Patterico's Pontifications

3/31/2010

Obamanomics is a Disaster

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 10:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

If this Doug Ross post came with labels, they would be Cloward-Pivens, Deficit, and Disaster:

“The Cloward-Piven tactics of the Obama administration have borne fruit.
***
Everything Obama’s doing is obvious: implementing a value-added tax, throwing sludge into the economy, transforming the society, rejecting the limits in the Constitution, cramming liberal activists throughout the judiciary, massively expanding the federal bureaucracy, and moving rule-making power to unelected bureaucrats.

It’s not change, it’s not hope, it’s a disaster.”

***** What Disaster looks like: *****

Deficit

– DRJ

Don’t Let Guam Tip Over

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 8:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Democratic Congressman Hank Johnson, who succeeded Cynthia McKinney in office, is worried Guam “may tip over and capsize:”

The second best part is the Naval officer’s measured response that “we don’t anticipate that.”

Allahpundit says this about Congressman Johnson:

“Via Weasel Zippers, a clip that’s destined to be viral by tomorrow morning. Even so, go easy on him. Yes, he was an Iraq defeatist, and granted, he demagogued Joe Wilson’s outburst in the scummiest way imaginable, but he’s also a guy with a serious illness that affects his mind (“he regularly gets lost in thought in the middle of a discussion”). Although if that’s what’s going on here, a polite question for Madam Speaker arises: What’s he doing at these hearings instead of resting?”

I also won’t belabor the point if Rep. Johnson is a sick man, but it’s entirely appropriate to ask Democratic leaders why they don’t do something. If they don’t, then clearly Democrats view a reliable vote as worth more than mental competence in America’s federal officeholders.

In other words, this is the attitude that Democrats expect from Americans:

Thank you, sir, may I have another?

– DRJ

More “Unexpected” Economic News

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 7:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

“Unexpected” is fast becoming the most overworked word of the Obama Administration, and that’s saying something in a White House that prides itself on never-ending rhetoric. Today’s “unexpected” news is an early report showing a decline in March private sector unemployment numbers. Scott Jacobs has more on this story at The Jury.

– DRJ

An Update About Technical Matters

Filed under: Blogging Matters — DRJ @ 7:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

You’re in trouble when I’m writing a “technical update” because this isn’t my field. Nevertheless:

1. A lot of work has been done but there is still tweaking being done to resolve lingering performance issues. It would help if you could leave comments on this thread advising of any problems — including things like slow loading, error messages, and coding issues. That would help us pinpoint when the problems occur and what issues are still unresolved.

2. For now, comments post in a slightly different way than before. Comments appear immediately but at first they will look different to the author than to others. Until you refresh the page, your comment appears without formatting and shows the author as “You,” regardless of your screen name. Since readers must refresh the page to see new comments, your comment will always appear to others with formatting and your screen name. And while we’ve requested that this feature be changed back to the way it was before, we’ll have to wait and see.

3. The strike code has been corrected.

Thank you for your patience and for continuing to visit and comment.

– DRJ

Killing the American Economy

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 4:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From Reason TV:

“As unemployment stubbornly sticks near 10 percent and any sort of economic recovery seems a long way off, think about this: The one part of the economy that’s going gangbusters is government work.

Indeed, since the Great Recession started in December 2007, over 8 million jobs have been lost in the private sector while the public sector has added at least 100,000 positions. It’s time to recognize that public-sector employment is killing the economy for at least three reasons.”

The three reasons are:

1. They cost too much.
2. We can’t fire them.
3. They create a permanent lobby for expanded government and higher taxes.

Not convinced? All you really need to see is this chart posted at Hot Air.

– DRJ

Obama Says Drill, Baby, Drill (Updated)

Filed under: Environment,Obama — DRJ @ 4:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama announced he plans to open up millions of offshore acres to oil and gas drilling:

“President Obama took a gamble with the environment and his political base yesterday, opening up 167 million acres (67 million hectares) of coastal waters to oil drilling, in an attempt to limit America’s dependence on foreign energy and to win Republican backing for a stalled climate change Bill.

In a reversal of policies that have protected American shorelines since the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989, Mr Obama paved the way for a new energy rush off the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts by allowing exploratory drilling for trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and oil reserves that could exceed eight billion barrels.”

