Monday, January 26, 2009

Meat & Bones

More on the Obama stimulus package: Tax cuts. This will be .... "unlike the $600 per worker lump-sum rebates issued last year, taxpayers would have less withheld from their paychecks." --- Truth is, it is just like the lump-sum Bush rebate, you will just get it in a dribble rather than a lump, approximately $10 per week for Joe Blow's paycheck. The idea is that people would spend more on goods and services immediately, rather than saving the tax cut or using it to reduce credit card debt. It is a "temporary" band-aid. And a headache for accounting offices across the country.

Some folks who are promised a benefit:

Low-income workers, the measure would make the child tax credit more generous by making more people eligible for refunds if they earn too little to pay income tax. The earned income tax credit for the working poor would be made more generous for larger families. --- Rewarding the poor for paying no taxes and having a lot of kids (maintaining the future of the plantation with voters). Many of those who become eligible for refunds will not see refunds as it stays with the State for they are deadbeat dads who owe child support, student loan defaulters, folks who owe the IRS $2000 in back taxes with $20,000 interest and penalties. Predatory payday loan lenders, title leasing, or cash leasing lenders will thank Obama because EIC is all that stands between them and the repo man or the D.A. with a bad check in his hand.

The package would extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless through the end of 2009, increase the weekly benefit by $25 and provide unemployment benefits to more part-time workers. --- Part-time is the new full-time, and you have $25 more to hang on by the skin of your teeth, at least until the end of 2009.

Food stamp benefits will go up ... states would get $77 billion in aid for education and $25 billion as a block grant with no strings attached. --- State agencies and their pockets thank you Mr. President. Lenders of student loans thank you. Private school vouchers thank you. And our local high school will thank you b/c now, maybe, they will get funds to remove the asbestos.

Senior citizens receiving Social Security would get a bonus payment of $300 under the Senate version of President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan. Many nursing homes administrators thank you, and my elderly neighbor thanks you because with $300 she can finish paying off her rent-to-own electric stove, and rent-to-own thanks you.

Other programs, such as $1 billion to combat bird flu, are said to likely attract ridicule from Republicans and budget hawks for doing little if anything to create jobs. --- I doubt this program will irk republicans. When Bush did the same thing the democrats called it "a thinly disguised gift for pharmaceutical giants." Democrats will now call it an investment that will lead to medical breakthroughs.

Republicans are pleased with provisions extending tax cuts for the purchase of new plants and equipment and allowing money-losing businesses to claim refunds on taxes paid up to five years ago. --- Ah ha, the meat on the bones. Plants/equipment tax cuts to bring manufacturing to America. But you'll have to explain to me how this will cure unfair trade practices, currency manipulation, and large-scale import dumping in the US market. But, a lot of recent "money-losing businesses" thank you!

These measures are not going to "stimulate" the economy or cure our economic ills or create sustainable living-wage jobs or end a recession. It will increase US debt and guarantee continued poverty for many. And we have yet to factor in the continued cost of 2 wars and Obama's planned "surge" into Afghanistan. (God why does this feel like business as usual.)

In the words of an old Bolshevik, and the apparent meme for the Obama administration, "These are Extraordinary Times" (or the collapse and takedown of the USA).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

1 Leg of a 3-Legged Stool

"The recovery package that we're passing is only going to be one leg in, at least, a three-legged stool," said Obama. "We are also starting to put in place the kinds of reform elements - oversight, transparency, accountability - that's going to be required in order for the American people to have confidence in what we're doing."

A few preliminary highlights from Obama's recovery package:

The NYT said the Obama administration plans to tighten the U.S. financial regulatory system, including stricter rules for hedge funds, credit rating agencies and mortgage brokers. The broad changes include increased oversight of the complex financial instruments that helped spawn the current economic crisis, the newspaper said on its website.

--- Tightening the regulatory system and adding extra oversight was supposedly done after the 1980s S&L crisis and various sundry corporate scandals. Maybe it will work this time. What's that you say? Insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

Oh look! Paul Volcker, one of Obama's chief economic advisers. I'll be damned Bubba. Paul Volcker, the same guy from the Reagan era and S&L crisis. Come on Toto, close your eyes, there's no place like change, there's no place like change.

