Michael Barone links and summarizes reports that show Social Security’s cash flow is in the red:
“Social Security tax receipts for the first half of 2010: $346.9 billion;
Social Security benefits payments for the same period: $347.3 billion.
Before this year, projections have always been that Social Security wouldn’t cross that line into negative cash flow for five years or so. Now it’s a reality. Congress has been spending Social Security’s positive cash flow for years. Now there’s no positive cash flow to spend.”
Compare that to last year:
“To see how the negative trend has accelerated, consider the same figures for the first half of 2009:
Social Security tax receipts were $366.0 billion and Social Security benefits payments were $334.3 billion.
A positive cash flow of $31.7 billion has disappeared in the course of just 12 months.”
Attorneys for O. J. Simpson and a co-defendant, Clarence “C. J.” Stewart, argued their appeals before the Nevada Supreme Court yesterday. Stewart’s argument that the trial focused too much on Simpson and compromised his rights may give him a better chance of success than Simpson. In addition, their Batson claims could benefit both:
“Justices questioned the dismissal of the last two black women from the prospective jury before the panel was seated with no blacks. Both Simpson and Stewart are black.
[Prosecutor David] Roger denied race was a factor. He said both women claimed hardships and religious beliefs that would make jury service difficult, and reported experiences that could have made them biased against the state.
[Stewart’s attorney Brent] Bryson said several other jurors said they went to church and had interactions with police.
“What’s the major difference? Skin color. That’s it,” he said.”
At the last link, a Las Vegas defense attorney interviewed about the case highlighted the Batson and co-defendant issues as the most likely to be successful.
“Even though I’m president of the United States, my power is not limitless,” he told Grand Isle, La., locals in the video, released Friday. “So I can’t dive down there and plug the hole. I can’t suck it up with a straw. All I can do is make sure that I put honest, hard-working smart people in place … to implement this thing.”
UPDATE — About those “hard-working, smart” people Obama put in place to handle this — maybe they should have someone read their Congressional mail:
“Coast Guard Head Was Informed of Maine Oil Boom on 5/21. Yesterday, He Claimed He Didn’t Know
The curious case of the lack of interest in Packgen’s boom gets curiouser and curiouser. Yesterday, ABC News had an interview with Admiral Thad Allen, the national incident commander in charge of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After a handful of questions about the flow of oil into the Gulf from the wellhead, the topic turned to mitigation of the spill. Here’s the exchange:
Jake Tapper, ABC: I talked to a guy who runs a company in Maine that offers boom, and he has — he says — the ability to make 90,000 feet of boom a day. High quality. BP came there 2 weeks ago, looked at it, they are doing another audit today. He is very frustrated, he says he has a lot of high quality boom to go and it is taking a long time for BP to get its act together. Don’t you need this boom right now?
Allen: Oh we need all the boom wherever we can get it. If you give me the information off camera I’ll be glad to follow up.
There was no need for the admiral to ask for the information from Jake Tapper. It’s contained in a letter that has been on the admiral’s desk since May 21st. The letter was also sent to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and to NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. Copies were sent to Governors Bob Riley, Charles Crist, Haley Barbour, and Bobby Jindal. The letter was signed by two U.S. senators.”
“Lt. Cmdr. J.R. Hoeft (USN), the Online Communications Coordinator for the Unified Area Command – Joint Information Center, sent this note:
The boom manufactured by Packgen did not pass an initial quality control test. Boom is subjected to great wear and tear when placed in the water and must be frequently tended. In order to retain its effectiveness boom must be of high quality. Once Packgen’s boom passes inspection, the company can be considered as a source for supplying boom to the largest oil spill response operation in U.S. history. In the meantime, suitable boom is being identified and obtained quickly and there is currently 459,000 feet of boom stored in the region in addition to the 2.24 million feet deployed.”
I certainly hope this is evidence that the government is competently following up on legitimate offers of supplies and assistance. However, I’m curious when the boom was inspected and how he knows it will pass inspection if it didn’t originally.
“Not three months after lawmakers passed his $1 trillion insurance overhaul, Obama is facing a rare defeat on health care at the hands of his own divided Democrats. Moderates have rebelled against adding billions more to the deficit in a treacherous election year.”
It’s no wonder President Obama has returned to berating Republicans for opposing the most recent version of the Medicare Doc Fix. When times get tough, it always works to blame Republicans.
California Lt. Governor Jerry Brown is the Democratic nominee for Governor but his campaign got off to a rocky start when Brown ran into a radio reporter while jogging and struck up a candid conversation. During the conversation, Brown compared his opponent’s messaging to Nazi propaganda:
“Brown boasted about his legendary frugality. “I’ve only spent $200,000 so far. I have 20 million in the bank. I’m saving up for her.” It’s true – his stay-on-the-sidelines, bare-bones primary run cost him almost nothing, at least in California political terms. But he also fretted about the impact of all those eBay dollars in Whitman’s very deep pockets. “You know, by the time she’s done with me, two months from now, I’ll be a child-molesting…” He let the line trail off. “She’ll have people believing whatever she wants about me.” Then he went off on a riff I didn’t expect.
“It’s like Goebbels,” referring to Hitler’s notorious Minister of Propaganda. “Goebbels invented this kind of propaganda. He took control of the whole world. She wants to be president. That’s her ambition, the first woman president. That’s what this is all about.”
So a vote for Jerry Brown is a vote to keep Meg Whitman out of the White House?
Barack Obama promised to renew and rebuild America’s alliances throughout the world. Now, 18 months after he took office, our relationship with Afghanistan has never looked worse because of his deteriorating relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai:
“The president [Hamid Karzi] has lost his confidence in the capability of either the coalition or his own government to protect this country,” Mr. Saleh said in an interview at his home. “President Karzai has never announced that NATO will lose, but the way that he does not proudly own the campaign shows that he doesn’t trust it is working.”
Wars and allies are sometimes thrust upon us. Like him or not, Karzai’s support is vital to winning in Afghanistan but Obama has alienated him and is now stuck trying to climb back to where he began 18 months ago. Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan has become the longest-ever war America has fought and its monthly costs outpace the War in Iraq. It’s worth it if our leaders are committed to winning but it’s not clear they are.
It’s also interesting to watch President Obama repeatedly try to harange, intimidate and cajole foreign leaders into doing what he wants. It worked domestically. It’s not working as well outside the U.S.
In criticizing SB 1070, Chief Beck was most emphatically not speaking on behalf of most LAPD officers, but rather on behalf of the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, who selected Beck as chief and whose position on illegal immigration is well known. Whatever Beck’s true opinions on these issues might be, if they differ one iota from the mayor’s, he took care to keep those differences to himself during the interviews leading up to his appointment.