Monthly Archives: April 2013

Housing Bubble – Government Creation Part II

Housing Bubble

A teaser:

First, Clinton:

Former president Bill Clinton said it best in 2008. “I think the responsibility the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was president to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

And then Artur Davis:

“Like a lot of my Democratic colleagues I was too slow to appreciate the recklessness of Fannie and Freddie. I defended their efforts to encourage affordable homeownership when in retrospect I should have heeded the concerns raised by their regulator in 2004. Frankly, I wish my Democratic colleagues would admit when it comes to Fannie and Freddie, we were wrong.

It’s not even close.

Gun Control: Obama Fail?

Barack Obama

Obama lost the gun debate recently.  Now, there is some discussion as to whether he was playing politics or really trying to pass new regulations concerning the purchase of guns.

In either case, it’s hard to argue that he won or scored points.

And yeah, Obama smarted.  He was visibly upset and even took offense to the notion that he used the Newtown families as props.  “As if” he claimed.

But he did:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzhDY9Sh2Og

If you believe that politics were at play, that the plan was to pass the bill in the senate and then have it fail in house only to pin the republicans as killers, he failed.  The senate is under democrat control and he couldn’t even get all of THEM to vote with him.

However, if you are less cynical and think that Obama was really trying to pass legislation that would impact guns and how they are bought and sold, well, again, he failed.  Not one new regulation even moved out of the upper chamber for consideration by the house.

Why?

Well, Reid and Obama didn’t want debate:

A word, first, about that Senate “minority.” Majority Leader Harry Reid was free to bring the deal struck by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey to the floor for an up-or-down vote, and this background-checks amendment might have passed. It did convince 54 Senators, including four Republicans.

But under Senate rules, a simple majority vote would have opened the measure to up to 30 hours of debate, which would have meant inspecting the details. The White House demanded, and Mr. Reid agreed, that Congress should try to pass the amendment without such a debate.

No debate – no up-or-down vote.

Oh yeah, there is a ton of talk about the filibuster being used to defeat any gun legislation, but every time democrats bring that argument into play, it’s important to point out that Reid doesn’t allow amendments to bills he DOES bring to the floor:

Majority rules would have also opened the bill to pro-gun amendments that were likely to pass. That would have boxed Mr. Reid into the embarrassing spectacle of having to later scotch a final bill because it also contained provisions that the White House loathes. So Mr. Reid moved under “unanimous consent” to allow nine amendments, each with a 60-vote threshold.

The White House was right to worry. An amendment from John Cornyn of Texas that would have required all states to recognize every other state’s concealed-carry permits earned 57 votes, 13 Democrats among them. The nearby table has the list. On Thursday, Wyoming’s John Barrasso offered an amendment to protect gun ownership privacy that passed 67-30.

Obama didn’t want amendments.

And while the bill has language that prohibits the creation of a national registration, there was language that didn’t demonstrate intent:

Manchin-Toomey was rushed together on a political timetable, and a thorough scrub would have revealed that its finer legal points aren’t as modest as liberals claim. Tellingly, the White House blew up earlier negotiations with Tom Coburn on background checks. The Oklahoma Republican favored more and better checks across secondary firearms markets like gun shows and online, but liberals insisted that federally licensed dealers had to keep records.

But did the GOP do nothing but resist?

The Senate GOP offered an alternative background-checks amendment that failed 52-48. Nine Democrats were in favor, but their colleagues voted en masse to block it from moving forward. How’s that for incoherent?

Hardly.

Whatever Obama’s agenda was, political brinksmanship or honest to goodness legislating, he failed.  And gun regulation is a biggie.  Or was.

Drug Testing Welfare

Republicans in North Carolina are advancing a bill that would require drug tests for welfare recipients:

Raleigh, N.C. — Applicants the welfare program known as WorkFirst would need to pass a drug test before enrolling in the program under a bill that passed the state Senate Monday night.

The measure, which passed 35-15, now goes to the House.

There are currently 21,124 people in North Carolina enrolled in WorkFirst, a program that provides cash payments to people looking for jobs. It is targeted to the parents of young children.

“Every kid in North Carolina deserves to live in a drug-free home,” said Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon, the bill’s sponsor.

Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash, said the bill violates the U.S. Constitution because it calls for a blanket search of people who haven’t otherwise raised suspicion.

The measure requires those seeking benefits to pay for the drug tests. If the tests are negative, applicants would be reimbursed for the tests. If they test positive, they would be ineligible for benefits. At an average of $100 per person for testing, the state could be liable for reimbursements of more than $2.1 million.

“The impact of this bill, if not the intent, is to hurt the most vulnerable,” Bryant said.

I think that Angela Bryant is wrong.  It doesn’t violate the US Constitution.  New York is allowed to search the homes of gun owners, NC can require tests for people who wanna take state aid.  And she’s wrong regarding intent.  No one wants to hurt anyone.

The intent of the bill is to prevent state money, tax payer money, from going towards the purchase of drugs.  Plain and simple.

With ALL of that being said, the bill is wrong minded.  The reason, a large reason, that people are in need of help to begin with is the fact that they are hooked on drugs.  These folks need help, addiction help, not a push away from that help.  Wanna test for drugs?  Sure, but then offer rehabilitation services to get these folks off of those drugs.  Otherwise…well, otherwise they go underground, keep using, keep hurting their kids and never getting help.

Republicans are wrong here.  But, BUT, democrats need to admit that society is willing to help someone out, to get back on their feet.  We are not door mats just waiting to give our money to folks that will just flush it down the toilet.

Sequestration: Impacts

Fiscal Cliff

The cuts are becoming more pronounced now.  The mandatory budget cuts are kicking in and the public is starting to feel the impact.  Perhaps the most visible example are the flight delays:

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney)

Air travelers headed into New York’s LaGuardia Airport were facing two hour delays on Tuesday morning.  By Tuesday afternoon La Guardia’s delays had improved by as much as an hour for some flights.

With fewer air traffic controllers showing up to work, the government has warned of problems at several large airports including those in the New York area, Los Angeles, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Las Vegas. The Department of Transportation warned that those airports are facing “staffing challenges” on Tuesday.

However, Sequestration not impacts the public, it impacts the folks being furloughed.   And the other day, Reuters had a story on just such events:

(Reuters) – The government’s effort at cutting spending across the board is hurting a population once considered among the most financially stable – dual income families where both partners are government employees.

Starting on Monday, employees at agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration and the Office of Management and Budget will be required to take unpaid days off – a consequence of the U.S. government’s sequestration budget cuts. These forced furloughs come on top of the first round of cuts that began on March 1, and they will reduce some workers pay by as much as 12 percent a month.

Twelve percent is a sizable amount, to be sure.  And it’s ballpark correct.  I mean, if folks are being given 1 day off every other week, that’s 2 days a month, maybe a little more over time.  And with about 4 weeks per month, that comes to about 20 working days per month, add 1 for love and ya get 21.  2 out of 21 is about 10%, a little less.  So yeah, maybe 12% is high, but not by much.

However, the specific example cited by Reuters struck me as strange:

The cuts, which include decreased work hours for federal employees, hiring and pay freezes and layoffs, hit hard couples like Laurie and Jack Swensen, FAA employees in Kansas City, Missouri. When they both start furloughs next week, the couple will earn $1,900 less every month. The cuts come just as they were making moves to buy a house, said Laurie Swensen.

So, if the Swensens are among the hardest hit, taking 12% of their salary, that means they normally bring home $15,833.  A MONTH!  That’s an annual take home of $190,000.  I’m not sure that using a couple in the top 5% of American take home pay is the subject for such sorrow.

But it continues:

With six family members, including their eldest son and his pregnant wife, living in a two-bedroom rental home, the Swensens were eager to move. But the furloughs and subsequent pay freezes have forced the family to reconsider.

We have 4, FOUR, working age adults living in a single 2-bedroom home.  We know that the two parents bring home near 200k a year and who knows how much the kids make.  And we’re somehow supposed to feel a tug?

At least I’m not the only one who noticed, the article is getting hammered in the comments.

