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Friday, February 5, 2010

GOP Senator Holds Senate Hostage: Holds Up Non-Controversial Obama Appointees, Wants Pork Sent to Alabama In Exchange For Easy Confirmation

Many Republicans are hoping to put earmarks on hold for a year, but there is one that is fighting dirty in order to keep one. Richard Shelby, a Republican Senator from Alabama, has refused to let over 70 of Obama's appointees be confirmed because an Alabama company didn't receive a 35-billion-dollar contract for a fleet of new aerial refueling tankers from the government:

A US Senator has taken the extraordinary step of blocking more than 70 of US President Barack Obama's nominees amid a dispute over a lucrative US Air Force tanker deal, senate aides said Friday.

Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, placed a blanket "hold" in part because of the feud pitting Airbus parent EADS and its partner Northrop Grumman against Boeing, his office said.

"Senator Shelby is holding all of the president’s nominees pending on the Executive Calendar," a total of "70-plus" people, said a spokeswoman for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Regan Lachapelle.

While a Shelby spokesman stubbornly claims that the hold is only because of “national security concerns” and not pork, simple logic would lead me to conclude otherwise. I don’t know what in the world about this contract bid would concern national security, unless he believes that Boeing has some sort of mole in their company that might leak out the blueprints of the tankers or sabatoge them. However, the company has no history of such leaks, or they wouldn’t be in the running for the contract in the first place. It is a far more scenario that Senator Shelby is holding out to put pressure on the Administration to grease the wheels and give the contract to the company in Alabama instead of Boeing.

This hold makes little sense considering that the current Obama Administratin is not personally involved in the deal, and those at the Pentagon that are involved are the same ones that were there under  the Bush administration.

Whether or not the FBI offices  should continue to be funded for testing IEDs, may be a slightly more of a valid concern, but it is still not immediate enough appropriate to hang up Obama’s nominations because of it. It’s not so serious that gridlocking the Senate is necessary to resolve the issue immediately.

The only reason why Shelby should of held his consent was because of a valid complaint about the candidate’s views or qualifications. However, I seriously doubt that all 70 or so nominees are so bad that they  would a full hearing before the Senate in order to be confirmed. That would just delay the inevitable and throw a monkey wrench in the Senate’s schedule causing them to have to stop whatever else they’re doing to confirm them. This type of ploy is the exact reason why people have coined them the “Do-Nothing Congress”.

It , also, seems ridiculous that after the GOP spent the last year complaining about Obama taking so long to make a decision about the who he was going to nominate to the various positions,  one of those Republicans are now blocking them, and it is not for any valid reasons. It is so that he can bring home the bacon back to his home state of Alabama. Pathetic. Shelby should be ashamed of himself, and the rest of the Republicans should rebuke him for this and get him to reverse his hold.

SC GOP Senators Graham, DeMint: Propose a 1 Year Earmark Ban & Balanced Budget Amendment

While the Democrats on laying the groundwork to spend even more, top GOP senators are seeking to stop the bleeding with a ban on the notorious earmarks that bring money back into their states:

South Carolina's senators urged Congress on Thursday to institute a one-year ban on "earmarks," or funding for congressional lawmakers' pet projects.

Republican Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham also called on their colleagues to approve a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, which would bar the government from spending more than it takes in.

Nine other lawmakers joined their call, including perhaps the most famous earmark opponent of all -- Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential candidate.

This could be a ground-breaking step to getting government spending under control, if they keep their own promise. Considering that we're talking about politicians, I'm not inspired with great confidence that they will. I just hope that this isn't just publicity stunt.

Unfortunately, this has very small chance of passing in the Senate, much less the ultra-partisan House. Surely, both Graham and DeMint had to be aware of this which tells me that this might just be more of a stunt than a genuine proposal.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What Freeze?: Administration Buys 30-sec Spot During the Super Bowl With Taxpayer Money To Advertise Upcoming Census

The Obama Administration is going Is the kind of frivolous spending that Obama wanted Congress to put a freeze on? Perhaps, he should lead by example. Instead, his administration seems content to join right in with the rest of them:

Taxpayers might want to pay close attention to this Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast or they’ll miss Uncle Sam’s 30-second, $2.5-million reminder to stand up and be counted.

That’s what the Census Bureau paid CBS to get their message notched somewhere between a National Lampoon reprisal, a weird dude with big glasses, a beer-can house and men without pants.

And, that’s just a fraction of what the bureau plans to spend this year to get Americans to answer a simple, 10-question survey.

The bureau is spending $133 million between January and May — or, more than $13 million for each of 10 questions, one of which reads: What is your telephone number? — to publicize the national head-count. Part of that effort is the Super Bowl ad, which Kendall Johnson, a spokeswoman for the bureau, confirmed Wednesday to cost $2.5 million to air.

Come on, this is ridiculous. Not only did they buy air time, they did it on the most expensive program of the year. How can he explain this away? What is the benefit of this ad to Joe Q Taxpayer? None. With the ad, they are trying to get people to fill out a small questionnaire from the Census Bureau. How many jobs did it create? Maybe a couple extra bean counters. Was that all worth $2.5 million for 30 seconds of air time? Hell, no!

