Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Friday, March 18, 2011

Crooks and Liars Blogger Suzy Madrak Lives up to the Name

I found this article flagged in my feed reader:

War On The Poor: Minnesota Republicans Want To Bust Poor People Who Carry Cash

By Susie Madrak

They're not just crazy, they're evil -- and un-Christian, should they have the audacity to claim otherwise. If only we could force them to live like this, they wouldn't last a week:

St. Paul, MN – Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.

Wow, how heartless! What evil monsters! What loathsome bastards!

What a load of crap!

While Suzy didn't link to the actual legislation, google is my friend and I found it pretty easily.

I'm sure you'll be as shocked as I was to find that it was a perfectly reasonable piece of legislation designed to ensure that State monies given to the poor for their support were used appropriately. In other words, no whiskey, no cigs, and no drugs. There's nothing in the law that says they can be arrested for having more than $20 in their pocket, as claimed by Fight Back article Suzy links to. Instead, it says that the Electronic Benefit Card will be limited to allowing cash withdrawals of only $20 a month.

Why is this restriction necessary? Way back a long time ago, I was the night clerk at a mini-mart. In what was a nightly routine, 4 young kids would come in, each with a 1 dollar food stamp. They would each buy a nickle piece of gum and take the 95 cents in change outside. As soon as the last child hit the door, an older man would come in with just under 5 dollars in change and use it to buy beer or cigarettes.

This wasn't a rare occurrence; it happened at least two or three times a night.

I worked in a grocery, and watched as women came in, used their EBT to buy diapers, then sold the diapers in the parking lot, returning to the store for beer or cigarettes.

The state has essentially three choices

  1. Ignore the fraud. Allow the recipients to spend the money on whatever they want. Then when the kids go hungry, give them some more money.

  2. Work to try and make the fraud harder to perpetrate. This may increase the burden on the honest folks receiving assistance, but by reducing fraud, the program itself becomes stronger.

  3. Cancel the program.

That's it. Those are the only options. The only one that makes sense is to fight the fraud. I'm sure that enterprising recipients of state money will find a way around this restriction as well, but at least it will be a little bit more difficult for them to do so.

This has nothing tom do with a war on the poor, or the GOP being heartless bastards and instead has everything to do with trying to make sure that the kids who are supposed to be getting the benefits of the state money actually do get the benefits.

That's not heartless; that's what real compassion looks like.

But you can't win propaganda points for your team unless you demonize everything the other side does, regardless of the merits. For the sake of the honest folks getting assistance in Minnesota, I hope this bill passes and keeps the programs solvent for a while longer.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Keeping it Civil: Conservative Vs Liberal Criticism

Yesterday, I found an article on Big Hollywood covering several Hollywood celebrities cracking jokes about the Japan earthquake/tsunami. I posted a link to the article on Facebook, and a friend posted a link to a similar piece from wonkette calling out a conservative for the same thing.

While my buddy was trying to point out that obnoxious stupidity isn't the exclusive property of the left, his choice of articles clearly illustrated their dominance in that regard.

In the Big Hollywood piece, after listing a few quotes from celebrities, and noting that Gottfried was fired, John Nolte wrote:
Free country. Free to mock. Free to terminate employment. Free to wonder how anyone could see or look for or attempt to mine humor and attention from the relentlessly heartbreaking images broadcast over the weekend.

That's it. No name calling; no snark; no hyperbolic rhetoric. Just a recitation of the facts, and the opinion that all those involved had the right to say what they said, and fire who they fired, followed by a fairly gentle protest against inappropriate humor.

Now, compare this to the wonkette piece:
Here’s something Sarah Palin will be super angry about until somebody (Willow?) tells her Haley Barbour is a Republican: Mississippi white pig Haley Barbour’s press secretary sends out a heehawlarious email news roundup “to Barbour’s staff and other allies” with fun jokes about Janet Reno looking like a man and all those Japs getting killed by the earthquake/nuclear apocalypse. Palin might even type a “Half u no shamez, Halle Barber?” on her Twitter or whatever! But Haley Barbour’s press secretary wants you to know that Haley probably doesn’t even read these things, because he is a six-hundred-pound klan-whale who can’t figure out the ‘puter, so he gets “printouts” of the email, and the jokes are probably not visible on the printouts because of … white southerners are dumb? Yes, let’s go with that, which is all we can figure from this Politico item.

