How Daley beefed up his pension payouts: Former mayor took advantage of state's convoluted system
Excerpt: Two years into his reign as Chicago's longest-serving mayor, Richard M. Daley took advantage of the state's convoluted pension system to significantly increase his potential payout while saving $400,000 in contributions, a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation has found. Daley, a former state senator, made it happen by briefly rejoining the legislative pension plan in 1991. He stayed there just one month before returning to Chicago's municipal pension fund, but the switches made him eligible for benefits worth 85 percent of his mayoral salary — a better rate than all other city employees receive. (That Daley? The former Baron of Blagobamaville? He looks so honest. I can't believe this stuff goes on in Chicago. I'm shocked, shocked, I say. ~Bob.)
Worth Reading: Daley pension deal: You've got to be kidding by John Kass
Excerpt: The city of Chicago is near insolvency. City workers are bracing for pay and benefit cuts. And Rich Daley, the former mayor who had his behind kissed by the powerful in this town and by much of the media for two decades, has an inside deal that should make sane people sick to their stomachs: An eventual pension of more than $180,000 for life, according to a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation.
Hitler Discovers Obama Occupied His "Forward" Theme
Too funny. ~Bob.
Al Qaeda Magazine Calls for Firebomb Campaign in US
Excerpt: The men who launched al Qaeda's English-language magazine may have died in a U.S. missile strike last fall, but "Inspire" magazine lives on without them -- and continues to promote jihadi attacks on Western targets, offering detailed advice on how to start huge forest fires in America with timed explosives and how to build remote-controlled bombs.
Tweet from David Burge @iowahawkblog
Lizzie Warren hair of flax / Tried to cover up her tracks / Cherokee when she was young? / Paleface speak with lawyer tongue.
Obama 2006: Don’t you hate it when politicians use terrorism as a wedge issue in elections?
Excerpt: Stirring words from a guy who’s now running for reelection on the idea that Mitt Romney wouldn’t have had the balls to order a hit on Osama Bin Laden. And note the applause he gets for saying it. O will take heat for this clip because it showcases his hypocrisy but all he was doing at the time was playing along with a charade created by Democratic voters.
Obama says goal is not to eradicate Taliban
Excerpt: The U.S. goal in Afghanistan "is not to build a country in America’s image, or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban," President Obama told Americans Tuesday night in a prime-time address from Bagram Air Base in Kabul. Hours later, Taliban fighters — reportedly disguised in burqas — attacked a compound housing foreign contractors in Kabul, killing at least seven people. The Taliban said the attack was a response to Obama's surprise visit. (The Taliban’s goal, of course, is laid out in the Holy Qur’an and the Haditha, where Mohammad [Peace Be Upon Him} orders Muslims to fight the infidels—that’s us—until they convert to Islam, except subservient status as second-class dhimmi with no rights versus Muslims, or are slain. Your choice, of course. ~Bob.)
Hybrids and Hype. By Kathryn Shelton and Richard B. McKenzie
Excerpt: Car companies all suggest that hybrids will help stave off global warming, prevent New York City (and the rest of the country’s coastline) from flooding, and save the polar bears and the arctic ice shelves to boot. They assume that their hybrids’ EPA-advertised improvements in gas mileage (of more than of 10 percent, depending on model) over conventional combustion-engine-only counterparts will more or less be realized along with a reduction in CO2 emissions. Such will not be the case, for several good reasons. Indeed, hybrid purchases might very well contribute, albeit marginally, to the “browning” of the planet, especially when their production and purchases are subsidized through car manufacturer bailouts and “green” stimulus schemes, and tax credits for car buyers.
A Housing Market Without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Effect on Home Prices. By Nahid Kalbasi Anaraki, Ph.D.
