Patterico's Pontifications

2/20/2010

Union Rules Delay Stimulus Projects

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 10:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mickey Kaus explains how Davis-Bacon wage regulations are delaying Stimulus projects:

Unions vs. stimulation: The home “weatherization” jobs in the stimulus bill were subjected to Davis-Bacon wage regulations–a favorite of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department–under which federal Labor Department officials establish “prevailing wage” rates that must be paid. Why do unions like this system? Because the “prevailing wages” are determined in a way that guarantees they are usually more than the actual market wage, sometimes by large margins. All that finagling takes a certain amount of bureaucracy, however–and time. ABC’s Jonathan Karl:

“According to the GAO report, the Department of Labor spent most of last year trying to determine the prevailing wage is for weatherization work, a determination that had to be made for each of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States. [E.A.]

As a result, the Department of Energy apparently weatherized only 22,000 homes under the program. Another pre-existing program, which doesn’t have to comply with Davis-Bacon, appears to have weatherized about 100,000 homes, if my math is right.”

Kaus adds a post-script regarding one town that turned down Stimulus funds because Davis-Bacon would have meant a net loss for the city.

– DRJ

Ron Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll

Filed under: 2012 Election,Politics — DRJ @ 6:07 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Ron Paul won the CPAC Presidential straw poll with 31% of the vote and John Hinderaker at PowerLine is not amused:

“This is dismaying, to the extent one takes it seriously. Ron Paul is the crazy uncle in the Republican Party’s attic. He is not a principled libertarian like, say, Steve Forbes.”

And that’s the mild part.

– DRJ

Video: Breitbart v. Max Blumenthal at CPAC

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:41 pm

This clip is gold. While it’s enjoyable watching Breitbart simply unload on a cretin like Max Blumenthal, for my money the best stuff comes at the end, when Larry O’Connor catches Blumenthal in an outright falsehood about whether he called James O’Keefe a racist.

Cathartic unleashing on a turd: good. Evisceration of a turd with his own words: priceless.

It’s a more dramatic instance of O’Connor repeating the exact same coup de grace that he pulled off with Brad Friedman the other night, when he caught Friedman in an almost identical lie.

Larry O’Connor is my new favorite conservative. (Breitbart is an old favorite. The one-two punch here works beautifully.)

Via Hot Air. I really wish I were there this year. Maybe next year.

UPDATE: More from O’Connor here.

UPDATE x2: Blumenthal cries here.

Evan Bayh’s Motivations

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 1:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Examiner Columnist Larry Elder says Senator Evan Bayh isn’t seeking re-election because he might lose:

“Could it be that the “fed-up” senator feared losing re-election? Don’t ask. CBS didn’t. The possibility that Bayh faced a tough re-election wasn’t even hinted at. But imagine Bayh, who explored a 2008 presidential bid, running for re-election while justifying to skeptical Hoosiers his votes for “stimulus,” TARP, the auto bailouts and ObamaCare.

Here’s the big underreported story.

In a hypothetical race against undeclared candidate Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. — according to a recent Rasmussen poll of likely voters — Bayh was down 3 points. Against another possible opponent, former House Republican John Hostettler, he was only ahead by 3 points. Welcome to the new normal. No Democrat or squishy Republican is safe.

By a 2-1 margin, more people call themselves politically conservative than liberal. Self-identified “independents,” who outnumber both the Dems and the Republicans, have turned against Obama with a vengeance. This center-right country now realizes it elected a left-winger for president. And voters don’t like what they see or what he’s doing.”

Elder says stepping down may help Bayh’s future career prospects:

“In Bayh’s case, how embarrassing would it be to outspend your opponent … and lose? Makes it tough for donors to kick in for a presidential run. Why take the chance?

If he bows out now, with the traditional media helpfully painting him as a lock for re-election, Bayh can go around the country unshackled. He can make news on his terms — staying visible without having to show up somewhere, vote and create a record that requires defending. To keep up his profile and broaden his base, he could shoot for a gig on Fox. [NOTE by DRJ: Sounds familiar, doesn't it?] Fox News chief Roger Ailes has probably already sat him down for schnapps.

If Obama’s popularity continues to erode, Bayh won’t be quite as tethered to him. If he stays in the Senate and votes with Obama — as he has so far — how can he criticize? He becomes “part of the problem.” If he votes against Obama, he invites the wrath of his party’s liberal base (a redundancy). Retired, he can criticize and distance himself from unpopular policies.

