Best line from Bush's State of the Union Address

From Bush's speech last night:

Others have said that they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm. I'm pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders.

He also had some good lines on vouchers and a couple of other topics. But his long list of spending proposals is very bothersome. I wish that once and a while the notion that the government should get involved in funding research and everything else would be questioned.



Both Romney and McCain have it wrong

Who is right? Should government provide $100 billion to the auto industry as Romney proposes? Should they spend money retraining people to work in "green" industries as McCain proposes? Romney justifies his because of government mandates placed on the industry. What about opposing the government MPG regulations to begin with? Howard Kurtz discusses the quibbling between the Romney and McCain camps here:

Steve Schmidt, a top McCain strategist, attributed yesterday's loss to "Mitt Romney's pandering up in Michigan" by promising what Schmidt called a "$100-billion bailout of the auto industry...Mitt Romney should explain to the rest of the country how he's going to pay for it."

While Romney has proposed a five-year, $20-billion-a-year effort to revitalize the ailing auto industry, the Arizona senator has emphasized worker retraining and research into green technologies. Schmidt would not put a price tag on that but minimized the retraining plan as a consolidation of existing programs.

Here is a suggestion: why have the government pick which industries should be subsidized?

Labels: , ,


Transportation Security Administration might be off its rocker

The Transportation Security Administration is apparently about to unveil the new holster that will be used by the Flight Deck Officer (FDO) program (the armed pilots program). You really have to see the picture of this holster to believe it. I hope that all this is a joke, but I haven't had a chance to check it out with some pilots that I know. I suppose that this is better than the lock box that pilots have been having to use.

Labels: ,


The 10 highest paid public employees in Iowa work for the Public Universities

While university professors command some of the best salaries in state government, officials say paying those salaries is a good investment.

They argue that medical professors and other faculty members with six-figure salaries earn a premium because of their skills and experience.

In return, their research often brings in money from the federal government and other sources. . . . .

Well, I would feel more comfortable with this claim if these were private universities. Then I at least would be much more convinced that people had the right incentives deciding how much money to pay these guys. It is also interesting that the Federal government subsidies creates such distortions in professor salaries.



School Tries to Hide Crime by Banning 911 Calls, Student suffers brain damage from stroke because no one could call 911 for help

Sometimes trying to cover up crime numbers has some serious unintended consequences:

The typed words on the school memo are as direct as they are stunning: "No Deans are permitted to call 911 for any reason."
An assistant principal at Jamaica High School wrote the order just two weeks before ninth-grader Mariya Fatima suffered a stroke at the Queens school in April.
Employees waited more than an hour before calling 911, according to court records, costing Mariya crucial minutes of medical treatment, a delay that may have made her paralysis worse.
A month after Mariya collapsed, the same assistant principal sent out another memo, flip-flopping and telling the deans it was okay to call 911, but instructing them to downplay assaults.
The author of the memo and the school's principal have both since left Jamaica High School, but that's little comfort to Mariya's family.
"You take it for granted that your child is going to be safe, but if they don't want to call 911, no matter what the circumstances, your child is not protected," family lawyer Gary Carlton said.
Mariya, who lost use of her right hand and leg, has had to relearn how to speak and walk since the stroke.
She's receiving home instruction, but her reading skills have dropped to a fifth-grade level.
"I want to go back [to school]," she recently told the Daily News. "I feel lonely."
The memos, obtained by The News, shed light on the lengths some educators will go in order to improve crime statistics and avoid harsh penalties.

Labels: ,


New Op-ed: Does Government Weather Forecasting Endanger Lives?

. . . . With all the blame still going around about Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, one fact has missed getting much attention: private weather forecasting companies predicted the threat to New Orleans well before the National Weather Service. In fact, AccuWeather issued a forecast that the hurricane would hit New Orleans 12 hours earlier than the government service.

This is hardly something new. Private companies with a lot at stake would often rather pay for private forecasts than rely on the “free” forecasts from the government. Hugh Connett, the president of Bridgeline, a gas pipeline company in Louisiana, claims that the government’s hurricane forecasts are too imprecise. He says that private companies such as AccuWeather do it better, because they give more accurate predictions and provide hour-by-hour forecasts of a storm’s path. . . .