Excerpt: Many believe that mortgage securitization contributed to the rise of riskier loans; others have focused on the principal– agent problem, in which financial institutions have been unable to screen the loan applicants appropriately, and this lax screening has led to moral hazard. Notwithstanding the roots of the crisis, financial institutions—such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA or Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC or Freddie Mac)—fueled an excessive expansion of credit in the housing sector, shifted the demand for real estate to the right, and caused home prices to overshoot their underlying market equilibriums. Although these government-sponsored entities (GSEs) were established with the primary goal of developing a secondary mortgage market to increase homeownership among low-income groups and underserved areas, they became involved in profiteering and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which left them far behind their primary goals.
Corporate Tax Madness
Excerpt: The United States is one of the few countries that taxes individuals and companies on their global income. Furthermore, it has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. To mitigate these conditions, companies have at least been allowed to defer taxes on income earned in other countries until it is brought back to the United States, says Richard Rahn, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. The Obama administration, however, would like to do away with this ability, further increasing the burden of America's corporate taxes. This demonstrates the administration's fundamental misunderstanding of corporate behavior and rational responses to taxes. Companies can charter themselves anywhere in the world, and will likely respond to unfriendly tax code changes by moving operations overseas to countries with comparable resources and more friendly tax climates. The United States' unstable fiscal situation and toxic political atmosphere means that Washington needs to offer businesses incentives, not penalties, for keeping operations domestic. Furthermore, the haphazard nature of taxation of businesses fails to recognize that businesses can choose the legal form under which they conduct business and do not necessarily have to charter themselves as corporations.
The high-tax-rate lobby fails to understand these fundamental principles, and therefore elects to treat American businesses as if they are a static good that can be exploited.
China Syndrome. By Walter Russell Mead
Excerpt: No good deed goes unpunished; this must be what US Ambassador to China Gary Locke must have been thinking as a firestorm of criticism erupted over his embassy’s handling of the Chen Guangcheng case. Under great pressure, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner arriving for high profile talks with China’s leadership, the embassy and colleagues in the State Department including Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs Kurt Campbell had negotiated a delicate deal with Chinese counterparts that Chen accepted.
Obama and the Primaries: More Here Than Meets the Eye? By Rhodes Cook
Excerpt: At first glance, the vote from the March Democratic presidential primary in Oklahoma looked like a misprint. The tally from Dewey County showed 86 votes for Randall Terry, 59 votes for Jim Rogers and 47 votes for Barack Obama. Terry is a lightly funded anti-abortion activist. Rogers is a frequent and largely unsuccessful candidate in the Sooner State. Obama is president of the United States. It would be nice to say that the Dewey County vote was an aberration. But it wasn’t. So far in this year’s Democratic primaries, Obama has lost 15 counties in Oklahoma, six counties in Alabama, and three parishes in Louisiana to a mixture of “Uncommitted” ballot lines and little-known opponents that basically serve as human “none of the above” options.
American Crossroads: Backward
New Crossroads Ad. ~Bob.
Obama Pushes False GM Success Story
Excerpt: The Obama camp can't stop clucking about how he saved GM and the car industry. But if the GM bailout is such a success story, why can't it pay back its debt to taxpayers? The president's new campaign video narrated by actor Tom Hanks claims GM has "repaid" its loans. But in a revelation by the special inspector general monitoring the TARP bailout program, GM and GMAC together still owe the biggest share of the remaining $119 billion TARP debt.
Russia Missile Defense: Russian Military Prepared To Make Pre-Emptive Strike On US Facilities
Excerpt: President Dmitry Medvedev said last year that Russia will retaliate militarily if it does not reach an agreement with the United States and NATO on the controversial missile defense system. Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov went even further Thursday. "A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens," Makarov said. (This is not good news. Remember the Russians have ships and aircraft already in or near Syrian ports that could provide air defense to Assad’s regime and/or Iran. Remember also the Russians (with the Chinese) have consistently supported the Iranians throughout the long “nuclear research” dispute. Doesn’t this sound like evidence of an alliance to you? It sure does to me. And, now an open threat of a warlike act? They must be very confident they have the upper hand. And Obama wants to reduce our nuclear stockpile to the size of France’s. Quick, somebody find Archduke Franz Ferdinand and get him into a safe place. And, keep him there. Ron P.)