For now, things look grim. Despite some positive signs, most people feel the economy remains in the tank. Home foreclosures figure to rise, with commercial real estate not far behind. Soon the Bush tax cuts expire, resulting in tax hikes during a weak economy. The spending and borrowing will eventually spark high inflation. The debt and deficit get bigger.

If Obama loses in 2012, Bayh becomes better-positioned for a presidential bid. He can say, “I would have done this or that differently.” So he pulled the rip cord. Got out on top. He can cool his heels, make some jack and get set for the 2016 campaign — tanned, rested and ready.”

Instead of Bayh-Bayh, maybe the headlines should have been Bayh in 2016 or even 2012.

– DRJ

GM Puts Your Tax Money to Work

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 1:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Colorado legislature is considering a law that would give local GM and Chrysler car dealers whose dealerships were terminated a right of first refusal if manufacturers try to award another franchise in the same area:

“Auto dealerships in Colorado and elsewhere are hitting back at manufacturers closing dealerships and a proposed state law may give them another weapon.

District 38 State Rep. Joe Rice, D-Littleton, is co-sponsoring legislation to require a right of first refusal to dealers who have had their business forcibly shut down by an automobile company if it decides to reopen a franchise in that market area.”

Recently, GM spent $60,000 on a Colorado ad buy to lobby against the proposed legislation:

“The radio and TV ads, which began running Thursday, claim the bill protects “poorly performing” dealers, preventing GM from opening new dealerships that could be more effective in increasing sales.

The ad features a “road closed” sign.

“We must keep driving forward to repay our government loans,” it says. “Don’t let special interests stick taxpayers in reverse.”

That line galled Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield.

“They must be spending tax dollars on Botox to say that with a straight face,” he said at a news conference.”

Both links have examples of profitable Colorado car dealers who were terminated, only to see their franchises resold to other local dealers — one just up the street.

– DRJ

Generalissimo Francisco Franco Is Still Dead . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:25 pm

And Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is still alive — three months past his expiration date:

SIX months after his release from a Scots jail, the Lockerbie bomber continues to live with his family in Libya.

When justice secretary Kenny MacAskill decided to free Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds on August 21 last year, he said Scotland’s worst-ever mass murderer had only three months to live.

And every day the Libyan agent defies his terminal prostate cancer only prolongs the agony of the SNP government.

Scottish Labour yesterday called Megrahi’s release “a grave error of judgment” and a “national embarrassment that will shame Scotland for generations”.

MacAskill, who took sole responsibility for the release, insists he made the right call.

Well done, MacAskill.

NYT: Conservative is Racist Because . . . Because We Say So

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:22 am

Kate Zernike of the New York Times writes: CPAC Speaker Bashes Obama, in Racial Tones:

How can conservatives win the youth vote that overwhelmingly went for Barack Obama in 2008? At the Conservative Political Action Conference, apparently, some are betting on using racial stereotypes.

What racial stereotypes?

In a panel appealing to conservatives under 30, Jason Mattera, author of a forthcoming book called “Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation,” likened the gathering to “our Woodstock.”

“Except that unlike the last gathering, our women are beautiful, we speak in complete sentences and our notion of freedom doesn’t consist of snorting cocaine,” he said, “which is certainly one thing that separates us from Barack Obama.”

After the laughing died down, he added, “Actually, on the cocaine front, I do believe many people in America viewed Barack as they do drugs: it was a substance to experiment with.”

Ah. So he was playing on the racial stereotype of the black man who snorted cocaine.

No, wait: Obama did snort cocaine.

So, then, what racial stereotypes?

He then mocked what he described, with a Chris Rock voice, as “diversity,” including, he said, college classes on “cyber feminism” and “what it means to be a feminist new black man.”

Oh, so he used a Chris Rock voice.

No, wait: he didn’t.

The video is here. Big Journalism challenges Zernike to state precisely where in the video Mattera supposedly uses a “Chris Rock voice.” I listened to all of the statements he made that she quoted. I didn’t hear a Chris Rock voice.

Andrew Breitbart says Kate Zernike is a despicable human being:

I don’t know that I can judge her entire character on the basis of one blog post. But it certainly was a despicable blog post.

Might I add that it smacked of racial overtones?

Yes, I might.


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