Today Michael Totten joins PJ Media’s stable of Xpress bloggers — easily tripling our Cool Factor.
Found yet another underreported news item, on yet another White House failure in dealing with private enterprise:
Automakers GM and Chrysler were pressured to quickly close hundreds of dealerships by the Treasury department without regard for the job losses that would result, according to a government watchdog report out Sunday.
Treasury was charged with helping the car companies out of bankruptcy through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Together they’ve received over $80 billion in government funding.
“Treasury made a series of decisions that may have substantially contributed to the accelerated shuttering of thousands of small businesses … potentially adding tens of thousands of workers to the already lengthy unemployment rolls,” said the report, released by the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), Neil Barofsky.
If only there were some kind of orderly, legal means for fixing broken corporations, rather than ham-fisted political wrangling.
Here’s a story I wish I hadn’t seen until a good while into a Five O’Clock Cocktail:
A media company executive over the weekend compared black Tea Party activists with Jewish guards in Nazi concentration camps, claiming the movement as a whole is racist and unpatriotic.
Luke Visconti, owner of DiversityInc., said on CNN that Tea Party leaders “are people leveraging racism” and that they have risen to power with an “anti-black Obama” message.
When the anchor noted that black members are active in the conservative movement, Visconti responded: “There were Jewish concentration guard camps. Weren’t there?”
But Visconti’s charm offensive (offensive charm?) didn’t end there. Read on:
“I think Tea Party people are unpatriotic, short-sighted and selfish. It’s a pattern here,” he said.
Visconti writes a column called “Ask the White Guy,” but I’d rather not. Does that make me racist?
But of course it does! There’s no end to the number of things than can make us racists, now that President Obama has brought us our post-racial America. I’m not sure exactly how that works, but I’m told it all the time on the television, so it must be true.
The Obama Administration now argues that the power of the Federal government is limited to… pretty much whatever it can get away with. An exaggeration? You make the call:
In a brief defending the [Obamacare] law, the Justice Department says the requirement for people to carry insurance or pay the penalty is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s power to impose taxes.
Congress can use its taxing power “even for purposes that would exceed its powers under other provisions” of the Constitution, the department said. For more than a century, it added, the Supreme Court has held that Congress can tax activities that it could not reach by using its power to regulate commerce.
“The Commerce Clause supplies sufficient authority for the shared-responsibility requirements in the new health reform law,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “To the extent that there is any question of additional authority — and we don’t believe there is — it would be available through the General Welfare Clause.”
So there you have it. There is no essential limit to what Congress may take from you or mandate of you, and very few limits on how the Executive Branch can go about exercising those powers.
UPDATE: A little further down in the story, the CBO says, “Because the penalty is a tax, no one can challenge it in court before paying it and seeking a refund.”
I wondered about that. The IRS has its own courts and its own judges paid for out of its own budget. And they’re the only courts in the land (?) where you’re presumed guilty until proven innocent.
Welcome to Brazil.
This week’s PJM Political is on the
air internet. The big show features Congressman Frank Wolf, Glenn Reynolds, radio host & author Mark Levin, Deroy Murdock, John McWhorter and Joe Hicks.
Such a deal!
PS If you still can’t get the podcast version through your iTunes subscription, we’re working on the problem.
Who in the White House do Democrats hate more than anyone else? Who in the White House do Republicans secretly love these days?
Would you believe it’s the same person?
And would you believe it’s Robert Gibbs? Read:
House Democrats spent much of Tuesday firing themselves up over Gibbs’ Sunday morning assertion that they could lose the House — and then Pelosi stepped to the podium at a nighttime caucus meeting in the basement of the Capitol to tell her members and all the president’s men how she really feels. Her aides already had gone through channels to express her displeasure to the White House, but Pelosi delivered the message directly to Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs Dan Turton, the top administration official present at the House Democrats’ meeting. “‘How could [Gibbs] know what is going on in our districts?’ Pelosi told her members.
Um… because he can read the polls, Nancy?
More seriously — but only barely — fewer things are more entertaining than the time-honored classic slapstick routine called the DC Circular Firing Squad. And think about that for a moment. The CFS gets the “Ready, aim, fire!” order when everything turns to shinola so quickly that a simple well-pointed finger doesn’t pack enough heat.
And yet… the Democrats control the White House and both sides of the Capitol Building, and by whopping margins. If they want laws, they can pass them. If they need money, they can borrow it. So what’s wrong? To put it bluntly, liberal policies have crashed head-first into reality.
You know, the reality that we can’t borrow our way out of a debt crisis, that we can’t spend our way out of deficits, that we can’t tax our way to full employment.
Would you be shocked to learn that the President’s recess-appointed health-care rationing czar has a gold-plated, untouchable and unrationed health plan for himself and his family? At this point, I’ve nearly lost my ability to be shocked, so maybe you have, too.
Anyway — Will Collier has the sickening details.
I’ll be on The Rick Moran Show alongside Dan Riehl at 8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific tonight. You can listen live at Blog Talk Radio.
The only bad thing about getting the invite to appear is having to cut way back on the cocktails. Rick’s program is the Bar Exam of radio shows, and you’d better show up prepared.