What Brown's and Warren's Tax Returns Really Show
Excerpt: …[I]t seemed even more apt when I came across it again last weekend, on a day when much was being made of the revelations in the tax returns released by Republican Senator Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren. Neither candidate grew up wealthy, but their tax returns confirm what everyone already knows: Both have risen high and done very well. Yet rather than make the most of their success—and the intelligence, talent, and merit it implies—both preferred to play up the modesty of their past. (The author, Jeff Jacoby, is the token centrist (masquerading as a conservative) at the liberal Boston Globe, and I often find myself agreeing with him (though I won’t buy that paper). Here he makes some very uncomfortable points about both candidates. Ron P.)
Excerpt: If you ran a business with $25 billion in losses over the last five years, $20 billion in annual losses projected in the coming years, and 80 percent of its locations losing money, do you think that your company would stay afloat? Should it be rescued with a bailout from its customers? Or should it change its business model, eliminate expenses, and innovate to be competitive in the marketplace? These are the questions facing Congress as it considers what to do about the ever-struggling United States Postal Service (USPS).
Cabinets Gone Wild. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has pulled off the near impossible: At a time when the known gas and oil reserves of the United States on public lands have soared, he has cut back on federal leasing of them to just about 2 percent of available offshore lands and 6 percent of onshore. Meanwhile, huge new amounts of oil are now found on private lands despite, not because of, the Interior Department. When he was a U.S. senator, Salazar claimed that even $10-a-gallon gas would not change his mind about voting to increase offshore drilling. And although he controls the leases of the richest oil and gas reserves in the Western world, he just recently shrugged that no one knew whether gas would hit $9 a gallon. (A direct, hard-hitting, and short look at five Cabinet officers. Ron P.)
Obama Embraces Chicago-style Campaign Thuggery
Excerpt: It has been reported that the Obama campaign this year, as in 2008, has disabled or chosen not to use AVS in screening contributions made by credit card. That doesn't sound very important. But it's evidence of a modus operandi that strikes me as thuggish. AVS stands for Address Verification System. It's the software that checks whether the name of the cardholder matches his or her address.
Many Who Portray Themselves As Part Of The 99% Live Like The 1%
Excerpt: President Barack Obama and Wall Street occupiers, along with their allies in the mainstream media and on college campuses, have maintained an ongoing attack on high-income earners, people they call 1 percenters. Listening to their deceitful demagoguery, you would naturally think of them as 99 percenters, but you'd be dead-wrong.
Methodists Vote Against Ending Investments Tied to Israel
Excerpt: The United Methodist Church, the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination, voted against two proposals on Wednesday to divest from companies that provide equipment used by Israel to enforce its control in the occupied territories. (Lets see these Lefties divest companies trading with killer regimes in Syria, Iran, Saudi, North Korea, Egypt and Red China. –PM)
Contempt Process Begins Against Holder On Fast And Furious
Excerpt: Sharyl Attkisson at CBS News reports that Republicans on the House Oversight Committee will take the first formal step toward contempt proceedings against Attorney General Eric Holder over Operation Fast and Furious. The draft consists of a briefing paper and 48 pages that will be distributed to Democrats and Republicans.
Quote from Jim Geraghty in NRO’s Morning Jolt
Of course, if the media didn't have double standards, they wouldn't have any standards at all.
DEA apologizes for forgetting about shackled student for five days
Imagine being shackled and left in a small room to rot. For five days this was a reality for Daniel Chong, a 24-year-old University of California, San Diego engineering student detained and then forgotten about by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
While Bam ‘Spikes’--- Is the economy dipping again? By James Pethokoukis
Excerpt: While President Obama’s been busy on his globe-spanning “OBL: I Got Him!” victory tour, the fragile US recovery seems to have been crashing into the rocks. Wall Street economists spent yesterday taking a second and third look at their forecasts for tomorrow’s (now) much-dreaded April employment report — because job-tracker ADP said yesterday that companies hired a paltry 119,000 people last month. It was the smallest gain in seven months and way below the 177,000 that analysts were expecting.