Ben Smith pastes a chunk of these dumb, offensive emails into the Politico content management system:

Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for his single, “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay”. (Not a big hit in Japan right now.)

In 1993: Janet Reno was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the first female attorney general. (It took longer to confirm her gender than to confirm her law license.)

Ha ha, Otis Redding. Sounds like a colored name! (“But if he’s black, why did his mama name him ‘Redding,’ haw haw.”) Anyway, there’s your news item about Haley Barbour’s email list which is written by Haley Barbour’s press secretary and not Haley Barbour himself, because come on, Haley Barbour would have as much chance of success trying to type as a walrus would, using flippers, because Haley Barbour is so fat and racist. Anyway, nobody apologized or anything, because it’s your fault for always trying to cause trouble. God, it’s just an email making fun of the Japs getting killed in earthquakes. Did everybody forget Pearl Harbor already?

I'm really tempted to take this post apart, point out all the deliberate errors, but I don't really need to. It speaks for itself.

So, reading these two posts, which side do you think is practicing civility and which is just talking about it?

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

By the Way, Did You Catch That?

The monthly deficit for February was $222 billion dollars. And of that deficit, Republicans could only find about $10 billion to cut. That's embarrassing.

Sadly, when it comes to fiscal responsibility, the Democrats make the spendthrift Republicans look like valedictorians from Dave Ramsey's School of Financial Management. They said cutting anymore than $1 billion a month would be dangerous and irresponsible. I think putting either group in charge of any financial operation bigger than a corner lemonade stand is dangerous and irresponsible.

Posted by Rich
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Win in Wisconsin

A few quick comments first.

  • With labor union supporters swarming the state capitol, breaking into the building, blocking the doors to try and prevent the Assembly from meeting, death threats filed against Republican Senators and Assemblymen, violent rhetoric and calls for massive protests, we've discovered the new tone of civility sought by Democrats is based on the civility rampant in Paris during the French revolution.

  • When Democrats leave the state to avoid losing a vote, abdicating their responsibility to the people who elected them, they are considered heroes. When Republicans use a legal procedure to pass the legislation anyway, they are tyrants.

  • When a Republican proposes spending cuts to bring the state budget in line with other states, and collective bargaining rule changes that compare favorably to federal rules, he's a dictator on a level with Hitler. When a Democrat Senate proposes budget cuts of $10 billion over 6 months when the monthly deficit is $222 billion, they are called responsible.

It just goes to show that whether you're talking at a state level or a Federal level, Democrats cannot be taken seriously when it comes to balancing the budget. And before you come back at me saying that neither can republicans, I'll tell you right now that I agree with you. The only good thing I can say about Republicans is that fiscally, they aren't as bad as Democrats. Of course, that's like saying freezing to death is better then burning to death. Either way you're dead; one way just hurts less.

But that is why Wisconsin is a win, no matter what happens next. The people of Wisconsin voted for Walker and his fellow conservatives because they promised to do two things: ease unemployment and bring the budget under control. And that is exactly what Walker and the Republicans have done. One of his first acts in office was to create incentives for businesses to add workers. predictably, the left called these incentives tax cuts to the rich, but that's only because they didn't do them themselves. Had Democrats enacted identical legislation, they would have called it subsidizing job creation, and been happily holding hands and singing Kumbaya.

Next, Walker tackled the growing deficit by attacking the most out of control sector of public spending, salary and benefits for public workers. What most people don't realize, and the media sure as crap won't tell them, is that salary represents only a fraction of the cost of employment. Benefits make up a significant portion of the compensation package, and the public unions made sure that the package was lavish indeed. I'm ly not going into detail; it's available all over the net if you're interested, but public employees make significantly more than their private sector counterparts, and pay significantly less for their health care, pensions, and other benefits.

The reason they get such a sweetheart deal is clear; collective bargaining gives them an unfair advantage.

Here's how that looks. In a private union, management and labor each have their own agenda and they work to find a compromise that suits both sides. The two sides are completely independent with no conflict of interest. In a public service union, that isn't the case. Management, in this case, the legislators, is picked by labor. I know that if am going in to some tough negotiations, the ability to pick the guys on the other side of the table is nothing but good news for me. It becomes in his best interest to keep me happy or I may turn around and fire him.

