Patterico's Pontifications

1/28/2009

Where Your Hard-Earned Money Will Be Going

Filed under: Economics,General,Obama — Patterico @ 10:13 pm

Michelle lists the depressing details.

  • $1.5 billion (not a typo) for a “carbon-capturing contest”
  • $400 million for HIV and chlamydia testing
  • $75 million for smoking cessation

Well, Obama has been having trouble kicking the habit . . .

The Rule That Proves the Exception

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:06 pm

First, Obama said he would employ no lobbyists.

Then, he employed one.

Then, it became two.

Do I hear twelve?

Hope You Didn’t Overpay Your California Taxes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:00 pm

If you did, you’ll be getting an IOU.

If we were mobsters, we wouldn’t stand for that. We’d break the deadbeat’s legs.

And yet, if we were to do that to legislators, we would be the ones to go to jail. Ironic, isn’t it? Well, that’s democracy for you.

Sue the Geese

Filed under: Scum — Patterico @ 9:45 pm

A plane hits a flock of geese and loses power. A quick-thinking, cool-under-pressure pilot performs a miraculous landing on the Hudson river.

It’s a heartwarming story that reaffirms your faith in the human spirit.

That is, until you read about the douchebag who is threatening a lawsuit.

L.A. Times: Republicans Are Complaining Complainers Who Complain

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Economics,General,Obama — Patterico @ 7:13 pm

The stimulus bill was passed in the House without a single Republican vote, and kudos to House Republicans for that. Predictably, the Los Angeles Times portrays Republicans as complainers:

The House’s Democratic leaders pushed the plan to the floor confident about holding the votes needed for passage without the support of Republicans complaining that the plan includes too much new government spending and not enough tax relief. . . . House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R- Ohio) led other GOP lawmakers in voicing the party’s complaint about the measure . . . Republicans complain that Congress also rushed to action on a $700-billion bailout for the nation’s financial institutions in December

Nobody likes a “complainer.” Ya think the editors have that in mind? (By the way, who wants to chip in to buy reporter Mark Silva a thesaurus? Yeah, me neither. Rather, let’s beat him with a cluebat.)

A typical passage contains quotes from a Democrat Congressman comparing Republicans to Herbert Hoover:

“I am tempted to ask . . . what year is this?” House Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) asked during debate over one rebuffed Republican amendment. “I didn’t think it was 1933. I thought it was 2009, or something close to it. . . . They don’t look like Herbert Hoover, but there are an awful lot of people in this chamber who sound like Herbert Hoover. . . .

“This is not Herbert Hoover time,” Obey said. “The time for action is now.”

Reading the article, you’d assume that the GOP had no positive measure to offer as an alternative. There is a hint, 14 paragraphs into a 17-paragraph article:

“Our bill will create more at a substantially lower cost,” Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said.

Huh? The Republicans had a bill of their own? That’s the only suggestion of that fact in the entire article.

If you want to actually read it about the Republicans’ alternatives, you’ll have to go to the New York Times, which tells us:

The House voted down several Republican proposals, including a substitute package made up entirely of tax cuts for individuals and businesses. Republicans did not say how much their package would cost, although Mr. Boehner said it would be far less than the Democratic plan. That tax-cut-only approach was defeated on a mostly party-line vote of 266 to 170; two Democrats joined all but nine moderate Republicans in voting for the Republican plan.

By another near-party-line vote, 270 to 159, the House rejected a Republican plan to delete a number of spending programs, including several representing top campaign promises of Mr. Obama, and to add instead $36 billion for highway construction, more than doubling the $30 billion in the bill, and $24 billion for Army Corps of Engineers projects.

Hey, New York Times? In addition to offering less costly alternatives, Republicans also complained, and in addition, they complained. You might want to mention that.

But the L.A. Times is content to paint Republicans as mere obstructionists. The L.A. Times article concludes much as it began, with quotations of Democrat wonderment at how Republicans could stand in the way of such a much-needed package:

“The late Jack Kennedy made a remark that sometimes, just sometimes, your party asks too much of you,” Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) told Republicans on the House floor. “Why they would ask you to vote against this, I will never know.”

Ooh, ooh! Call on me! I know!

This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.

We’ve looked it over, and even we can’t quite believe it. There’s $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There’s even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.

In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make “dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy.” Well, you be the judge. Some $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects. There’s another $40 billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities.

Add the roughly $20 billion for business tax cuts, and by our estimate only $90 billion out of $825 billion, or about 12 cents of every $1, is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus. And even many of these projects aren’t likely to help the economy immediately. As Peter Orszag, the President’s new budget director, told Congress a year ago, “even those [public works] that are ‘on the shelf’ generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy.”