Obama used his first weekly radio and Internet video address as president to press the case for quick passage of the economic recovery plan. Saying more people filed for unemployment this week than at any time in the past 26 years, Obama warned joblessness could hit double digits and the economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity if nothing was done. --- $1 trillion short of its full capacity - what the hell does that mean? It means you can expect your taxes to rise to cover 1 trillion in spending. Not more taxes on the rich, but for items that Joe Average spends on: Gasoline, diesel fuel, utilities, tobacco, alcohol, consumer taxes, your county, city, state, and property tax will rise. Expert advice now, as it was in the 1980s: Clip coupons, car pool, shop secondhand stores.

'If we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse,' he said. Obama hopes to sign an economic recovery plan into law within a month. --- He must do it quickly before the peasantry catch on to these scare tactics.

The White House posted a four-page report on its website,, on Saturday outlining the impact of the stimulus plan. Aides said the report began to put 'meat on the bones' of Obama's previously stated goals.

President Obama believes that if we do not act quickly, this recession could linger for years – and America could lose the competitive edge that has served as the foundation for our strength and standing in the world. That's why the President has put forth an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will jumpstart job creation and long-term growth.

--- Huh? We were told in the 1980s that because of overpaid workers and skyrocketing benefits the US had lost its "competitive edge" on the world stage - US companies had to seek cheap labor in order to compete. We've been jumpstarting job creation for the past 80 years. Obama says he will create millions of jobs that cannot be outsourced. He's counting on construction jobs, as presidents before him have - as if there aren't enough ghost malls across the country and gazebos, and bridges and roads to nowhere. This is a trillion dollar pork barrel.

Highlights of The Obama Plan:

* Doubling the production of alternative energy in the next three years. --- Alternative energy is approximately a little less than 1% of all energy use - so Obama wants to up that to about 2%. Okay, so what does that mean? It means, the government will increase taxes to raise money to cover investment and production of solar power, wind power, wave power, biomass power, and other alternative energy sources - none of which are priced competitively with gas and oil, therefore those few wealthy dabblers and electric car celebs who can afford alternative energy will be given tax credits and those "green" corporations will receive tax incentives and probably government subsidizing. And you my little paychecker to paychecker will help make up the difference by paying more tax on gas, oil, coal.

* Modernizing more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills. --- This means some of your higher tax will give millions to slum lords to improve their rental property with a little spray foam insulation and/or some new windows, which will be done by crony contractors. A few low-income homeowners may slip in and get some foam and windows. This type of home energy retrocrap went on under both Reagan and Clinton, usually in cahoots with HUD. I'm sure Chicago building contractors are drooling over this one. Modernizing 75% of federal buildings sounds like most of the money is going to the bosses offices. We've "modernized" federal buildings before, about every decade.

* Making the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years, all of America’s medical records are computerized, to improve care and cut costs. --- This means part of your higher taxes will be given to physicians and hospitals and clinics for new computers; supplied by crony contractors and overpriced. I live in Podunk and all the clinics/hospitals have medical records computerized. Does the government want all medical records linked into a national database, similar to the FBI's IAFIS system? Your care will not improve with Dr. Plentymoney's new computer, and maybe doc will cut costs by firing file clerk Wendy. The health care industry is a huge porker.

* Equipping tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries. --- Again, crony contractors and inflated material cost. Johnny Jetson can barely read but he will get a few minutes access every school day to a new Dell with Vista.

* Expanding broadband across America, so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world. --- This is one of my favorites. I'm a small business owner in a rural town and cannot compete with my counterparts in the world because they work for 75% less money. But, to be fair, a lot of tech companies are going to appreciate it, i.e. Verizon, SBC Communications, Time Warner, Comcast.

* Investing in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries. --- Ahh haa, viva Viagra and government pet rocks. Or more science, research, and tech to keep up the funding for folks like:

Lockheed Martin Corp
The Boeing Company
Northrop Grumman Corp
Raytheon Company
General Dynamics Corp
Bae Systems PLC
United Technologies Corp
L-3 Comm Holdings, Inc.
Saic, Inc.
Kbr, Inc.
McKesson Corporation
Computer Sciences Corp
Bechtel Group, Inc
Navistar Defense LLC
United States Government
Macandrews & Forbes
ITT Corporation
Bell Boeing Joint Project
General Electric Company
Humana Inc.
Los Alamos Natl Security

But remember folks, this bold new plan is swift, transparent, it's oversight, it's accountability, it's change, it's like no package any president has ever promised or tried before, and you can be confident ... it's ... it's ... it's a stool (double entendre).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Barryboarding a.k.a. Hope & Change

Here we go again. To waterboard or not to waterboard. Executive signing orders okay now. Meet the new boss ... same as ... you know the rest.