What's even sadder is that this is just a drop in the bucket compared to the $133 million they're spending over 5 months to promote the Census.

We Aren't Spending Enough: House Raises Deficit Spending Ceiling By Another $1.9 Trillion, Receives No GOP Support/Update: Democrats Applaud

One week after Obama declared a "spending freeze" on "non-security discretionary spending", the House has voted to spend $1.9 Trillion morethan we have ever spent before:

The House on Thursday voted to allow the government to go $1.9 trillion deeper in debt — or about $6,000 more for every U.S. resident.

The measure, approved 217-212, would raise the cap on federal borrowing to $14.3 trillion. That's enough to keep Congress from having to vote again before the November elections on an issue that is feeding a sense among voters that the government is spending too much and putting future generations under a mountain of debt to do it.

The legislation only passed by 5 votes. After you take into account that not one Republican voted for the bill, Pelosi would have had keep her fellow Democrats in line and not have too many defections in order to pass it. She barely managed to get just enough. However, not all Democrats were amused by this passing:

"I can't think of a more reckless or irresponsible act. Defaulting is not an option," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. "If the United States defaults, investors will lose confidence that the U.S. will honor its debts in the future.

There had to be a provision added to the bill in order to get just enough Democrats on board to pass the bill. However, it seems to be punishing the wrong people, if Congress overspends the ceiling, the American people:

To help win passage, Democrats are also adopting — in a vote later Thursday afternoon — budget rules designed to curb a spiraling upward annual deficit — projected by Obama to hit a record $1.56 trillion for the budget year ending Sept. 30. The new rules would require future spending increases or tax cuts to be paid for with either cuts to other programs or equivalent tax increases.

If the rules are broken, the White House budget office would force automatic cuts to programs like Medicare, farm subsidies and unemployment insurance. Current rules lack such teeth and have commonly been waived over the past few years at a cost of almost $1 trillion.

So, if you are a farmer, a senior citizen, or unemployed, screw you. They're going to steal your money and spend it on whatever they want to spend it on. Congress can spend your money better than you can. To be fair, Medicaid, Social Security and food stamps will be exempt from the cuts, but the cuts that would be made would hurt those who are hurting from the bad economy the most. They should find somewhere else to cut spending.

The article goes on to point out that, in a few years, taxes would have to be raised in order to pay for this spending frenzy.

This spending orgy is getting way out-of-line. We need to be spending less on frivlous pet projects not spending more.

Update: The Democrats applaud getting the ability to spend more of your children's money:

Food For Thought: Scientists Communicate With People That Have Been in a Coma For Years: Remember Terri Schiavo?

This just something that I saw that I found very interesting and should be seen by all those who have to make the tough life-and-death decision about whether or not to pull the plug.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Weeks Before Going to Vegas to Campaign For Reid Obama Tells People Not to Spend Money In Vegas, Again, Update: Las Vegas Mayor Says That Obama's a "Slow Learner"

Two weeks after it was announed that Obama will go to Nevada to campaign for the Democratic Majority Leader of the Senate Harry Reid, Obama has the brilliant idea of speaking bad of an industry that is critical to Nevada's economy, yet again. It's sad to see that Obama didn't learn his lesson the first time that he criticized Americans spending money in Las Vegas, but I guess not:

President Obama is catching heat from Nevada lawmakers and business leaders regarding his comments Tuesday criticizing trips to Las Vegas.

During the president's town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire, he discussed the need to curb spending during tough economic times.  "When times are tough, you tighten your belts," the president said. "You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college."

While his overall point of not spending foolishly is valid, he should probably steer clear of focusing on all his critical remarks at one particular city, especially one that he'll need in November to get Reid re-elected.

These remarks have drawn sharp retorts from many representatives from Nevada, including the Las Vegas Mayor:

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said during a hastily called news conference that Obama is no friend to Las Vegas and would not be welcomed here if he visits.

"I'll do everything I can to give him the boot," Goodman said. "This president is a real slow learner."

Goodman and others are worried that Obama's words will discourage visitors from coming to Las Vegas and depress the industry further.

"Enough is enough!" Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley said in a statement. "President Obama needs to stop picking on Las Vegas and he needs to let Americans decide for themselves how and where to spend their hard-earned vacation dollars."

It even caused Harry Reid, the man that Obama will go campaign for later this month, to go after the president:

Reid, one of Obama's closest allies, issued a statement headlined "Reid to Obama: 'Lay off Las Vegas'" and was unusually blunt in his reaction.

"The President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money," Reid said. "I would much rather tourists and business travelers spend their money in Las Vegas than spend it overseas."

Mayor Goodman really took Obama to school in response to the president's statement. In fact, he went so far to say that the President of the United States was no longer welcome in his city because of his comments, and if he did show up he would "give him the boot back to Washington and to visit his failures back there."