This, plus all the federal regulations that give unions a tremendous advantage in collective bargaining results in what we're seeing in Wisconsin and many other states; underfunded pensions, rapidly escalating budget deficits and unhappy citizens who can't understand why their taxes keep going up while the service keeps going down. As long as public unions have this advantage, no matter what budget cuts the states pass, they will quickly find themselves back in the same hole. Scott Walker recognizes this, and is trying to implement a long term cost control solutions, one that will allow him to pay all the public employees, avoiding both lay-offs, and tax increases.

For this, the press and the teacher's unions call him Hitler.

Which tells me everything I need to know about the press and the teacher's union.

This is why even ardent labor supporters have been quoted as saying that public unions would never work. of course, that was back in the days when people actually gave a damn about the future, and thought that keeping the country viable was more important than lining their own pockets, when public service wasn't a euphemism for self service.

Today, that sentiment seems as outdated as stacked heels and polyester leisure suits.

Except now, Scott Walker has shown a streak of true public service. He did what he was elected to do, in the face of national opposition by trade unions, paid political hacks and the mainstream media, if I'm not being redundant there. He demonstrated a firm resolve to get the job done, a quality sadly lacking in most of our politicians, whose firm resolve lasts about as long as Hugh Hefner's after the Viagra wears off. But now, other states are following Walker's lead, passing short term fixes and long term solutions, giving me a faint hope that we just might slide through this crisis and remain solvent for another few years, at least long enough for me to get my garden fully established.

We'll just have to see how strong the push back is, and whether America is truly addicted to the hand out mentality.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, October 09, 2009

Those Silly Democrats!

So, let me get this straight. The Milli Vanilli President was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize after his two weeks in office for his efforts to reach out to America's enemies, who are now blasting the Nobel Prize committee (figuratively,not literally...yet) for giving him the award for reaching out to him. Meanwhile, the DNC is charging anyone who comments on the idiocy of giving him the prize a few months later with being in league with America's enemies.

While it's nice to see the DNC finally recognizing that America has enemies, they are sounding just like the Bush administration. "If you don't honor the President for this empty achievement, then you are aligned with terrorists."

What a bunch of hypocrites.

Posted by Rich
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The Milli Vanilli President

How is a Nobel Peace Prize like a Grammy?

Apparently you can win either one without actually doing anything as long as you look good while not doing it.

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Getting Results

Apparently getting called out on national television has caught Obama's attention.

The AP is reporting that the White House is now backing the idea of verification before distributing benefits, an idea rejected by Democrats in the House. He may have been rude, but Joe Wilson's two words are still echoing in the White House.

You know, after watching the speech again, I get the impression that Obama may not actually know much about the legislation his administration is pushing. When Wilson erupted, while Pelosi looked shocked and irritated, and Biden looked, well, like Biden, Obama looked confused, like he really thought that HR 3200 did what he said it did. Given the new direction by the White House, it feels almost as if he read the legislation for the first time, realized that Wilson was right, and moved to correct the oversight. This isn't as far-fetched a supposition as you might think. Remember, this is the president who had to have his own executive orders explained to him as he signed them.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

More Obama Math

This morning, I heard on the radio that the Obama Administration is claiming that their policies have saved or created 1 million jobs. I thought to myself, "Self, that can't be right. I know that unemployment has been going up and that jobs are disappearing right and left. Surely the White House wouldn't be stupid enough to believe that Americans wouldn't notice a lie this big!"

I was wrong. They are that stupid. (Notice I'm linking to NPR, to avoid any claims of right wing bias of my source.)

White House economists said Thursday the Obama administration's recovery efforts have saved or created more than one million jobs so far.

Now this a couple of paragraphs later:

The report is certain to draw criticism because the U.S. economy has actually lost about 2.5 million jobs since the stimulus was signed in February. Because the White House number is based on economic models, it's impossible to say for certain what that number would have been without the stimulus.