So what’s Obama doing? For one thing, he’s angered his environmental base and no matter what his supporters claim, he validated Sarah Palin’s “Drill, Baby, Drill.” (I think that proves Obama doesn’t see Palin as a 2012 opponent.)

Obama also undermined his June 2008 claim that drilling won’t help solve our energy problems and went back on his campaign promise not to allow offshore drilling:

OBAMA: “So let me just repeat. John McCain’s proposal, George Bush’s proposal, to drill off-shore here in Florida and other places around the country would not provide families with any relief — this year, next year, 5 years from now. Believe me, if I thought there was any evidence at all that drilling would save people money who are struggling to fill up their gas tanks by this summer or next year or even the next few years, I would consider it. But it won’t. *** When I’m President, I intend to keep in place the moratorium here in Florida and around the country that prevents oil companies from drilling off Florida’s coast.”

Like Johanna Neuman at the Top of the Ticket, I think Obama is laying the groundwork to peel off some GOP support for climate change legislation by repositioning himself on offshore drilling — something championed by McCain-Palin, not Obama-Biden. Given the Republicans’ reaction, I bet it will work.

– DRJ

UPDATE: In the comments, Beldar takes me to task (here and here) for describing Obama’s announcement as “Drill, Baby, Drill.” He makes a convincing argument that this is Obama’s typical empty rhetoric by which he bans drilling in Alaska’s Bristol Bay and issues vague promises to allow drilling elsewhere. My point is that if Americans think Obama is allowing drilling, it doesn’t matter whether he actually does or not.

El Paso Jail Guard May Have Been Target in Juarez Deaths

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 1:00 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP has more details on the target of the recent murder in Juarez of two Americans — U.S. Consulate employee Lesley Enriquez and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs, an El Paso jail guard — and a Mexican citizen married to another Consulate employee. The report indicates Redelfs may have been the target:

“A statement by the joint army, federal and state anti-crime task force in Chihuahua state said suspect Ricardo Valles de la Rosa confessed to acting as a lookout in the shootings. It said he had been imprisoned in the United States and deported in 2007, after which he took up with the Barrio Azteca gang.

According to the statement:

An Azteca gang leader “ordered him by telephone some days before to locate the white sport utility vehicle in which Arthur Hancock Redelfs was traveling, which he did on March 13 at a children’s party.”

Valles de la Rosa told investigators that “when the sport utility vehicle left that spot, he advised other colleagues in the Aztecas, who ordered him to follow it.”

By the time Redelfs’ white SUV reached the scene where the attack occurred, Valles de la Rosa was told to back off, because the Aztecas — as the gang is known in Mexico — had the vehicle located. He said that moments later he heard gunfire, and saw the bullet-ridden vehicle with a dead man and woman inside.

The couple’s 7-month-old daughter was later found wailing in the back of the vehicle.

The statement did not specify whether Redelfs’ job at the jail in El Paso, across the border from Juarez, was the reason he was followed and shot. One theory was that the Aztecas — whose members operate and are incarcerated on both sides of the border — could have sought revenge against Redelfs for events inside the jail.”

The Mexican citizen who was killed — “Jorge Alberto Salcido, the husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate — may have been killed because he left the same party in a white SUV similar to the one in which Redelfs and his wife died.”

This story is consistent with last week’s report of a Department of Homeland Security alert that the Juarez Azteca gang may be trying to target El Paso law enforcement officers.

– DRJ

3/30/2010

Violence Crosses the Southern Border

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 11:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A prominent Arizona rancher was shot and killed Saturday and authorities suspect the perpetrator was an illegal immigrant:

“At a news conference Monday, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said Krentz was out checking water line and fencing on the land Krentz’s family has ranched since 1907. Krentz had weapons with him in his all-terrain vehicle but didn’t use them, according to Dever.

Investigators said Krentz apparently came upon one person when he was shot. Krentz was heard telling his brother “illegal alien” on the radio earlier Saturday, and the area of the slaying is a known smuggling corridor, according to authorities.

While Krentz was still in his vehicle, mortally wounded, he managed to drive the ATV away from the scene at a high rate of speed before becoming unconscious. The ATV still had its lights on and the engine running when authorities found it.

Foot tracks were identified and followed approximately 20 miles south to the Mexico border by sheriff’s deputies, U.S. Border Patrol trackers and Department of Corrections dog chase teams, authorities said.”