Unemployment is already high there, and discouraging people from going there for vacations will just force the tourism industry to layoff even more workers. Good job, Obama.

Comedy Gold: Gloria Allred Chastises Tebow Pro-Life Ad For Not Including "All The Facts", Megyn Kelly Exposes Her Hypocrisy

Gloria Allred is all in a huff about the Tim Tebow pro-life ad that will air during the Super Bowl because they didn't mention that abortions were illegal, when Tebow's mother decided to have the 2007 Heisman winner despite the fact that it would endanger her own life and will go after CBS, if the end up airing the ad. However, Gloria, apparently, didn't do any research herself because, as Megyn Kelly points out it was legal in the Philippines, if the mother's life was in danger, which it was. Plus, she torched on Allred's attempt at violating Tebow and his mother's right of free speech. You can tell by the venom coming out of Ms. Allred that she clearly despises anyone that would dare to challenge the sanctity of abortion would be willing to violate people's free speech to protect it. Even though she claims that she is respects abortion opponents free speech, she says that she will "go after" CBS, if they air it. How is that respecting the Tebow's and CBS' free speech rights, if she goes after people for saying something that she doesn't agree with and tries to stop them from saying it? It just boggles the mind.

Video: Rick Santorum: Obama's Claim of Not Being An Ideologue Is Like Nixon Claiming "I'm Not A Crook"

Here's a palate cleanser for you. You have to wait until about the 5:20 mark of the video, but you will hear the former Republican senator from Pennsylvania and current FNC contributor liken Obama to Nixon regarding the president's claim of not being an ideologue that he made last Friday, when he was speaking with the Republican caucus. Santorum made the comparison on the Hannity show, when they were discussing whether or not Americans are beginning to distrust Obama.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gibbs Does Alot of Assuming About Obamacare

The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, made some very interesting assumptions about Obamacare:

“We're one vote away from getting health care reform,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. “We think it's good policy…The President has said we should be realistic about what our assumptions are, but also assume -- if we're going to propose something, I don't think it makes much sense to not assume that it should be in the budget.”

The first problem with that is the legislation has stalled especially in the Senate. Harry Reid says that there's "no rush" to pass the bill. Why is there no rush? Well, it's probably because Democrats that are up for re-election this year, like Blanche Lincoln (AR), Russ Feingold (WI),and Reid himself, are getting walloped by their constituents at home, especially in traditionally red states. Even those not up for re-election this year, Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson, are feeling the heat for their votes. Not to mention that people have lost faith in the bill.

Let's get to what he was main aspect of the budget that he was referring to in that statement:

President Obama’s budget projects $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade – some of which comes from health care reform legislation.

“We took a very simple approach,” said Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag. “Since both the House and Senate had passed legislation, we took the average of the two” using numbers from the Congressional Budget Office.

That means the administration is counting on $150 billion in deficit reduction from a health care reform bill that is -- for now -- stalled in Congress with no clear path forward.

Basically, Obama is taking credit for an alleged reduction in the deficit that most likely won't happen. This type of misinformation is what has become all too typical from this Administration. In reality, he is a spendthrift not a deficit hawk. He trying perform a magic trick that David Copperfield wouldn't dare to try: making the American people believe that he's worried about the deficit.

Bad Timing or Another Cornhusker Kickback for Ben Nelson's Support for Obamacare

There has been another questionable money transfer given to Nebraska power structure. This time was received by Nebraska Democratic Party from the Democratic National Party only four days after Sen. Nelson's "yes" vote for the Senate's healthcare reform bill:

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: The timing doesn't look good. Four days after Sen. Ben Nelson voted in favor of the Senate health care reform bill, the Democratic National Committee cut a $459,000 check to the Nebraska Democratic Party, which was promptly used to tout Nelson’s "courageous" vote. Three days later, the DNC sent the Nebraska party another $20,000.

The transfer is noted in the last FEC filings and was first noticed by the left-leaning Americablog, which says the payment looks like a "payoff": “I'm sure a lot of Democratic candidates running in 2010 would appreciate that kind of spending on their behalf, too. Nelson, however, isn't up for reelection until 2012, so why get the money now, only four days after Nelson voted for the weakened health care bill?”

The DNC says this was not a payoff; it was an effort to defend Nelson in the face of unrelenting attacks by critics of health care reform.

“We, the Democratic Party, were defending a Democratic senator from attacks from the health insurance industry and other special interests for his support of reform. Senator Nelson is not the first Democrat we have defended from these attacks and he will not be the last. We've spent money directly in support of House Democrats who have supported reform in the form of TV and radio ads and we've also worked with state parties to defend Democrats like Senators Nelson, Lincoln and Dorgan who have stood up to the insurance industry in support of reform,” said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan.

The DNC gives money to every state's parties at one time or another. So, having the national party give a state's party money is not odd. It is the timing that makes this very suspicious. This didn't happen a month after the vote or 6 months, or even a year. It was four freaking days. The only thing that might make it seem unrelated is the fact that Nelson is not up for re-election until 2012. Still, the coincidental timing is too much to ignore.