Patterico's Pontifications

7/2/2010

America’s ‘Deem as Passed’ Budget (Updated)

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 9:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The House has deemed as passed a $1.12 Trillion budget:

“Last night, as part of a procedural vote on the emergency war supplemental bill, House Democrats attached a document that “deemed as passed” a non-existent $1.12 trillion budget. The execution of the “deeming” document allows Democrats to start spending money for Fiscal Year 2011 without the pesky constraints of a budget.

The procedural vote passed 215-210 with no Republicans voting in favor and 38 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote against deeming the faux budget resolution passed.

Never before — since the creation of the Congressional budget process — has the House failed to pass a budget, failed to propose a budget then deemed the non-existent budget as passed as a means to avoid a direct, recorded vote on a budget, but still allow Congress to spend taxpayer money.”

Rep. Paul Ryan’s response is at the link. He’s much calmer than I would have been so it’s fortunate he’s the one speaking for the GOP.

H/T Dustin.

– DRJ

UPDATE – More from The Hill:

“House Democrats passed a budget document Thursday that sets discretionary spending at levels below those proposed by President Barack Obama but doesn’t address how Congress should cut deficits.

The “budget enforcement resolution” Democrats are substituting for a traditional budget resolution sets discretionary spending for 2011 at $1.12 trillion, about $7 billion less than Obama’s proposal and $3 billion less than a Senate Democratic plan. It also sets a goal of cutting deficits to the point where revenues equal all spending except for interest payments on the debt.

But unlike traditional budget resolutions, this year’s version doesn’t detail how Congress should reach that goal, leaving those tough decisions to Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission.”

Article I of the United States Constitution sets forth the powers of Congress, and Section 9 Clause 7 provides that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Can a bipartisan fiscal commission created by the Executive exercise power for Congress? Further, as Steven Den Beste raises in the comments, who has standing to object?

Anderson Cooper to the Government: “We Are Not the Enemy”

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 8:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Anderson Cooper responds to the Obama Administration’s blanket rule that levies criminal sanctions against anyone, including the media, who fails to stay 65 feet away from booms or response vessels in the Gulf:

ANDERSON COOPER: “So keeping prying eyes out of marshes, away from booms, off the beaches is now government policy. *** If we can’t show what’s happening, warts and all, no one will see what’s happening and that makes it very easy to hide failure and hide incompetence.”

– DRJ

White House Work

Filed under: Government,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 7:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The White House has released its list of employees and their annual pay:

** 469 employees at $38,796,307.00 per year **

Other than the President, the top pay is $172,200.00 per year for a range of employees including David Axlerod, Rahm Emanuel, speechwriter Jon Favreau, Robert Gibbs, and others. It’s not really that much for the hours they work but typically the power, fame, perks, and/or lucrative post-job opportunities make up for it.

Ironically (to me), former Attorney General and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales did not benefit from his White House service, even though most of his policies have been continued by the Obama Administration. In some ways he was a victim of the times and his willingness to take the heat for President Bush; in other ways he has only himself to blame. But Gonzales strikes me as the forgotten man from the Bush years, and that’s a shame given his [pre-Bush] accomplishments.

– DRJ

Danger on the Texas Border

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 7:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

For an Administration that isn’t worried about securing the border, they sure are worried about the border:

“The State Department, meanwhile, announced new travel restrictions Friday for U.S. government employees working away from the border in Mexico and Central America. As of July 15, they and their families are barred from crossing anywhere along Texas’ border, north or south, because of safety concerns. The U.S. government continues to urge Americans to exercise extreme caution or defer unnecessary travel to certain parts of Mexico.”

I can’t find the warning at the State Department’s Current Travel Warnings. Perhaps it hasn’t been posted yet or it applies only to State Department employees and their dependents.

– DRJ

Nancy Pelosi, Economist

Filed under: Economics,Politics — DRJ @ 5:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says unemployment benefits stimulate the economy:

PELOSI: “Now let me say that unemployment insurance — we talk about it as a safety net and the rest. This is one of the biggest stimuluses (I know, not a word) to our economy. Economists will tell you this money is spent quickly, it injects demand into the economy. It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name. Because, again, it is money needed for families to survive, and it is spent.

So it has a double benefit, it helps those who have lost their jobs, but it is also a job-creator. It is impossible to think of a situation where we would have a country that would say we’re not going to have unemployment benefits, and the only people who want them are people who don’t want jobs. That’s just so contrary to what our country is about, and I reject that misrepresentation of the motivation for people to be on unemployment insurance.”

This Ezra Klein post explains why liberals want direct government spending like unemployment benefits. It’s satisfying because you are providing help to specific people and it gives more immediate bang for the buck.