UPDATE: For those interested, links for the sources have been imbedded in the article. Simply click on the link above.

UPDATE 2: Please note that a correction was made in the piece. The portion of a sentence in the second paragraph stating that there were 5 hurricanes predicted to hit the US has been cut.

Labels: , ,


Dems on Earmarking

-- I thought that the Dems were upset about government no bid contracts (that is those under Bush even though the same ones were the same under Clinton).

Some companies stand to gain from Pelosi's earmarks. The California Democrat has won funding for six companies in a 2008 defense funding measure. One is a $4 million request to develop a ``novel viral biowarfare agent'' for Prosetta Corp., based in her San Francisco district. Tom Higgins, the company's chief executive officer, says he talked to the Speaker's staff directly rather than hiring a lobbyist and hasn't given money to her campaign. ``We're just a little company,'' he says.

Another of Pelosi's earmarks was $2.5 million to Bioquiddity, Inc., a San Francisco biotech company with nine employees, to continue developing drug-infusion pumps. Bioquiddity President Josh Kriesel, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the state legislature in 2002, has donated $6,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee since last September. The company received a total of $3.9 million in earmarks in the last two years. Kriesel declined to comment directly on the earmarks.

Pelosi has said some earmarks are ``worthy.'' And she said there is a distinction between those for public projects, which she sometimes touts with press releases, and special interest earmarks. . . . .



Hillary seeks to set up Public Service Academy

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton said Saturday that, if elected president, she will call on "a new generation of Americans to serve." . . .

Clinton, who has been elected to the U.S. Senate twice from New York, said she wants to create a public service academy designed to inspire young Americans to serve others. . . . .

Has she heard of public policy schools? The Harris School at the University of Chicago, the Kennedy School at Harvard, Wharton's Public Policy and Management Department, etc. What does she think universities in general do regarding social science or public policy studies? What is her concern over the content of the classes at these places? Obviously the vast majority of faculty are liberals, but does she think that the Federal government needs more direct control over what is taught in these schools? This seems like an attempt by Clinton to have even more control over what is taught to students who are planning on making a career of working in government.

Labels: , , ,


I guess that the Cuban Athletes Just Haven't Had a Chance to See Michael Moore's New Movie


John Fund on Pork Barrel Spending

This is from today's OpinionJournal.com's Political Diary:

House Republicans scored a surprising victory yesterday by forcing Democrats to back down from their plans to gut the few constraints on Congress's ability to slip earmarks, or "pork barrel" projects for individual members, into legislation.

Even some Democrats were stunned earlier this month when House Appropriations Chairman David Obey unilaterally decreed that pork projects would henceforth be "airdropped" into conference reports once appropriations bills pass the House and Senate. By circumventing rules designed to allow earmarks to be challenged on the House floor as bills come up, House Democrats were setting "a new standard for secrecy and subterfuge," complained Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, the chief earmark scourge of Capitol Hill. . . . .

Brendan Miniter adds this interesting insight:

Last night's Democratic retreat on earmarks was no doubt partly due to a letter Nancy Pelosi wrote a year ago to then-newly elected GOP Majority Leader John Boehner urging serious spending reform, including an "end to secret earmarks." Mr. Boehner followed her advice and helped rewrite House rules to make it easier to spotlight and remove earmarks that Members were using to direct secret pork-barrel spending back to their districts.

That letter came back to haunt Ms. Pelosi as her new Democratic House gutted these reforms and was getting ready this week to pass eleven spending bills to fund the government in the forthcoming fiscal year -- and, oh, also slip an estimated 32,000 earmarks into law. Under a new rule enacted last month, Appropriations Chairman David Obey would have been able to certify a particular bill "earmark free" even if it's full of pork-barrel special projects. Another rule barred members from objecting to a particular earmark on the House floor if it's part of a larger bill that itself contains a list of its earmarks. This applied even if the list is inaccurate and even if the earmark in question is not on the list. (The same rule recently enabled Rep. John Murtha, chairman of a defense appropriations subcommittee, to quash a Republican attempt to stop spending on an unneeded "drug intelligence" center in his district.) . . . .