Thursday, January 27, 2011

@michellemalkin, 1/27/11 8:14 AM

Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin)
1/27/11 8:14 AM
ICYMI: 182 Obamacare-supporting unions/affiliates on Obamacare-escaping waiver list

Sunday, January 23, 2011

@pkedrosky, 1/23/11 10:26 AM

Paul Kedrosky (@pkedrosky)
1/23/11 10:26 AM
Pre-Davos, World Bank's Zoellick concedes gold is de facto money, & worries over food prices -

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

@DanaJGould, 1/19/11 12:29 AM

Dana Gould (@DanaJGould)
1/19/11 12:29 AM
Steve Jobs announced he's taking medical leave. Unfortunately, his iPhone auto-corrected it to, "I'm tacky a Methodist leopard."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meet America's 25 Richest Politicians

zero hedge - on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero

Per the just released OpenSecrets list of top 25 wealthiest politicians in America, there are 12 republicans and 12 democrats (and Hillary, whatever she is). While we applaud the diversity among the country's richest "representatives", we can't help but wonder if these people actually "represent" the common man, or the man (such as themselves) having a minimal average net worth of $28 million...

Some further amusing commentary from Before Its News:

I believe it was Emma Goldman who said, "Voting is the opium of the masses." Pitting us regular folk against each other over petty ideologies is how the elite in Congress perpetuate the illusion that we have real choice between the Democrats and the Republicans. It was true in Emma Goldman's time; it's true in our time.

Comedian Chris Rock, when asked during the last presidential election if he was supporting Barack Obama because he is black, replied that he was supporting Obama because he was the only "one-millionaire" running for office. The other candidates were all multi-millionaires. While Obama probably appears further down the list, Rock's point is well-made.The best Americans can do now is vote for the poorest millionaire.

The Center for Responsive Politics has posted the estimated minimum and maximum possible net worth of every single member of Congress and the Administration (from 2008 data) at their website Here are the top 25. If you want to be shocked, look only at the "Minimum Net Worth" column. If you want to be appalled, look at the "Maximum Net Worth" column.

Full list of America's finest. The fact that Nancy Pelosi' minimum net worth has been disclosed at ($7) Million does not really surprise us: all that facial self-improvement does not come cheap.

Rank Name Minimum Net Worth Average Maximum Net Worth
1 Darrell Issa (R-Calif) $156,050,022 $303,575,011 $451,100,000
2 Jane Harman (D-Calif) $151,480,522 $293,454,761 $435,429,001
3 John Kerry (D-Mass) $182,755,534 $238,812,296 $294,869,059
4 Mark Warner (D-Va) $65,692,210 $174,385,102 $283,077,995
5 Jared Polis (D-Colo) $36,694,140 $160,909,068 $285,123,996
6 Herb Kohl (D-Wis) $89,358,027 $160,302,011 $231,245,995
7 Vernon Buchanan (R-Fla) $-69,434,661 $148,373,160 $366,180,982
8 Michael McCaul (R-Texas) $73,685,086 $137,611,043 $201,537,000
9 Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa) $61,446,018 $98,832,010 $136,218,002
10 Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) $46,055,250 $77,082,134 $108,109,018
11 Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) $49,083,204 $76,886,611 $104,690,018
12 Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) $-7,356,915 $58,436,537 $124,229,990
13 Alan Mark Grayson (D-Fla) $31,411,044 $54,966,522 $78,522,000
14 James E. Risch (R-Idaho) $19,468,057 $54,517,026 $89,565,995
15 Gary Miller (R-Calif) $19,365,053 $51,833,526 $84,302,000
16 Bob Corker (R-Tenn) $9,778,047 $50,717,522 $91,656,998
17 Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) $19,898,179 $43,797,589 $67,697,000
18 Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) $14,900,036 $39,012,518 $63,125,000
19 Kenny Ewell Marchant (R-Texas) $13,303,385 $38,204,868 $63,106,351
20 Brian P. Bilbray (R-Calif) $25,143,635 $37,819,629 $50,495,623
21 Harry Teague (D-NM) $21,119,041 $37,102,019 $53,084,997
22 Denny Rehberg (R-Mont) $6,598,014 $31,421,505 $56,244,997
23 Hillary Clinton $10,727,014 $31,243,506 $51,759,999
24 Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) $12,556,055 $28,612,527 $44,669,000
25 Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) $11,342,046 $28,116,022 $44,889,998


h/t Robert

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Work for Illinois 5 Years, Pay in Zero, Get $130,000 Pension

The current posse of statist Democrats must have missed math class -- for 80 years in a row.

Work for the State 5 Years, Pay in Zero, Get $130,000 Pension...

Work for Yourself 45 Years, Pay In $260,000 Get $28,000 Social Security

Anybody see a problem here?

