Frank goes on to blame the partisanship in the electorate on where people choose to get their information:

He believes that’s also evident in the electorate, in which the most ardent liberals and conservatives are getting their news from such different sources that they often seem to be discussing completely different topics.

“People are almost in a parallel universe. They are not getting a common set of facts and most of the people they talk to are those who agree with them,” Frank said.

Barney, Barney, Barney, facts, by their very definition are, well, facts. There can not be more than one set of facts in a situation. “Barney says” is not fact. While it may (highly unlikely) contain facts, it is not all fact.

If Barney wants to complain about us getting information from the people we know who we agree with, perhaps Barney should look at the legislative process. If Barney listened to his own words, he would be much more open to opposing health care reform, shrinking or disbanding FREDDIE and FANNIE and avoiding additional spending of any kind!

Barney Frank is the worst kind of hypocrite.  Not only does he not see his own failings, he actually views his failings as being the answer to the problem he sees as existing.

Much as been made of President Obama’s ego and his apparent lack of appreciation for reality.  President Obama is Aristotle to Frank’s Peter Pan when it comes to living in reality.  Who knows, with the election of Scott Brown, anything now seems possible!

February 16, 2010

But Who Are The Partisans?

by @ 5:20. Filed under Politics - National.

If not the biggest surprise in fact, certainly the Evan Bayh retirement announcement will likely go down as the biggest surprise in timing.  Bayh announced his retirement with just four days remaining until the the filing deadline for the primary.  As an aside, if you’d like to know how things go if no one files, see Steve’s post here.

In his statement, Senator Bayh pointed to the level of partisanship in Congress as the reason he would not seek another term:

After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so by serving in Congress has waned. For some time, I have had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should. There is too much partisanship and not enough progress — too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving. Even at a time of enormous challenge, the peoples’ business is not being done.

It would seem logical that Bayh is blaming Republicans for partisanship.  That’s what all the left pundits, well, those who haven’t eviscerated him for giving them only 4 days, will say.  But, consider some seemingly random bits of information.

A bit later in Bay’s statement, he specifically called out examples of partisanship:

Just last week, a major piece of legislation to create jobs — the public’s top priority — fell apart amid complaints from both the left and right.

By accounts from all political persuasions, it was Harry Reid who pulled this bill.

Also from his statement:

Two weeks ago, the Senate voted down a bipartisan commission to deal with one of the greatest threats facing our nation: our exploding deficits and debt. The measure would have passed, but seven members who had endorsed the idea instead voted “no” for short-term political reasons.

Some may say that the second statement is pointed at Republicans.  Those “somes” however, would be missing the fact that there were just as many Democrats as Republicans who voted against this commission, 23 of each to be exact.  As with so many other issues during Obama’s first year, the Democrats had more than enough votes to pass the legislation but couldn’t get the job done.  Perhaps more interesting, President Obama himself who now talks constantly about the need to cut the deficit, didn’t endorse this commission until the day before the vote.

As much as the two items in Bayh’s statement make me wonder what he is thinking, there are other items, acts of his during the past few days, that raise far more questions for me.

First, according to a couple of sources, Bayh told his staff of his decision last Friday.  All accounts have Bayh informing President Obama of his decision early Monday morning.  According to numerous reports, Bayh did not tell the Majority Leader, Harry Reid, until late Monday morning after the news had been leaked to the press. 

Why would Bayh not tell President Obama about his decision until Monday morning?  If he thought Obama had the right policies and just hadn’t been able to explain the situation to the American people, would Bayh have at least gotten his counsel before he made his decision. 

Perhaps even more puzzling is why Bayh would wait until after news had leaked to inform Harry Reid.  I would think that Reid would have a bunch of questions for Bayh in an attempt to figure out what Bayh’s announcment might mean on strategy for legislation that Reid may choose to pursue this year.

The second issue is the timing of Bayh’s announcement.  Bayh announced with so few days left prior to the primary that one of two things are happening.  Either, he or the State’s Democrat leaders have a hand picked person waiting with the prerequisite number of signatures to get on the ballot or, this process will bypass the the primaries and leave the decision of who will run to the Democrat leadership of the state.  In either event, it would appear that Bayh has orchestrated this to keep the far left organizations from having much influence on the choice of the candidate.

On the surface, it may appear that Bayh is pointing to Republican partisanship as the reason he is leaving the Senate, However, after looking at his statements, and examining his acts, I’m not so sure.  While there are likely some Republicans that Bayh may point to, it seems more likely that Bayh’s comments are pointed to the extreme left of his own party. 