Obama signed an executive order which (you know, those things that progressives screamed about when Bush "ruled" by signing orders), supposedly revamps US detention and interrogation. However, Obama's new order applies only to employees or agents of the United States - meaning if buddies of the US want to do a little nail extraction and cattle prodding for us ... the buddy system, my little changelings, has been the US M.O. for decades anyway. Another word for it is "rendition" or as with everything else these days, "outsourcing." (Buddies are not "agents" of the US, they will do this of their own accord.)

According to the Army Field Manual, the bible of interrogation methods, waterboarding is not allowed. Waterboarding is also known as Bush's "harsh interrogation techniques." Yet, Obama's pick for DNI, Dennis Blair, dodged the question of whether waterboarding was torture or not, and he believes that possibly additional interrogation methods will be considered for use by trained CIA personnel. Does that mean if you're trained CIA personnel, it won't hurt as much? Wiggle wiggle.

The 3 detainees who underwent waterboarding probably considered it torture.

As for closing Gitmo, that will take a year - and a lot can happen in a year. Apparently the government has still not found a way to do anything in a timely manner (other than looting your tax dollars).

Dennis Blair is one of those "experienced" folks. He sits on the board of Tyco (scandal scarred), Iridium Satellite (extensive DoD client), and the stink tank Center For a New American Security, that sounds eerily close to Project for a New American Century (PNAC).

One supposedly potential problem for Blair's confirmation was "... he violated conflict-of-interest standards because he was involved with a study of a major military contract for the F-22 fighter jet while sitting on the board of the company that produced the aircraft. However, the inspector general found that Adm. Blair didn't seek to influence the outcome for the study." Dennis also headed a couple of Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) task forces. Chaaange chaaange chaaange. Can I have a fist bump folks?

Know what a "task force" is? More often than not it's a group of individuals (sometimes military but can be civilian) who are paid to skim over boring reports (or pay staffers to read thoroughly and give a synopsis) and sit in brief meetings to offer opinions and ineffective strategy; i.e. presidential task force to fight drug trafficking. Totally useless but on a resumé it gives the appearance one has actually done something.

A military "joint task" is such as Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), one of the Gitmo units overseeing "enemy combatants." Again, a group of individuals who may or may not be accomplishing anything other than providing sound bytes and platforms for pundits and pols who use it to keep your knickers in a knot - as if you have a say-so in government affairs.

But, I think Blair is a fine example of the military/industrial/government complex, eh? Don't be alarmed if you feel a tightening, it's just the same old Pentagon grip. Gimme another fist bump.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama's Gazebo & Hebro' Connection

Rabbi Capers Funnye, cousin to Michelle Obama. "Though a few acquaintances of Funnye and the Obamas said they knew of the connection, the news came as a surprise to most members of the Chicago Jewish community. Neither Funnye nor the Obamas have made a point of mentioning their family ties. In Funnye’s synagogue, however, the rabbi’s link with the Democratic presidential nominee is a matter of common knowledge.

“He really jumped on everyone’s radar after the 2004 convention,” Funnye said. “That’s when some people said, ‘Isn’t he related to you or something?’ I said, ‘Yeah, he’s married to my cousin, and she’s making him everything that he is.’”

Our Voices, with Funnye.

Our Voices, Part 2.

Obama earmarks: A $100,000 grant for a garden project in Englewood, Ill., which was initiated by campaign volunteer Kenny Smith. The “Englewood Botanical Garden” project was never built. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Today the garden site is a mess of weeds, chunks of concrete and garbage.” State records show that $65,000 of the grant money obtained by Obama went directly to Smith’s wife Karen, Judicial Watch said.

More earmarks: In July 2000, Obama helped secure a $100,000 grant for the Community of St. Sabina, the Catholic Church headed by the Rev. Michael Pfleger.

Also in 2000, Obama helped secure $75,000 for FORUM, a political activist group run by Yesse Yehudah. Five people working for FORUM donated $1,000 to Obama’s campaign after getting the grant, according to Judicial Watch. FORUM also contributed $5,000 to help pay Obama’s campaign debt after Obama lost his 2000 Democratic primary challenge to incumbent U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.