Going after President Obama’s narcissism. By Thomas Grier
Excerpt: It is no secret that Republicans are worried about attacking President Obama personally….But a recent viral ad by Veterans for a Strong America points to an opening for the GOP. The hard-hitting ad reminds voters of something that has long plagued President Obama: the perception that he is a narcissist. In September of 2011, George Marlin, author of the book “Narcissist Nation: Reflections of a Blue-State Conservative,” claimed that “Obama uses the ‘I’ word more than all the presidents have used it collectively in the 200 and some-odd years of our nation.”
Government's answer to "Fast and Furious" records requests: Blank pages
the most transparent administration in history, he promised. ~Bob. Excerpt: For more than a year, CBS News has been investigating the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms' "Fast and Furious" operation and related cases that also employed the controversial tactic of "gunwalking." With Justice Department officials refusing all interview requests to date, CBS News requested numerous public documents through the Freedom of Information Act. So far, all of the requests that have been answered have been denied in part or in full.
2 Muslim men sue over Pa. inmate strip searches
Excerpt: Two Muslim men have sued the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections saying their beliefs were violated when they were strip searched at a western Pennsylvania prison in the presence of female staff and other inmates. … Dubose has since been paroled after serving time for rape and other charges. Small is serving a life sentence for murder at the State Correctional Institution-Graterford. (Becoming modesty in a rapist. How about the beliefs of the woman he raped? Or of the murder victim? ~Bob.)
The Foggiest War. By Clifford D. May
Excerpt: Would Clausewitz not be fascinated by the war dominating the 21st century, a conflict so murky we can’t even agree on its name? Is it the “War on Terrorism” or the “Long War” or the “War Against al-Qaeda” or just “Overseas Contingency Operations”?
Worth Reading: Rodney King, Obama and the Looting of America. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: Riots are the exclusive domain of those who view themselves as outside the law. Whether they are outside the law because they are above or below the law is a matter of perspective. The rioters may see themselves as the oppressed and below the law, while their victims tend to think of them as above the law, with the power to rob and kill, without paying any significant price for it. All that is true whether we are talking about Russian peasants killing Jews, Indonesians killing ethnic Chinese or African-Americans killing whites.
‘Boycott Best Buy’ Movement Takes Off. By Ryan Mauro
A former Marine who served in Beirut in 1982-1983 and Iraq in 2003 looks into the camera and declares, “On behalf of myself and my family, we will no longer conduct business at Best Buy.” He cuts his card in half. The Marine joined over 8,000 others who have signed a petition to boycott Best Buy over the company’s financial support for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas…. (rats. I can’t join. I was already boycotting them over a Blue-Screen-of-Death computer they sold us they couldn’t fix, that I finally junked. ~Bob.)
White House Revises Jewish Heritage Proclamation to Nix Nazi Sympathizer
Excerpt: Yesterday, under pressure from officials and patrons, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced its “The Steins Collect” exhibition will include a few sentences about Stein’s Nazi sympathies. Historians have noted that Stein was a supporter of the Vichy regime, the ADL added, and in 1938 she nominated Adolf Hitler as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Media Bias 101: A Tale of Two Wardrobes
Excerpt: In the hopes they can rescue President Obama from having to defend his atrocious record, it appears the media would like to make what Ann Romney buys with her own money a campaign issue. Their latest attempt is ‘pointing out’ (attacking her) a $990 shirt she wore with a bird on it. … Politico didn’t mention that the State of the Union dress cost $2400. The NY Times and MSNBC failed to mention the sneakers Michelle Obama wore to that food bank cost $540, and ABC didn’t mention anything about the cost of the “Naeem Khan” dress Michelle Obama wore that night. I can’t seem to find what that dress would go for. Shocker. Well, over at Nieman Marcus, the cheapest Naeem Khan dress I found was over $2300. But who knows? Maybe she had a coupon.