Unemployment benefits stimulate the economy if the alternative is jobless people who have no money to buy food and other necessities. On the other hand, unemployment benefits aren’t as good for the economy as people paying for what they need with income earned from jobs. But what if the jobs are lower-paying or equal pay to unemployment benefits, leading recipients to choose unemployment benefits? What should society encourage in that situation?

That issue doesn’t seem to be on liberals’ radar, and conservatives are portrayed as heartless and judgmental for raising it.

– DRJ

Note to Self: Take the Stairs

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 4:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

An Austin man sentenced to prison after he failed a urine test learned the hard way not to make his escape via the courthouse elevator:

“Brandon Tuff, 21, pleaded guilty in May to possession of a controlled substance after a police affidavit accused him of selling crack cocaine to a police officer downtown. Tuff did not have a plea bargain, meaning state District Judge Charlie Baird could sentence him up to the maximum for the crime — two years in state jail.

Baird assigned Tuff to what he calls his “Friday morning pee team.” That means that Tuff was one of a list of defendants who were ordered to show up on Friday mornings to take drug tests, which the judge would ultimately use to determine their sentence.

When Tuff, who had been free on bond, showed up for court today, he tested positive for cocaine, Baird said. Baird called him to the bench and announced the two-year sentence.

At that point, according to Baird’s bailiff Art Guerrero, Tuff’s girlfriend cried out from the courtroom gallery and Tuff turned and ran for the door.

Guerrero said he tried to tackle Tuff but that Tuff slid away. Guerrero said he and sheriff’s deputy Mark Smith then ran after Tuck, finding him waiting for an elevator.”

That wasn’t the end of the story since neither the defendant nor his girlfriend gave up easy.

– DRJ

The Russian Spy Ring Children

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 4:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

There are 11 members of the alleged Russian spy ring, and 8 of them have 8 children whose lives will never be the same:

“At least two of the children, the toddler and pre-schooler whose parents posed as American Michael Zottoli and Canadian Patricia Mills, will be going to Russia. Federal prosecutors said Friday the couple acknowledged they are Russian citizens and instructed a family friend now caring for the children to contact relatives in Russia to arrange for the youngsters to go there.
***
The tot may now find himself learning a new language in a new country, but possibly without his parents as teachers.”

This is just one story of several recounted at the link in which the younger children (and perhaps the older ones, too) had no suspicion about their parents’ alleged activities or backgrounds — and why should they? But if their parents chose to live a lie, this is the terrible consequence of that choice.

– DRJ

Paris Hilton Arrested? (Updated: Not True)

Filed under: Crime,Sports — DRJ @ 3:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Paris Hilton has reportedly been arrested in South Africa for smoking marijuana during the Holland-Brazil World Cup quarterfinals match but there is no confirmation from Hilton. Perhaps she should have tried nutmeg.

Also, the Dutch upset Brazil.

– DRJ

UPDATE: False alarm. TMZ reports Hilton was questioned but the investigation involved someone else.

The Case of the Missing Beer

Filed under: Humor — DRJ @ 3:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Stone Brewing Co. makes beer but it also sells gourmet mustards made with its beer … until recently:

“I thought it was a joke at first, but Greg Koch, CEO of Escondido’s Stone Brewing Co., font of attitudinally challenged beers, assures me it’s not — two of Stone’s gourmet mustards, supposedly made with beer, were not.

The company hired to make Stone Cali-Belgique IPA Cali-Dijon Mustard and Stone Pale Ale Stone Ground Mustard with Chipotle Peppers did not include the beer, Koch said Monday. I had called Stone after being told that the company’s press release, issued last week, was not a promotional stunt. It was an infamous chapter in the annuals of zymurgy.

Koch said Stone supplied full kegs of beer, the kegs came back empty — but not because it was placed in the mustard.”

Keg Party!

Bradley J. Fikes and the Consumerist look into The Case of the Missing Beer in a post Bradley cleverly calls “Stone Brewing Says Supplier Didn’t Cut The Mustard.”

– DRJ

Old Media’s Swan Dive

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 2:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From Newsbusters:

“The big three nightly news broadcasts, NBC Nightly, CBS Evening and ABC World, lost a combined one million viewers in the second quarter of 2010, according to TVNewser.

These numbers are comparable to the first quarter, which saw Evening News and World News get their lowest average viewers ever, while NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage helped it get their highest average viewers since 2005. In the second quarter, NBC lost 440,000 viewers, ABC 260,000 and CBS 340,000. It was about this time last year that ABC and CBS’ news programs had their lowest ratings ever.

These numbers are not at all surprising in light of the public’s continued distrust of the old media. As Newsbusters’ Rich Noyes wrote of a Rasmussen poll released earlier this month, “Perhaps as a result, the poll finds an astonishing two-thirds of the public (66 percent) say they are angry with the media, ‘including 33 percent who are very angry’ with the press.”

The link notes that cable news stations are also losing viewers, although not at the same rate as the nightly news programs.

– DRJ

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