In 1999, Obama arranged for $50,000 for adult literacy and counseling services offered on Chicago's South Side by a group called Blue Gargoyle. A $25,000 grant for the group's youth services followed the next year. (Blue Gargoyle is Rabbi Funnye's baby.)

Chaaange change change hmmm unhuh ummmhuh change chaaaaange chaaange ..... (sing to the tune of Aretha's Chain of Fools). For 4 long years mmmmm I thought you were my man ....hmmm mmmm change change chaaaange ... then I found out .... mmmm unhuh mmm ... my papa said come on home ...

American Idle

One thing I can always count on are folks who tell me I must be a sorry, sad, bitter person; because I'm disdainful of politicians or pop icons, etc. etc. If I am not impressed with that person's favorite hero then I'm so negative. (Amazingly, these astute folks can ascertain what I'm all about by reading 1 post!)

If I do not support massive spending for social programs and bailouts - then I must be a libertarian, a republican, or worse, that I believe in nothing, or no-thing, and Americans love to believe in "things." Americans are very serious about their "things." Ask any marketing company or adman, or campaign manager.

If I do not favor third world icons, such as Fidel, Hugo, and Evo, then I must be a rightwinger. By the way, how's Hugo's social programs funded with war-for-oil profits doing? Hugo so wanted the price to reach $200/barrel. (Wait a minute, politically correct term is "developing world" not third world.)

Maybe I should join the Ron Paul back to gold standard flock. I could help pack and ship all that gold when domestic and foreign entities cash in their dollars. Or maybe I should support Cynthia McKinney, who's greatest claim to fame has been yelling racism when a D.C. rent-a-cop didn't recognize her in her new hairdo.

Oh oh oh I know, I can be a hardcore liberal, no wait, liberal has fallen out of favor and been replaced with "progressive." Okay, lets progress.

I've witnessed the last 2 generations of recipients of "progressive" social programs (free or almost free food, shelter, utilities, education, etc.) and although today 75% are thugs, hoochie mommas, dopers and small-time dealers, illiterate liars and thieves, unemployable, unmotivated, and still unmitigated sufferers on the plantation - maybe mo' money will help. Ahhh chaaa chaaa - that's progress for you.

Yessiree, more free stuff will help folks find pride and direction in their lives. Yes ma'am, redistribute the wealth and maybe those young guns roaming the street all hours of the day and night won't throw rocks through my window for fun or rob my daughter's house twice while she's at work. That's it, these criminal-minded folks just need more free stuff from a progressive guvmint.

But forget about those government created jobs - Big Daddy has been doing that for almost a century; besides those "jobs" have now become jobs "Americans won't do" because way too many Americans don't like to sweat, but our neighbors to the south will; open your arms. (By the way, Mexico would support and appreciate gold backed dollars.)

(Dear Gov: If you create jobs for Americans, most folks want fun jobs: Video game tester, rock star, athlete, movie star, model, couch potato, or any job that makes them the boss.)

It seems to me the most ardent supporters of "redistributing the wealth" are those folks who depend the most on government - although I fail to see how redistribution is going to lift their standard of living as it never has and never will - they are at the social level Big Daddy Government likes best: Dumb, doped, dependent, distracted, and preying on their own. On the other hand, if you are part of the social class positioned to disburse those redistribution dollars, then yes, you would gain access to more funds to funnel to you and yours. Don't blame me, that's just the way it works.

Many folks say we need new blood in D.C., and ta-da! Obama. But if I mention term limits, the same folks will claim we also need experienced men/women. I guess that's because folks like you and me, inexperienced but with integrity and common sense, couldn't possibly sit at the table with those elite, seasoned political men/women and make a deal.

Good gosh, selectable experienced folks like Caroline Kennedy or Hillary Clinton would just mop the floor with someone like me. Also, never mind that new blood Barry has completely surrounded himself with old political blood (all supremely capable of avoiding taxes and hiring illegal nannies).

Of course, sigh .... I was loved by many when I was bashing BushCo on a regular basis.

Wait, let me stick my finger in the wind and see which way I should blow this year. Blogging is just a popularity contest, right? And I'm the blog boss. ;)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Random Apathy

I seem to have no interest in politics these last few months and I place the blame (or credit) on the fact that nothing will change for the better. Absolutely nothing. I'm appalled, amazed, retching I tell ya, over the same tired-ass political speeches of promise and glory coming soon to a mailbox near you.