We've lost 2.5 million jobs since the stimulus was signed, yet the White House claims that if they hadn't acted, we would have lost another 1 million jobs. NPR says the truth of this claim is hard to judge because it is based on economic models. IN other words, instead of relying on real world fact6ual data, the Obama Administration prefers to guess. So let's see how well they guess. The next graph, from Innocent Bystanders, shows a comparison of the Obama Administration's economic forecasts predicting the effects of their stimulus package to the actual unemployment rate, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Notice that real unemployment data shows almost no relation to the projections made by the Obama team. Also notice that the point of inflection, where the rate of job losses begins to slow, occurs in the 2nd quarter of 2009, the same time it would have occured in the Obama team's projections if there were no stimulus package. Also notice that the slope of the unemployment data continues to mirror that of the projections without the Stimulus, not the projection of the effects of the stimulus package. Most importantly, notice that the Obama projection has unemployment peaking at just under 8%. According to the BLS, we're at 9.7%

14.9 million people out of work, 2.5 million of them since the stimulus package was signed, and this joker claims to have created a million jobs. He really thinks you are stupid enough to believe this lie.

Is he right?

Just how stupid are you?

Posted by Rich
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First Things First

What was it President Obama did right before Joe Wilson called him a liar?

Oh yeah, that's right, he called Republicans liars. He just used a lot more words to do so. He's articulate, don't you know.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

You Be The Judge

Yes, that's SC Rep Joe Wilson calling President Obama a liar during his speech to Congress, calling him out specifically on Obama's claim that "The reforms that I am proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally." So who is telling the truth?

Obama supporters point to Section 246 of HB 3200, which says:
H.R. 3200: Sec 246 — NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS: Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

So Obama was telling the truth, right? Not so fast sparky. All that this section says is that those here illegally will not get Federal subsidies to buy health insureance, but that is only one small part of Obama care. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

CNN noted that HR 3200 requires all individuals carry health insurance, and that there was no system for verification of legal residency built into the bill. Given that millions of illegal immigrants work in the US today using fraudulent documents, it's no stretch to imagine that they could use those same documents to obtain those subsidies. An amendment to add a verification process already in use to prevent those here illegally from enrolling in Medicare was defeated by Democrats. The loophole is there and the Democrats want it to stay there.

Jon Feere notes that illegal aliens are specifically exempted from the requirement to carry insurance and the mandatory fine the rest of us will pay for not carrying insurance. Yep, you heard right. If you or I decide we don't need health insurance, we will be fined by the Federal government. If an illegal alien doesn't want to carry coverage, that's OK with President Obama. And since, as James Edwards writes, those illegal immigrants will still receive medical care at the nation's hospitals and emergency rooms, they are getting a completely free ride at the taxpayer's expense.

Hmm...things are looking a litle dicey for the President. Now throw this inconvenient little fact into the mix: The President and his supporters are quick to claim that there are somewhere around 40 million uninsured people in America.

You hear Pelosi say it.
You hear Reid say it.
You here the New York Times say it.
You hear Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann say it.

What you won't hear them say, is that 10-12 million of that number is comprised of, you guessed it, illegal aliens. If Obama wasn't planning to cover them, why would he include them in that number? To dishonestly inflate the numbers in order to ease the passage of his plan?

Wouldn't that qualify as a lie?

As the refs say, upon further review, the ruling on the field stands. The President was telling a lie.

As somebody who has been known to speak truth to power, usually with a 200w amplifier and a full quiver of sarcasm, I fully empathize with Joe Wilson. I don't like being lied to. I don't like being manipulated by an empty suit bellowing emptier rhetoric. And after I've had a bellyful, polite behavior takes a back seat to integrity. Like the man said, "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining." I would just as soon the President tell me the truth, that in order to get this thing passed, and to get reelected come 2012, he needs the Latino vote, and that's why he's leaving massive loopholes in this bill and yes, lying about it.

UPDATE: By the way, for all of you hypocrites crying over the disrespect shown to the sitting President, what did you have to say on this day:

Yeah, that's what I thought.

UPDATE II: It's not just me. Wow. When even the Associated Press feels compelled to notice that a democrat is shading the truth, things must be getting pretty bad for President Obama.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, September 07, 2009

Obama Care in a Nutshell

Here's how it will work. The people who pay the least into the system but require the most from the system will see their benefits reduced. This will affect two groups.