It is the extreme left of his party that shut Republicans out of the stimulus bill.  It was the extreme left of his party that shut the Republicans out of health care reform.  The policies of the extreme left, led by Obama, Reid and Pelosi, have left us buried in debt with only the benevolence of the Chinese keeping us from bankruptcy.  Finally, it is the extremely partisan politics and policies of President Obama, representing the far left, that has turned vast numbers of Americans against the Democrats and may have earned Bayh a defeat even had he decided to stay.

If I were to quote Evan Bayh’s thoughts, they would be those of the immortal Pogo:

We have met the enemy and the enemy is us

Update 8:29 – If you think my theory was cracked, take a look at this little out take from CNN’s report on Bayh’s retirement:

“He hates the Senate, hates the left bloggers,” a friend and longtime adviser to Bayh said. “They are getting their wish, pure Democrats in the minority.”

OK, admittedly, getting support for my theories from  CNN may not exactly elevate my argument but you get your friends where you get your friends! 

February 15, 2010

Good-bye, Sen. Bayh

by @ 11:05. Filed under Politics - National.

(H/T – Ed Morrissey, who tipped me for finding something in Indiana law regarding what happens if there is no Dem primary)

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza reports that Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) will not seek re-election. This surprising move comes as the deadline for qualifying for ballot access in the May partisan primary approaches. First, a quick review of the ballot access qualifications and timeline (from pages 16-17 of the 2010 Indiana Candidate Guide):

  • A candidate for either the Democratic or Republican nomination for US Senate must get 4,500 signatures on a petition of nomination, with 500 coming from each of Indidana’s 9 Congressional districts.
  • The county voter registration office in every county where a petition was circulated must receive the petitions for certification no later than noon local time Tuesday, February 16.
  • The certified petitions must be filed with the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office in Indianapolis by noon Eastern Friday, February 19.

Now, you might say that leaves the Democrats in a lurch if nobody can get on the ballot. However, Indiana also contemplated a scenario where one of the major parties might not have anybody qualify for a partisan primary ballot (pages 9-10 of the Candidate Guide – all emphasis in the original):

If No Candidate Runs In a Major Party Primary

On occasion, no candidate will file for the Democratic or Republican Party nomination to an office before a primary election. If this occurs, the vacancy may not be filled before the primary. (IC 3-13-1-2)

Immediately following the primary election, the political party may begin the process of filling the ballot vacancy. However, no political party is ever required to fill a ballot vacancy, even if an individual wishes to run as a candidate for the vacant nomination.

For federal, statewide, and state legislative candidates, the state chairman of a political party calls a caucus of the precinct committeemen within the district…. (IC 3-13-1-6; 3-13-1-7; 3-13-1-8)

A person who wishes to be selected by the caucus to fill a ballot vacancy for a federal, statewide, state legislative office, judicial office, or the office of prosecuting attorney must file a CAN-31 form with both the caucus chairman and the Election Division….

The deadline for the Democratic or Republican Party to conduct a political party caucus to fill a vacancy existing on the general election ballot resulting from a vacancy on the primary election ballot is Wednesday June 30, 2010 (IC 3-13-1-2; IC 3-13-1-7).

As Ed noted in Update IV of his post, “…(T)hat process is almost certain to produce a liberal ideologue — the exact opposite of what Indiana Democrats need for the midterms.”

Monday Hot Read – Jon Ward’s “Paul Ryan explains his votes for TARP, bailouts and tax on AIG bonuses”

by @ 9:20. Tags:
Filed under Politics - National.

Last week, Matt Lewis hit Paul Ryan on a trio of “not exactly” fiscally/small-government conservative votes at the end of the previous and the start of the current Congress. Jon Ward asked Ryan directly about each of the three votes (quotes from Ryan, with interjections from me breaking up the blockquotes):

You know I don’t hear it here at home that much. You’ve got to remember Obama won my district. Dukakis and Gore won my district. Clinton won my district. So I don’t come from, you know, a red area. So I think it’s important to keep in mind where I come from. I don’t hear that here.

It may not exactly be “that much”, but I will verify that Ryan has heard it from the district (specifically me). I will point out that before Mark Neumann finally broke through in 1994 (after failing miserably in 1992 and narrowly losing in a special election in 1993) and before Ryan made it a “safe R” district, the district was a very-safe Democratic district represented for years by Les Aspen.