I had no interest in watching the inauguration or the discussions on the fashion sense of Michelle and the girls. I have no interest in whether or not Barry stumbled over the oath of office - it will be the most minor stumble he makes over the next 4 years. But I suppose we will have to focus on the little things as anything else will be called "racism" by those trusty white guardians and self-appointed black leaders of political correctness.

I was disgusted with JayZ or whatever that fool's name is, with his vulgar thug lyrics regarding Obama's inauguration. JZ does not represent any of the decent folks I know. He represents the worst and the dumbest - why don't those self-appointed white and black leaders (and Obama) tell these ugly con artists to pull up their pants and go home. That would be change.

Recently I read an article or two on Michelle's heritage - Obama spoke of his wife as having the blood of slaves and slaveholders running through her veins, the "quintessential" American woman. I studied her branch and it was not all that, I have a branch of my own much more interesting.

I found a branch of mine where one Frederick Metcalf registered to vote in 1867 in Lowndes, Alabama - his name written in between white men on the page. I found Fred as a private in the 138th US Colored Troops. I also have records where Fred and 3 of his brothers used the letter "X" as their middle initial - more than a century before Oliver Stone made it trendy for ballcaps and T-shirts.

I have found "cousins" across the country also researching and willing to share information, old records and letters, photos, and family lore.

I tracked Fred from Alabama to Virginia after the Civil War where he found his father, 80 y/o Samuel Douglass, and from there they went west to Mississippi where he found his wife and son who had been sold. They reunited and raised 10 more children together, still alive in the 1900 census in Tallahatchie, MS.

I learned they put their faith in the American system, regardless of what that system had previously done to them. I have their bank records where they put their pennies and nickels in the first "black bank", The Freedman's Saving & Trust (1865-1872) - only to lose what little they had when the bank went under (due to bad investments, original huh?).

I traced another familial branch that was neither slave or slaveholders; just dirt farmers who came to the colonies from Scotland and Ireland; they fought on the Union side during the war; some died in Andersonville, some took land grants in Oklahoma and are still there today.

After about 1870, most of these folks lived their entire lives in the county they were born in. They raised their families, served in wartime, supported political parties and ideas, were union members and suffragettes; went to church, sent their children to school, and believed in the American way. They survived and adjusted to national turmoil and depressions, lived through social atrocities and political assassinations. They usually died at home with 3 or 4 generations at their bedside.

Lucky for them they had no exposure to cinematic pundits; nor did they have to feed and fund thousands of pols and staffers at the trough.

They were not rich or famous or particularly beautiful - but they did seem to have something few Americans have today; they were grateful; maybe simply because they knew where they came from and where they were going - something folks today can't seem to figure out, unless they are told in a letter from a government agency, with sociopathic cultural icons lighting the way.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Big Switch

DailyTech reported earlier this month that the Obama transition team isn't too happy with the current state of the analog to digital TV (DTV) switch. The funds made available to provide $40 DTV conversion boxes to Americans ran out at the start of 2009 and many Americans would be left without TV signals once the DTV switch occurs next month.

In the latest saga concerning the DTV switch, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced legislation to delay the switch until June 12. Obama and his team fully support this move as they feel that more time is needed to provide additional funding for $40 DTV converter box coupons.

John Podesta, Co-chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, stated earlier this month that the DTV switch cannot possibly take place on February 17 as planned because, "The government's programs to assist consumers through the upheaval of the conversion are inadequately funded." Podesta added, "There is insufficient support for the problems consumers (particularly low income, rural and elderly Americans) will experience as a result of the analog signal cutoff."

"The federal government is getting $19 billion from selling the analog TV spectrum while people with analog TVs have to go out and spend their own money for a converter box," said Joel Kelsey, policy analyst for Consumers Union, in a statement. "Everyone affected by the digital switch should be able to get their $40 coupons. Congress needs to consider delaying the transition until these problems are fixed."

The government has spent virtually all of the $1.4 billion that was allocated for the program. One problem is that the $40 coupons expire after 90 days, and many coupon holders couldn't find converter boxes at first. When they did, the coupons had expired. Consumers have been placed on waiting lists for the coupons with no clear dates set for their availability.

-----This conversion does not effect cable TV users - so tell me how many folks these days are still using antennae?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Moldy Oldy

Charity Brown - You Beat Me to the Punch

Bettye Swan - Make Me Yours

Paula Estrada - Hello Stranger

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