When progressives tell you Hitler was like us, show them this.
Who the hell is "Julia," and why am I paying for her whole life? By David Harsanyi
Excerpt: Let's, for the purposes of this post, set aside the misleading generalizations regarding policy in the ad (no one is innocent on that account, obviously). What we are left with is a celebration of a how a woman can live her entire life by leaning on government intervention, dependency and other people's money rather than her own initiative or hard work.
The Life of a Real Julia (My Wife). By Joel Pollak.
Excerpt: The Obama campaign has released a new gimmick, called "The Life of Julia," purporting to show how President Obama's policies would help a hypothetical woman throughout her life, and how Mitt Romney's would harm her. Well, here's the life of a real Julia--my wife: immigrant, sailor, scholar, mother. Take a look at how President Obama's policies harm one woman over her lifetime--and how Mitt Romney would change her story. (I met Julia Pollak during Joel’s 2010 Congressional Campaign. Brilliant, funny, lovely, very nice woman. From South Africa. Has great stories. One great grandfather was a Nazi in Germany, another was a Zulu chief! I was very impressed with her. ~Bob.)
Mich. cop shot 5 times tells off judge
Excerpt: A highly decorated police officer who was shot five times last year delivered a harsh message Tuesday to a Wayne Circuit judge who handed down what the officer called an "insulting" and "lenient" sentence to the convicted 25-year-old gunman. Detroit Police Officer Arthur Matthews, 40, was shot the morning of May 6, 2011, while off-duty during a robbery attempt at a Marathon gas station on Michigan Avenue and 11th Street. The shooter, Christopher Proctor, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, which each carry up to a life sentence. But Wayne Circuit Judge Ulysses Boykin on Tuesday sentenced Proctor to 14-25 years in prison.
Third NBC Employee Fired For Zimmerman ‘Mistake’ by John Nolte
Excerpt: In the media's ongoing crusade to get Barack Obama re-elected by any means necessary, no news outlet stands out quite like NBC. Yes, CNN, ABC, and any outlet using the profane term "white Hispanic" are as guilty as Al Sharpton of selling their editorial souls to gin up racial division for Obama in the crucial swing state of Florida, but under the appalling, un-American leadership of Steve Capus (pictured), NBC News has won the Gold for creating phony racial firestorms for three years running. The fallout from NBC's latest and greatest act of racial fraud is still happening: Lilia Luciano, a Miami-based NBC News correspondent, is no longer working for the network, TVNewser has learned.
Occupy May Day Report Card: Fail
Excerpt: Sorry, far leftists -- Occupy has fizzled. You’re going to have to come up with some new tricks if you want to remain an even remotely relevant force in the public discourse. You had the media on your side, you had academia on your side...gosh, you had the President of the United States of America on your side -- and you blew it.
Worth Reading: 2012: The Economic Choices: Europe and the U.S. alike need to face the music. By Conrad Black
Excerpt: The latest round of euro-jitters emphasizes the unimaginative contest between the advocates of austerity and the quantitative easers. But while the consequences of the application of alternative economic measures are often unpredictable, the wellsprings of economic woes are not usually hard to find. In the present problems, the same difficulties afflict Europe and the United States, though in different degrees. It is entirely inappropriate for the U.S. government, with its unspeakable extravagance and anemic and fragile recovery, to lecture Europe or anyone, except perhaps Zimbabwe and Argentina, about national economic management. (And very painful music it will be—but far worse later. ~Bob.)
Will News Reporting Die?
Excerpt: Conservatives correctly criticize the liberal media for often doing the opposite — protecting the power of the state at the expense of individual liberty. But anyone who wants America to remain free cannot cheer the demise of the press as an institution. We need more reporters — especially reporters who love liberty and want to defend it — not fewer.
Robert A. Hall