The motive may have been retaliation for turning in drug smugglers:

“Dever told a Tucson newspaper that while investigators don’t have a motive yet, retaliation has been raised as a possibility. The day before the shooting, the victim’s brother, Phil Krentz, reported drug smuggling activity on the ranch to the Border Patrol.

Agents found 290 pounds of marijuana on the ranch and followed tracks to where they found and arrested eight illegal immigrants. All were still in custody when the shooting occurred.”

New Mexico and Arizona leaders have requested an enhanced Border Patrol presence at the border in response to this killing, but it’s not just ranchers who are at risk. Both local ranchers and Border Patrol agents face heightened dangers:

“Drug smugglers have apparently set “booby traps” for U.S. Border Patrol agents on roads along the border near Deming [NM] , agency officials said Monday.

The devices consist of barbed wire stretched like clotheslines across trails used by agents on all-terrain vehicles. The lines, which are difficult to spot, are about four feet off the ground and appear to be intended to knock a rider off the ATV.”

Meanwhile, the violence continues in Juarez, including 5 men who were gunned down in an auto shop and another who was killed in his bed.

– DRJ

Reinventing Student Loans

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 7:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A side effect of the passage of health care is the Obama Administration’s reinvention of student loans into a government program. Here’s how it will work:

“Starting July 1st, when the government issues student loans, it will bypass the banks who have traditionally provided them, and directly target borrowers.

A White House press release spells it out this way, “[A]ll new federal student loans will be direct loans, delivered and collected by private companies under performance-based contracts with the Department of Education. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, ending these wasteful subsidies will free up nearly $68 billion for college affordability and deficit reduction over the next 11 years.”

But some in the President’s own party say eliminating the middle man also equals eliminating jobs.

But the President’s focus today will be more about what the bill does than what it does not.

He will also talk about the provision’s less controversial expansion of Pell Grants, as well as supporting historically black and minority institutions and caps on student loan repayments.

According to the White House, “New borrowers who assume loans after July 1, 2014, will be able to cap their student loan repayments at 10 percent of their discretionary income and, if they keep up with their payments over time, will have the balance forgiven after 20 years.”

I won’t bother complaining about how Obama is inserting the government into every area of American lives and working to shrink capitalism. But I’m curious how those loan cap recipients will react when they figure out they will have to give the government detailed proof of their annual income and expenses for 20 years, or until they pay off their student loans?

Maybe they will be so grateful for the loan forgiveness that they won’t care but most people wouldn’t like having to provide the government with a list of all their expenses and letting a bureaucrat pore over them to decide which expenses are necessary and which are discretionary … for 20 years.

– DRJ

UPDATE: More on repayment caps below.

(more…)

Piling On the Republicans (Updated)

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 6:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jim Treacher says too bad if the Conventional Wisdom says right-wing websites shouldn’t pile on when Republicans make mistakes … because The DC is covering the story about how the RNC entertains at a WestHollywood bondage-themed night club anyway:

“Sorry, rightosphere, but if the GOP is going to be the party of fiscal responsibility, it needs to get a handle on this kind of stuff. If one of our reporters finds a story that might make Republicans look bad, we’re under no obligation to sweep it under the rug. Then we’d be no better than media outlets that try to hide what they know about Democrats. Not that they’d ever do that…

P.S. Not to tell Michael Steele his business, but “I couldn’t have been spending exorbitant amounts of donor money at that bondage-themed nightclub in LA, because I was spending exorbitant amounts of donor money flying back from our winter retreat in Hawaii” might not play as well as he hopes.”

They are also reporting that RNC Chairman Michael Steele wanted to use RNC funds to buy a private jet for his use.

– DRJ

UPDATE: Prof. William Jacobson at Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion is not happy with The Daily Caller:

“… the only story of “substance” broken so far by the Daily Caller was the expense of $2000 by the RNC at a strip club, for which a staffer has been fired.

While this may be a legitimate news issue, it hardly fits the Daily Caller’s mission statement, to balance out the lack of journalistic examination of the Obama administration.

The mainstream media and left-wing blogosphere (including Huffington Post) are all over every move the RNC and Republicans make, while ignoring and covering up any and all possible problems in Democrat land.

Daily Caller may have earned a news cycle by piling on, but it hasn’t earned any respect. From anyone.”

That’s a valid point but this is one of the few times I disagree with Prof. Jacobson about something. Holding Republicans accountable is as important to the future of the GOP as holding Democrats accountable, especially now that the Tea Party movement is watching both parties.

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