This is what happens when you live in a state with no accountability, no transparency and massive political malfeasance. You and I are in effect tax slaves whose purpose in life is to work and pay exorbitant taxes so the elitist politically connected public employees can live in luxury when they retire - on our dime of course.

The person from the first line of the title is Dr. Renee Hartz, a thoracic surgeon hired by the University of Illinois to teach surgery. I am only guessing about what she actually did because records of her activity are very limited. In a Freedom of Information Act request I asked for her contract or offer letter outlining her job responsibilities plus pay and benefits included in her job offer. Despite pay totaling $567,479.10 per annum from 1991 to 1995 there were no records related to her hiring.

Of course, this delightful stewardship of the taxpayers' hard-earned dollars probably has nothing to do with this:

Meredith Whitney: 50 to 100 counties and cities could default in 2011
Financial analyst Meredith Whitney recently warned that a muni bond crisis "is the largest threat to the U.S. economy." She is noted for predicting the 2008 Wall Street meltdown months in advance.

...state and local tax revenues remain well below pre-recession levels, with some cities and counties flirting with bankruptcy. Emergency federal aid to the states runs out this spring. Public employee retiree costs are a fast-growing problem. And the federally subsidized Build America Bonds program expired Dec. 31, making munis a less attractive investment...

I will make one prediction: if 'Helicopter' Ben Bernanke tries to monetize municipal debt, all hell is going to break loose.

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Article: Understanding Leftism In One Photograph

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How The $1.4 Trillion In Bank "Phantom Income" Is Really An $84 Billion (0.5% Of GDP) Consumer "Phantom Stimulus"

zero hedge - on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero

A few days ago Robert Lenzner of Forbes had a column discussing what he termed "phantom income" created by $1.4 trillion of delinquent mortgages, based on an analysis from TrimTabs' Madeline Schnapp. As usual, we decided to bypass the messenger and go straight to the source. Below is Madeline's clarification on the issue. As we expected, it is not so much an issue of bank mortgage fraud and cash flow deficiency (which by now everyone knows is pervasive, and everyone knows is being backstopped each and every quarter by the GSEs to the tune of tens of billions of dollars every three months like clockwork). Incidentally, a topic we are surprised nobody in the media has picked up on, is that indeed banker bonuses appear to be running well below last year's levels for many institutions. The reason: while accounting gimmickry allows banks to pad their bottom line, it does little to actually stimulate the cash flow statement. And since investment bankers prefer to be paid with cash and not out of accounts payable, the truth is that banks are actually hurting when it comes to actual cash retention: a big red flag to cut through all the FASB accounting fraud. But back to Schnapp's point: a far more important observation, and one which we have been claiming since 2009 is the primary reason for the consumer "renaissance", is that the "phantom stimulus" which allows consumers not to pay their mortgages (with the banks' and the GSEs' blessing) is equivalents to about $84 billion annually, or 0.5% of GDP. Add to that the $120 billion in payroll tax cuts and $60 billion in "Make Work Pay" tax credit, and one can easily see how that government's fiscal largess immediately accounts for more than half of the projected 2011 GDP growth, the other half being more than accounted for through (now years of) inventory restocking.

We asked Madeline to elaborate on her $1.4 trillion number. Here is what she said:

It was a number taken out of context.

Here is the context using back of the envelope calculations.

There are currently about 7 million delinquent mortgages in which homeowners are not making payments.

Average mortgage probably $200,000

That means there is somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.0 to $1.4 trillion in non-performing loans that exist somewhere in the system which need to be wrung out of the system if we are ever to get the  housing market back as a healthy sector of the economy.

Phantom Stimulus coming from non-performing loans?

Since the average time to foreclose is 484 days and homeowners aren't making mortgage payments and instead are now pocketing their payments, there is a transfer going on from the mortgage servicers who would ordinarily be the recipients of the payments, to the pockets of consumers.

If we assume a mortgage payment is $1,000 per month or $12,000 per year, then conceivably you could be looking at $84 billion annually in extra income to consumers to spend or save.

To put that amount in context, it is greater than the $60 billion "Make Work Pay" tax credit, and is about 2/3rds of the $120 billion extra money that is supposed to come from the 2% payroll tax cut.  Or in GDP terms, its in the neighborhood of 0.5% of GDP which is a lot considering Q3 GDP was only 2.7%.

In our view, that's an interesting way of stimulating an economy.


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Restoring the Social Order by Heather Mac Donald - City Journal

Saturday, January 15, 2011

White House: we were shocked that Tucson memorial crowd hooted and hollered throughout because our APPLAUSE signs were actually quite discrete

Doug Ross @ Journal
I don't know what you thought while watching the memorial service in Tucson, but the raucous crowd's cheers, shrieks and crowing struck me as wildly inappropriate and -- at worst -- borderline disrespectful. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he was surprised at the crowd's behavior as well.