The first group will be the elderly. As Obama himself has said, we need to decide whether to expend medical resources to help patients who may not have much life left to them. Instead of a hip replacement, they'll get pain meds instead as they wait in a hospice to die. The second group affected will be children with developmental problems, both physical and mental. As Zeke Emanuel, President Obama's Health Care Reform Adviser has written, since their societal usefulness will be limited, it's only fair that their ability to draw on society's resources should also be limited, so that the rest of the public might benefit from a more useful allocation of limited resources.

The irony here is that the group which pays the most into the health care system, young and middle aged adults, also use the least amount of the resources.

And that, my friends, raises a very interesting question. If we're raising all of this money through new taxes and such to fund health care, yet we're eliminating the primary consumers of the health care dollar, where will all of that lovely money go? If I were a cynical man, I'd bet that the insurance companies, the AMA, and the various legal groups who are backing this monstrosity might just be in line to benefit financially from this legislation, which should increase their income while limiting their outlays.

Ok, so I am a little cynical.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Brought to You by Those Folks who claim to Love Freedom of Speech.

I love the part at the end where that nice young brownshirt tells the sheep that "It's your meeting." So much for a public forum.

Of course, this only confirms what has been obvious throughout the Obama Presidency; the message is always managed, always controlled, and always scripted. There is a time and a place for spontaneity, but never when the cameras are rolling. President Obama lives and dies by the teleprompter not because he can't speak in public but because that's the best way to make sure he stays on scriipt.

The irony is that what the nice young brownshirt was doing is exactly what Pelosi and her folks have been claiming that conservatives are doing.

For those who want to object at my calling this guy a brownshirt, read your history. The attacks on dissenters have already begun, and given the Justice Department's treatment of the NBP thugs, I see nothing to stop them from escalating.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Next Stop, Arlington National Cemetary

Words fail me. There are a lot of mean, ugly people in the world, and apparently, the ACLU stands ready to aid every one of them.

Posted by Rich
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For Those Who Disapprove of my Kennedy Post

Teddy thought it was a laughing matter, so I'm sure he would be ok with me bringing it up.

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let’s Talk About Race

All the really cool kids are doing it, so let's join in.

My last post has stirred up some of my friends who think it is unfair and inaccurate and possibly over the top.

I agree with the last, but that's a feature, not a bug. Using Rep Watson's absurd rhetoric to lampoon the fawning media coverage of Obama's pitching prowess was just an added bonus. My first aim was to demonstrate just how ridiculous most Obama apologists are when they try to link all opposition to him to racism, which is exactly what Rep Watson said in this clip. Listen to it again if you don't believe me. She very clearly lays out her position that all opposition, not some or most, but all opposition is rooted in his racial identity, which is patently false. All you have to do is look at the opposition to government health care under the Clintons and compare it to the opposition today to see that it is the issue that drives the opposition, not the color of Obama's skin. To claim otherwise is dishonest, not to mention completely absurd. Her argument falls apart even earlier when she claims that wishing for a President to fail is the same as wishing for America to fail. Once again, listen to what she said while President Bush was in office. Apparently, she wanted America to fail back then.

To point out her hypocrisy and absurdity, I engaged in a bit of absurdity myself. Apparently, I was effective.

Look, I know there are people out there who oppose Obama based on his race. I have family members who voted Republican for the first time in their lives over that very issue. Notice what I just said; they voted Republican for the first time. Yes, they are life long, ardent Democrats.

So much for Rep Watson and her race baiting stereotypes.

The argument was made that blacks want to be identified by their race, and have that race treated as equal in every way to whites. If that were a true statement, I would have no problem with it. Unfortunately, all too often in the real world, we see that some want to take advantage of a perceived inequality to gain an unfair advantage. Take Jayson Blair as a prime example of this process in action. Or Obama himself. Every defense of his programs by his supporters carries with it the accusation of racism. Every single one. If you can defend his programs without ever bringing race into it, then I will respond with thoughtful criticism and there can be an exchange of ideas, because you will have demonstrated that the debate is about the ideas of the man, not the color of his skin. But But as long as some Obama supporters want to tell me that I'm a racist because I think his healthcare plan sucks, I will respond with scorn and ridicule, because they have proven that they don't have any real argument to present.

As far as wanting him to fail, it's not personal and it has nothing to do with his skin color. It has everything to do with what I see his policies doing to America over the next several decades. You can believe that or not; I know it to be true.

Posted by Rich
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