TARP. I’ll take one at a time. I believe we were on the cusp of a deflationary spiral which would have created a Depression. I think that’s probably pretty likely. If we would have allowed that to happen, I think we would have had a big government agenda sweeping through this country so fast that we wouldn’t have recovered from it. So in order to prevent a Depression and a complete evisceration of the free market system we have, I think it was necessary. It wasn’t a fun vote. You don’t get to choose the kind of votes you want. But I just think as far as the long term objectives that I have — which are restoring the principles of this country — I think it was necessary to prevent those principles from being really kind of wiped out for a generation.

I know a lot of people don’t like to hear it (especially those with short memories), but support for/opposition against TARP, at least in its originally-conceived form of being a very-temporary holding of real assets that could not be dumped on the open market without the open market crashing, was a far closer call than the 20/10 vision of history made it.

Auto. Really clear. The president’s chief of staff [Josh Bolten] made it extremely clear to me before the vote, which is either the auto companies get the money that was put in the Energy Department for them already — a bill that I voted against because I didn’t want to give them that money, which was only within the $25 billion, money that was already expended but not obligated — or the president was going to give them TARP, with no limit. That’s what they told me. That’s what the president’s chief of staff explained to me. I said, ‘Well, I don’t want them to get TARP. We want to keep TARP on a [inaudible]. We don’t want to expand it. So give them that Energy Department money that at least puts them out of TARP, and is limited.’ Well, where are we now? What I feared would happen did happen. The bill failed, and now they’ve got $87 billion from TARP, money we’re not going to get back. And now TARP, as a precedent established by the Bush administration, whereby the Obama administration now has turned this thing into its latest slush fund. And so I voted for that to prevent precisely what has happened, which I feared would happen.

It’s a question of semantics here. Does one see that particular vote (which died in the Senate) as a “limit the damage” attempt or an opportunity to stand in complete opposition? Do remember that, at the time, Ryan’s hometown was home to a GM truck assembly plant, and that Chrysler had an engine plant in the district.

Would “limiting” the cash available for that bailout to $25 billion stopped the government takeover of GM and Chrysler? I don’t know. However, it would have prevented the Treasury from providing the debtor-in-possesion financing that greased the nationalization skids.

The whole AIG thing, you know that was — you know I obviously regret that one. I was angry at the time because I was worried that all these companies were jumping into TARP thinking they could use TARP as a way to best their competitors, as a way to get cheaper credit, to get money at cheaper rates, at the expense of their smaller competitors. And so I was seeing TARP as sort of a new tool of crony capitalism, and I thought it’d be a good signal to send to the large banks who were jumping into this thing, who really didn’t need it: ‘Stay away from this, don’t get in bed with the government, even though it might in the short term give you a leg up on your competitors, you’ll be burned. That was what was running through my mind at the time, given the fact that we had about six hours notice on the vote, and our lawyers were telling us that it was not a bill of attainder. Now when a week went by, and our lawyers had a chance to read it more clearly and carefully, they reversed their opinion of the bill and said it was in fact a bill of attainder, which therefore should not have passed…. The other thing that bothered me was the Democrats were in a real political pinch, because Chris Dodd wrote in the exemption for those bonuses in the bill, and they were on the hook for it. And they were trying to get themselves off the hook and Republicans on the hook. And that bothered me too, was just the political cynicism behind it bothered me and I didn’t want to give the Democrats that as well. So those were the thoughts running through my mind when I had to make more or less the snap judgment on that bill.

The “don’t get in bed” portion of that was the off-the-record answer I alluded to last week (which, going back through the archives, was not exactly off-the-record). The fact that Ryan admitted he made a mistake is new, and refreshing.

February 14, 2010

Snow on the ground. Acting like a fool with all that snow on the ground.

by @ 21:15. Filed under Global "Warming".

(H/Ts for the retreat by the acolytes – Ed Morrissey, and H/T for the sea-level mismeasurement – JammieWearingFool)

There have been three four items of interest over the weekend regarding the implosion of the religion of Gorebal “Warming”:

That first item is significant because it blows up one of the “other” indicators the IPCC is using to justify their warming claims while admitting to the contamination problem in the third item – the amount of snow cover.

Also note that none of the sources are from American media. To be fair, USA Today noted the snowfall that I sourced directly from the NWS (though they excluded Hawaii because the search hadn’t been completed). The other two items both come from British media. Interesting, isn’t it?

Revisions/extensions (9:28 pm 2/14/2010) – And the hits just keep on coming.