That from the Wall Street Journal, by the way. Complainers!

Caption Contest

Filed under: General,Obama — Patterico @ 6:37 pm

The photo comes courtesy of the New York Daily News, which reports:

It looks like President Obama hasn’t gotten acquainted to his White House surroundings. On the way back to the Oval Office Tuesday, the President approached a paned window, instead of the actual door — located a few feet to his right.

Doors didn’t open automatically for Obama’s predecessor either. While making a hasty exit from a 2005 press conference in Beijing, former President George W. Bush tugged on the handles of a door, only to find it locked.

Bush laughed off the blunder, but the pictures still live on as part of Bush’s lame duck legacy. However, there was little note taken of Obama’s rookie mistake.

Weird how that works.

Here’s the true caption:


Obama approaches a window of the Oval Office, instead of the door, shown to the right.

Surely you can do better than that.

Contrast: How the L.A. Times Portrays Republican Opposition Now, Vs. How They Portrayed Democrat Opposition in 2001

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Obama — Patterico @ 7:19 am

If you think Republicans and Democrats are portrayed the same at the L.A. Times, read on.

It’s “Obama is bipartisan and Republicans are jerks!” week at the Los Angeles Times.

On Monday we were told that Republicans signaled they “would not be daunted by President Obama’s soaring approval ratings” — and McCain was chided for his “sharp[] criticism” even though he was the “recipient of aggressive outreach as part of the new president’s efforts to forge an image of bipartisanship.”

Yesterday we were told that “Republicans have continued to snipe at [Obama’s] signature initiative.”

Today’s Los Angeles Times contains another song of praise for the very, very bipartisan Obama, and more loaded language portraying Republicans as intransigent jackasses:

Trying to build support for his $825-billion economic stimulus plan before a crucial vote, President Obama traveled to Capitol Hill on Tuesday but continued to meet a stubborn wall of complaints from Republicans that the cost of the package was unacceptable.

So to sum up: Despite Obama’s reaching across the aisle, Republicans “aren’t daunted by [his] soaring approval ratings.” Instead, Republicans are continuing to “snipe” with their “sharp[] criticism” and “stubborn wall of complaints.”

Just as a reminder: in 2001, when newly elected President Bush was pushing a tax cut plan, the Democrats in opposition were portrayed a little differently:

February 9, 2001:

Democratic leaders, now on the defensive, argued that Bush’s plan is too large and too heavily skewed toward the wealthy.

They fear that projections of the federal budget surplus–$5.6 trillion over 10 years–could be wildly overestimated and that the tax plan’s fiscal drain could be underestimated. If so, the tax cut might leave none of the surplus to shore up Medicare and Social Security and pay down the national debt.

February 6, 2001:

Among Democrats sensing the growing sentiment for a tax cut, opposition is built around concerns that the federal budget cannot handle increased Pentagon spending, growth in Medicare and funding of domestic policy initiatives that Bush favors while leaving a “rainy day” fund to protect the balanced budget against an economic downturn.

February 4, 2001:

Democrats served notice, however, that they would support tax cutting, but only so far.

How courageous! And how different from Republican sniping and that stubborn wall of complaints from the GOP.

But just remember: all this newspaper is doing is reporting the news, straight down the middle. Nothing more, nothing less.

Inoperative: Obama’s Pledge: “When I Am President, [Lobbyists] Won’t Find a Job in My White House”

Filed under: General,Obama — Patterico @ 6:56 am

November 3, 2007:

One year from now, we have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race – and I’ve won. I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House.

— Barack Obama

January 27, 2009:

Newly installed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner issued new rules Tuesday restricting contacts with lobbyists – and then hired one to be his top aide.

Mark Patterson, a former advocate for Goldman Sachs, will serve as chief of staff to Geithner as the Treasury Department revamps the Wall Street bailout program that sent an infusion of cash to his former employer.

Patterson’s appointment marks the second time in President Barack Obama’s first week in office that the administration has had to explain how it’s complying with its own ethics rules as it hires a bevy of Washington insiders for administration jobs.

Uh, they have to explain only if you force them to.

To their credit, a Politico reporter did try to ask about the first violation of this pledge, during the lovefest that ensued when Obama visited the press room several days ago. The reporter was pointedly shot down by an irritated Obama.

We’ll see if the press stays on him. Pardon me if I have my doubts.

What is the defense, anyway? That the former lobbyist won’t be working “in” the White House?

Or maybe’s it’s just a calculation by Obama that he can say: to hell with my campaign promises when they’re inconvenient — and the press won’t say boo.


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