I will say that I read the speech several times and thought that there wouldn't be a lot of applause if any. I think many of us thought that. But I think there was a celebration, again, of the lives of those who had been impacted. Not just at that grocery store but throughout the country. And I think that, if that is part of the healing process, then that's a good thing.


I, for one, feel certain that the White House had no earthly idea the quad Jumbotrons were telling the audience to applaud every six or seven words.

Hat tips: Gateway Pundit and Larwyn.
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I, Toaster

Cafe Hayek

19 minutes ago by Don Boudreaux

This ten-minute TED talk by Thomas Thwaites is a must-see.  Its lesson about the importance of trade, cooperation through competitive markets, and our current standard of living cannot be lost on any thinking person.

(HT Kyle Flynn and Greg Loutsenko)

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Great news: Elected officials know less about the Constitution than the public

Hot Air TV


So claims the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which just concluded a five-year study on the American public's knowledge of its foundational legal document.  The bad news: the general public gets an F, with just a 49% average on the 33-question civics test.  The worse news: those who identified themselves as public officeholders scored an average of [...]

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America's Ridiculously Large $15T Economy

Carp Diem
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Visualize This: Where the public gets its news

Visualize This: Where the public gets its news: "

According to polls from the Pew Research Center, the Internet gained on Television as the public's primary news source in 2010. Poll results are shown in their graph below.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

@RasmussenPoll, 1/12/11 6:50 AM

Scott Rasmussen (@RasmussenPoll)
1/12/11 6:50 AM
Just 26% willing to pay higher taxes to pay promised benefits to state workers. 43% say cut the benefits...

Paul Krugman, Buffoon (John/Power Line)

Paul Krugman, Buffoon (John/Power Line): "

John / Power Line:

Paul Krugman, Buffoon — Within hours after Jared Loughner's killing spree, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman went straight for the gutter, proclaiming, with no evidence whatsoever, that Loughner's act was in all likelihood “political,” and going on to blame Republicans for the murders.


Football supporter map of London

Football supporter map of London: "

London football supporter map

Map of London colored by what team the majority supports.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


By Annaly Capital Management

An interesting recent piece by Reuven Glick and Kevin J. Lansing of the San Francisco Fed looks to explain changes in the savings rate over time. On an aggregate level, the authors point out that the savings rate is mostly a function of:

1. Wealth – if I'm already wealthy, I don't need to save as much

2. Credit availability – if I can borrow to spend, I don't need to save as much

First, they compare wealth, measured by household net worth as a percentage of disposable income, and the personal savings rate.

You can see very clearly the two asset booms on the right side of the graph, first equities and then housing. Both of these were clearly bubbles in retrospect, and therefore not repeatable. This also tells us that the corresponding savings rate in the 2%-4% range isn't sustainable.

Second, they look at credit availability as measured by household debt to disposable income.

What's the right level of debt? As we've said before, we don't know, but it appears that 130% in 2007 was too high. This also tells us, again, that the corresponding 2-4% savings rate was likely too low. In the short run, a rising savings rate reduces GDP because personal consumption is still 70% of GDP. The rise in the household savings rate from below 2% in 2007 to above 6% recently coincided with a painful reduction in consumer spending and economic activity. Much of the stimulus, including 0% interest rates from the Fed and a slew of spending incentives from the fiscal authorities (Cash for Clunkers and the homebuyer tax credits), was aimed at stimulating spending at the expense of savings, to break the paradox of thrift endangering the economy.

The real paradox of the savings rate is touched on by John Hussman in his most recent weekly commentary, entitled "Illusory Prosperity – Ludwig Von Mises on Monetary Policy." Hussman discusses the relationship between savings and investment: "The amount of real physical investment in the economy is, and must be, precisely equal to the amount of output not allocated to consumption but instead to savings."

The conundrum of central bankers: savings is needed to fund investment. Lower savings may boost current economic growth, but at the expense of longer term economic well being.

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@ByronYork, 1/11/11 7:41 AM

Byron York (@ByronYork)
1/11/11 7:41 AM
In 11/10/09 Ft. Hood speech, Obama took care to blame the accused killer and not any larger idea, ideology, faith, or political viewpoint.