Daytona 500 random thoughts

by @ 20:07. Filed under Sports.

– First things first, congratulations to Jamie McMurray for winning the longest Daytona “500” (or should it be Daytona 520?) in history. That was some serious driving to come back from bad-loose midrace. I wish Roush had been able to hang onto him (or get rid of David Ragan).

– We almost could call it the Roushketeer Invitational. In addition to McMurray winning it, we had Greg Biffle 3rd, Matt Kenseth 8th (more on him in a bit), Carl Edwards 9th, Jeff Burton 11th, Mark Martin 12th, Ragan 16th and Kurt Busch 22nd.

– While the 8th place finish for Kenseth was good considering up until the last restart he had been bascially mid-20s all day and half the night, it’s not exactly how I’d draw it up – “Let’s put the wrong shocks in the car, run wicked-loose all day, get a Darlington stripe, replace the shocks after the first red flag, chew up the splitter just before the second red flag, fix that after red flag #2, and then hang around in the back of the lead pack until the white flag, which won’t be until lap 207.”

– Speaking of all day and half the night, that was an epic pavement fail in turn 2. You just can’t have potholes appearing right where the right-side tires need to be on the bottom groove. I don’t care what Tony Stewart and Edwards say – it’s time to repave the track. Oh, and repaving just a portion just isn’t going to cut it. Trust me on this one.

February 13, 2010

Nationwide opener random thoughts

by @ 20:23. Filed under Sports.

– I agree with Jeff Gluck (late of Scene Daily, now at that something needs to be done with rained-out qualifying. There were inarguably a few good cars that missed out on the race because they were unfortunate enough to be way down on the qualifying draw.

At the very least, NASCAR could have the go-or-go-homers qualify and start behind the “guaranteed” drivers. It would be better if NASCAR would be open to moving qualifying from its scheduled time to get it in.

– Related to that, Jack Roush (likely with some cash from Paul Menard’s dad John) bought Menard’s way into the race after the new-for-2010 #98 team drew the 49th position in the qualifying order and initially got frozen out after the rainout. While higher-profile drivers buying a “field-filler’s” starting spot is nothing new in NASCAR, usually it involves the owner of the bought-out team getting the owners’ points earned by the replacement driver.

What makes the Menard/Roush purchase so unusual is that they paid 5 teams (the drawn-into-the-show-and-scheduled-to-be-start-and-parked #97 NEMCO Chevy of Jeff Fuller, plus the 4 teams between them and the 43rd spot) to withdraw from the event. The significance of that is that the #98 not only gets the 150 owners’ points instead of the 16 they would have picked up in the “normal” deal, the teams that pulled out, which includes a couple of teams that hoped to run the full schedule, don’t get either the points or the attempt credit. Of course, since only the start-and-park NEMCO team would have otherwise picked up cash, and Menard was easily strong enough to have made the field had there been qualifying, maybe it’s time for a poll.

– Speaking of Menard, he took out the first of two females in the race, Chrissy Wallace, just as the cars got all the way up to speed.

– The other female in the race, Danica Patrick, took a car from an organization (JR Motorsports) that is capable of putting a front-running car out there and ran mid-pack until she drove right into the first Big One. In short, just another rookie performance.

– Speaking of JR Motorsports, her car owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., was the biggest victim of the second Big One, taking a ride on the roof after he got turned on the backstretch.

– In the end, another spring Daytona race, another Tony Stewart win. Except for the snake-bit heartaches in the Daytona 500 and 5 fewer Cup trophies, it’s fair to say that Smoke is this generation’s Dale Earnhardt St.

February 12, 2010

Official – NRE to be in the CPAC Bloggers Lounge

by @ 7:58. Filed under CPAC.

I got the official and good news from Erick Erickson that I will be in the CPAC Bloggers Lounge presented by RedState.

For those of you who haven’t yet made it to CPAC, it is not too late to register. They’ll have Sen. Jim DeMint kick things off, Glenn Beck close things out, and a heap of fun in the middle (and only some of it during the official activities).

For those of you who are young, or at least young at heart, Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin put together XPAC. They’ll have WiFi, the Fox News Strategy Room, games, and all-day/all-night Thursday and Friday activities.

Poll-a-copia, right-of-center edition

by @ 7:39. Filed under Politics - National.