Here’s how the Oakland PD is dealing with necessary belt-tightening:
Oakland’s police chief is making some dire claims about what his force will and will not respond to if layoffs go as planned.
Chief Anthony Batts listed exactly 44 situations that his officers will no longer respond to and they include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism. He says if you live and Oakland and one of the above happens to you, you need to let police know on-line.
There’s a word for that kind of thing — blackmail.
And I believe that’s a crime, even in Oakland.
Time once again to take a look at where things stand in the Battle for Control of the House. Once again, the movement is almost all the to the right. (If you need a reminder of how we measure who’s winning and losing, click here.
Counting the seats in play, the Dems had 15 “Likely” wins, one of which (LA2) was a Republican seat. Plus 26 Leans Dem (with one GOP seat) for a gain of two. The Republicans had only ten Likely wins — two of which were currently held by Democrats — and 23 Leaners, of which all but three were currently held by Democrats. That was a gain of 22 for the GOP for a net gain of 20. There were 33 Toss Up seats, all Democrats save for IL10.
Back then, the Republicans needed a net gain of 40 to take control. Since then, the GOP won HI1 in a fluke race, mean a net gain of 39 is now needed to take back Nancy’s gavel.
As noted already HI1 moved left — the only leftward lurch in the last three months — from Toss Up to Leans Dem. But it also switched to Republican in that special election. Call it a wash.
NC2 moved from Likely Dem to Leans Dem. That’s the seat held by Bob “The Manhandler” Etheridge. Given that Etheridge is up against a candidate as smart and appealing as Renee Ellmers, it might not be long before this one moves rightwards into Toss Up or even Leans GOP.
Elsewhere, NC8 went from Leans Dem to Toss Up; OH16 from Toss Up to Leans GOP; SD-AL from Toss Up to Leans GOP.
The GOP is now likely to pick up 24 seats and lose 3, giving them a net gain of 21. That’s 200 seats total. There are currently 35 toss-up races, of which the Republicans need to win 18 to get to the magic majority number of 218.
Of the toss-up races, the Democrats are defending 34 seats, the Republicans defend only one — IL10.
Divide by two, and you’ll see that the Republicans need to win exactly half of the toss-ups to win the House. The bettors at Intrade give the GOP a 55% chance of doing just that, up ten points in 12 weeks.
And on the other side of Capitol Hill? Not so rosy.
The GOP is defending in almost twice as many races as the Democrats. And they need to net ten seats to take the majority, since Vice President Joe Biden would be the tiebreaker vote in a 50/50 Senate. Is it possible? Yeah, sure, if every single up-for-grabs race breaks right. Is it likely? Not even close.
Still, the House is where all spending and taxing bill originate, which would — it’s to be hoped — put a brake on a decade’s worth of deficit spending.
UPDATE: Down in TX23, incumbent Democrat Ciro Rodriguez just got caught on video yelling at a constituent during a town hall. That’s another one you might want to shift from Leans Dem to Toss Up.
On camera, Akers and I talked about what got him involved and his “lean thinking” approach to government. Off camera we got into all sorts of stuff, including Toyota’s manufacturing process and how to translate that into government programs. We need more like him in government. Many more.
The French 75
Named after the World War One artillery shell, it doesn’t pack quite that much punch. But it’s damn tasty and the closest thing to manly you can get when your wife wants to share a bottle of champagne.
2/3 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/3 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces premium gin
A bottle of champagne (nothing fancy)
Two champagne glasses
Shake the lemon juice, simple syrup and gin gently over ice. Pour equal portions into two champagne glasses, then top off with the bubbly.
Repeat until the champagne bottle is empty.
It’s wall-to-wall DOJ Racial Follies on the new PJM Political. But we still find time to play Five Questions for James Lileks, plus Allen Barton, Terry Jones of Investor’s Business Daily, and Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Center have all the answers on what to do with (really hot) Russian spies.
Well, maybe not all the answers. None those guys don’t seems to have nearly the dirty mind I have. And for that, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio is probably quite thankful.
The U.S. economy will lose steam as the year progresses but will not slide back into recession, even though unemployment is unlikely to fall significantly, according to a survey released on Saturday.
The Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey of private forecasters found analysts increasingly glum about the outlook. They now see the economy expanding just 3.1 percent in 2010, down from 3.3 percent in the June poll.
Like Bush before him, Obama has yet to learn to under-promise and over-deliver.
Although at this point, I’m not sure it’s even possible to under-promise.
The problem, of course, with Democrats losing elections is Republicans winning them.
I don’t often get excited about a new TV show, but Michael Symon’s Cook Like an Iron Chef looks like a real winner:
“It’s essentially a show for the people who’ve watched Food Network forever and are ready to learn something more advanced or more creative,” said Symon, who begins taping 13 episodes next month.
The chef, who owns Lola, Lolita, Bar Symon and the B Spot restaurants in Northeast Ohio as well as Roast in Detroit, says he will bring a professional chef’s sensibilities to his latest show. Rather than focus on basic techniques — “after 15 years of Food Network, we’re assuming that people know how to peel a clove of garlic,” he says — Symon sees his audience as serious foodies who are ready to take the next step as a home cook.
At Case Verde, this is going to be date-night viewing.