The Student Loan Debt Bubble by Alan Nasser

The Student Loan Debt Bubble by Alan Nasser

What Democrats Might Learn From the Census

What Democrats Might Learn From the Census: "States with a more conservative population do a better job at providing affordable housing than more progressive states, an economist writes."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

ALLAHU PALIN | Daily Telegraph Tim Blair Blog

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Wray: The Federal Budget is NOT like a Household Budget – Here’s Why « naked capitalism–-here's-why.html

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John Kass: Only a giant wall around Illinois can corral fleeing taxpayers -,0,2212099,full.column

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Death Threats Against Bush at Protests Ignored for Years · zomblog

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theblogprof: Figures: Man who shot AZ Congresswoman in the head is a left-wing lunatic

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Figures: Man who shot AZ Congresswoman in the head is a left-wing lunatic

 UPDATE #3: That was fast: Detroit Free Press links Sarah Palin to Arizona Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)

Why post that the guy who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona? Isn't that just scoring political points off a tragedy? Let just ask this question: what would the establishment MSM be doing if this guy was instead a Tea Partier? Full. Spin. Mode. They wouldn't be labeling this guy a lone wacko, which he probably is. He wouldn't be insane or simply a disturbed person. He would have instead been painted as the very picture of the tea party. As it is, he's no tea partier. He's instead from the left fringe of the Democrat Party - that fringe that we call true communists. Via Instapundit:
His name's Jared Lee Loughner and he seems like a garden variety nut:
Among his long list of favorite books in his YouTube profile are Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha.

Loughner also "favorited" just one video on YouTube, which shows the burning of an American flag and is accompanied by an anti-government screed.
Perhaps most ironically, Media Matter - yes, THAT Media Matters - the political assassins of the left, call for a moratorium on scoring political points from crimes when those crimes are perpetrated by leftists: Save This Tweet For Use In Political Emergency
Please bookmark this post and Tweet for use in the next political emergency, when some criminal act by a nut is used by Media Matters and its progeny to tar and feather the entire Tea Party and conservative movements:
William Jacobson updates that post with this: "This tweet takes on special significance in light of the crude attempts by left-wing bloggers to blame Sarah Palin and the Tea Parties for the shooting of Congresswoman Gabriell Giffords by a mentally deranged shooter." Meanwhile, Daily Kos is scrubbing its website. From Jammie Wearing Fool:
This may be just a coincidence, but a Daily Kos blogger posted this Thursday:

My CongressWOMAN voted against Nancy Pelosi! And is now DEAD to me!
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is dead to me now. I won't lift a finger, make one phone call, nor will i EVER vote for her in the future. And why did she do this? Giffords never told me she was conservative Democrat. And her voting record is okay. Damn.
The screen shot:
I blame such eliminationist rhetoric from the left for today's violence. and that brings me to our community organizer-in-chief who said this in the past (and especially the third one):
"I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers, unless the hostage gets harmed. In this case the hostage is the American people and I was not willing to see them get harmed," Obama on keeping taxes from increasing, December 6, 2010

"A Republican majority in Congress would mean "hand-to-hand combat" on Capitol Hill for the next two years, threatening policies Democrats have enacted to stabilize the economy," Obama, October 6, 2010
"If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," Obama in July 2008
"Here's the problem: It's almost like they've got -- they've got a bomb strapped to them and they've got their hand on the trigger. You don't want them to blow up. But you've got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger."  Obama on banks, March 2009
"I want you to argue with them and get in their face!" Barack Obama, September 2008
"We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us." Obama to Latinos, October 2010
"I don't want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I'm angry!" Obama on ACORN Mobs, March 2010
"We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick." Obama on the private sector, June 2010
Can't wait for the left to blame rhetoric for the crime.

UPDATE: A long list of commenters on this:
RightKlik: Breaking: AZ Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Shot
Breitbart: On the Tragedy of AZ/Rep. Giffords Shooting
UPDATE #2: Linked by Instapundit! Thank you!


Fuzzy Slippers said...

Such a horrible tragedy, and this guys is really unhinged. I don't even think it's his (clearly) leftist beliefs that led to this, he seems to be truly insane.

Anonymous said...

Guess folks have forgotten the liberal rabble-rousing rhetoric from last week: Piven Rings in The New Year By Calling for Violent Revolution ...
Dec 31, 2010 ... Andrew Cloward and his wife Frances Fox Piven. ... Language she and her late husband Richard Cloward made popular in the 60s. .... The Left Calls for CIVIL UNREST!

Anonymous said...

Let's Not forget when Obama said "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun"? (WSJ 6/14/2008)

Ritchie The Riveter said...

When it comes to the hypocrisy of the Regressives in this matter, two words say it all:

Bill Ayers.

Anonymous said...

One of his HS friends mentioned Anti-Flag as one of his favorite bands. I doubt that they are a tea-party favorite being a left wing punk band and all.

Anonymous said...

It is not just "left-wing bloggers" who are pointing to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. I just listened to WCBS Newsradio 880 - AM from New York City and their 8:00 am report on the crime ALSO mentioned Palin and the Tea Party. This is the CBS flagship news radio station, news - sports -weather 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ... and its signal reaches me in Rhode Island. It's not just NYC!

Dan said...

Sen McCaskill - "...pitchforks..."
Obama - "...punch back twice as hard..."
Baldwin - [something like] "kill...Hyde"
Daley - "...SKS up your butt..."

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