NC Governor 9th Most Conservative Republican Governor

Pat McCrory

It turns out that our new republican governor, Pat McCrory, is fairly conservative:

Gov. Pat McCrory is among the nation’s more conservative Republican governors, according to Nate Silver, the political blogger and prognosticator for The New York Times.

In an article about the nation’s 30 Republican governors, Silver attempts to measure them on their conservatism – no easy task since they don’t have a voting record like members of Congress do. But Silver measures them based on public statements, the identity of their donors, and where applicable, their congressional voting record.

He rates McCrory as the ninth most conservative Republican. He is more conservative than Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Ohio Gov John Kasich, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, among others.

To McCrory’s right are Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter.

I surprised by some of the names.  For example, I would have thought that Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal would have been to his right.  Same for Kasich and Rick Scott.  On the other side, I would have guessed McDonnell, Branstad and maybe Pence to be more liberal.

Not sure what it means, especially since McCrory has only been in office for less than 4 months, but….Nate says so.

Wherein Pino Is Official

I was debating the role of the state with Nickgb when he pointed out a fact that I need to correct:

Man, I think you are the only conservative/republican in the country who feels that marriage ought to be a federal issue

I need to set the record straight.  I got this in the mail just the other day:

Pino Voter ID

I am horribly dismayed that the abbreviation of Libertarian is LIB, however, that being the case, I am officially a Libertarian here in North Carolina.

Perhaps I need to rebrand as Tarheel Purple?

And So Is The Beginning Of The End Of The NFL

I can’t say I don’t have mixed feelings:

“A Colorado jury has awarded $11.5 million in a lawsuit originally brought against helmet maker Riddell and several high school administrators and football coaches over brain injuries suffered by a teenager in 2008.” While the jury rejected the plaintiff’s claim of design defect, it accepted the theory that the helmet maker should have done more to warn of concussions. “The jury assessed 27 percent of the fault for Rhett Ridolfi’s injuries, making the company responsible for paying $3.1 million of the damages.” Riddell has been hit with a wave of lawsuits from both school and professional football players.

It’s over people.

Obamacare in One Picture

Impact of Obamacare

Via Coyoteblog

The immediate impact of the legislation is due to the fact that it wasn’t until Christmas eve in the middle of a snowstorm that the democrats wheeled a dying 117 year old man to vote that this was a done deal.

Bombing Suspect: The Hopes of the Left

Salon

A day after the tragedy in Boston, David Sirota summed up the collective hopes and prayers of the left:

Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American

In a way and manner, I guess I’m glad he’s honest enough to admit what the collective is feeling.  However, why does he think this?

Likewise, in the context of terrorist attacks, such privilege means white non-Islamic terrorists are typically portrayed not as representative of whole groups or ideologies, but as “lone wolf” threats to be dealt with as isolated law enforcement matters. Meanwhile, non-white or developing-world terrorism suspects are often reflexively portrayed as representative of larger conspiracies, ideologies and religions that must be dealt with as systemic threats — the kind potentially requiring everything from law enforcement action to military operations to civil liberties legislation to foreign policy shifts.

This is utter bullshit.

The reason that the United States treats different groups who engage in terrorism differently is not because of where the person comes from or what religion they are, it’s because of how that society deals with the terrorist.  Here in America we kill them.  In other nations, they harbor them and give them asylum.  THAT is the difference.

And if you’re not convinced of that, consider how the United States has treated these two guys:

Timothy McVeigh

And then this guy:

Hassan Nadal

In one case, the guy is executed.  In the other, the guys isn’t even accused of terrorism.

This Guy, The Incredulity

Barack Obama

Tonight Obama loses.  The rest of us…?  Mixed bag.  There were good things in the gun bill that was defeated, but there were others not so good.

But Obama?

After the vote, a defiant Obama appeared in the White House Rose Garden with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Vice President Biden and family members of victims in last year’s Newtown, Conn., shooting rampage, which killed 20 children.

A visibly irritated Obama ripped the GOP and groups that opposed the Manchin-Toomey amendment, saying they “willfully lied” about the contents of the background-check bill. He added that the vote represented a “pretty shameful day for Washington.”

Having lied his way through the Obamacare debate, I find it ironic that The Barackness Monster would feel shocked, just SHOCKED I tell you, that someone lied.

As if.