John Hawkins over at Right Wing News once again took the temperature of the right end of the blogosphere, this time in response to a rather kooky Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of “self-identified ‘Republicans'”. I honestly don’t remember (Shoebox:  I did it.  Usually I forget these things.  This one didn’t require a lot of thought and I’m good at that!)  whether it was Shoebox or I that provided the answers for the blog (it’s been that kind of week), but I’ll fire in my two-cents’ worth (my answers are bolded, and the “not sures” from the Kos poll, which are not tabulated in the RWN straw poll, are not copied here):

Would you favor or oppose giving illegal immigrants now living in the United States the right to live here legally if they pay a fine and learn English? (RWN – 24% favor/76% oppose, Kos – 26% favor/59% oppose)

That doesn’t go far enough. Illegal aliens also need to go back to their country of orgin, apply properly, and enter the line at the point they do so.  Shoebox:ditto

Do you believe Barack Obama is a racist who hates White people? (RWN – 29% yes/71% no, Kos – 31% yes/36% no)

Obama hates conservatives regardless of skin color.  Shoebox:  Ditto

Do you believe ACORN stole the 2008 election? (RWN – 20% yes/80% no, Kos – 21% yes/24% no)

Allow me to clarify. Without ACORN and affiliated groups, including the Soros-bought-and-paid for secretaries of state, Shoebox and Birdman would not be calling Al Franken “Senator”. However, Obama’s election was by beyond the margin of fraud.  Shoebox:  I voted no because this was based on the Presidential election.  I agree with Steve on the Franken mess.

Should openly gay men and women be allowed to serve in the military? (RWN – 53% yes/47% no, Kos – 26% yes/55% no)

The key word here is “openly”. For the record, I am also against co-ed military units where fraternization cannot reasonably be limited. What a military member does off-base, so long as it doesn’t violate the laws or involve intimate relations with another military member, does not matter.

Shoebox:  This was the hardest one for me.  I believe in equal employment opportunities regardless of sexual orientation, therefore I voted yes.  The “openly” for me is almost irrelevant because as best I know, it’s not a good thing to be caught “openly” having heterosexual sex while on duty.  I believe the real issue comes down to performance.  As long as we keep the ACLU out of it, I think the military has plenty of ways to deal with disruptive behavior of any kind.  I don’t think the government needs to micromanage this one.

Should same sex couples be allowed to marry? (RWN – 24% yes/76% no, Kos – 7% yes/77% no

For those who say that marriage is simply a religious function, explain why the former Soviet Union sanctioned marriages and specifically limited it to one man and one woman.

Shoebox:  ditto 

Should Barack Obama be impeached, or not? (RWN – 11% yes/88% no, Kos – 39% yes/32% no

Obama meets the Constitutional requirements of the office of President, was duly elected in accordance with the Constitution, and hasn’t done anything like lie to a grand jury or direct a coverup of a break-in.

Shoebox:  I’ll put one caveat on Steve’s point; we haven’t heard the testimony on the Blagojevich case yet!

Do you believe Barack Obama was born in the United States, or not? (RWN – 86% yes/14% no, Kos – 42% yes/36% no)

See above.  Shoebox:  distraction.  Move on!

Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist? (RWN – 89% yes/11% no, Kos 63% yes/21% no)

If one seizes companies like a socialist, one parcels out pieces of said seized companies to favored political interests, specifically unions, like a socialist, and one dictates the maximum level of compensation at companies not quite completely under the ownership of the government like a socialist, one is a socialist.

Shoebox:  I marked yes but I actually think he is a Marxist.

Do you believe your state should secede from the United States? (RWN – 6% yes/94% no, Kos – 23% yes/58% no)

We’re not at that point in the course of human events where it is necessary to dissolve those political bands…yet.

Shoebox:  Besides, at least while I’m living in MN, there’s no way we’d leave the losing side!

John also asks a question not asked by Kos/Research 2000 that has had (see below) Shoebox on one side, Birdman on the other, and me somewhere in limbo.

Do you think the Democrats are going to pass a health care bill? (26% yes/74% no)

Call me hopeful, but I don’t see how Nancy Pelosi has 217 (yes, the majority is 217 now that there are two vacancies) votes for the abortion-and-payoffs Senate version of PlaceboCare. I also don’t see the troika of Obama/Pelosi/Harry Reid accepting anything less than full socializatin of health care complete with full abortion-on-demand funding. If they couldn’t ram the full monty through in the 6 months they had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, despite having said full monty allegedly certified for “reconciliation”,….

Shoebox:  anything is possible but I think this is dead.  I think there are too many electoral bodies stacking up even for ideologues like Pelosi, Reid and Obama.

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