Archive for March, 2010

School choice in New Jersey?

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Eileen Norcross reports,

A bill has been proposed in the New Jersey Senate to offer scholarships to children in “chronically failing” public schools.

Under The Opportunity Scholarship Act private corporations would fund the scholarships in exchange for tax credits.The program would save taxpayers between $40 million and $80 million in one year. About 205 schools largely located in Camden, Newark and Paterson meet the critiera. A few schools in Gloucester and Burlington counties also qualify.

The New Jersey Education Association remains opposed. They argue the measure is a voucher program which will result in even worse public schools. Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a co-sponsor of the legislation sees it the other way. The scholarships will save private schools. In the past ten years, 40,000 private schools have closed, leading to higher public school enrollments and bigger tax bills.

I am a big believer in school choice, and actually all members of my immediate family have attended private schools out of necessity. This bill would mean that children through the state would have a better opportunity to succeed in school, and in life.

Losing jobs like there’s no tomorrow

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Private Payrolls Dropped in March
Factory Orders Increased Last Month

Private-sector jobs in the U.S. dropped by 23,000 this month, according to a national employment report published Wednesday by payroll giant Automatic Data Processing Inc. and consultancy Macroeconomic Advisers.

The ADP survey tallies only private-sector jobs, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ nonfarm payroll data, to be released Friday, include government workers. The addition of workers for the 2010 census is expected to lift federal government payrolls.

It points to a jobless recovery:

Census workers, hired for temporary work, were “the healthiest sector of the job market,” and Reason has 3 Reasons Why Public Sector Employees Are Killing The Economy:

Meanwhile, Ed found out that the Washington Post is blaming workers for lagging employment – because private sector workers are more productive.

Give everybody a government job, and we won’t have to worry about productivity at all.

Venezuela News and Views: 15 Minutes on Latin America

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern,
Guest blogger Daniel Duquenal of ​Venezuela News and Views​ talks about Chavez and the internet.

Drill for cap and trade?

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time (emphasis added)

The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.

Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.

The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska — nearly 130 million acres — would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.

The proposal is to be announced by President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Wednesday, but administration officials agreed to preview the details on the condition that they not be identified.

The proposal is intended to reduce dependence on oil imports, generate revenue from the sale of offshore leases and help win political support for comprehensive energy and climate legislation.

I translate that to mean “promise to drill, maybe, sometime, if you suckers pass cap and trade.”

How about the coal industry? Dan Riehl says,

It reminds me of Stupak’s executive order, more than anything else. Obama wants disastrous cap and trade policy, to shut down the coal industry – and one day, maybe, we get to drill for oil off our own coast, eventually, perhaps.

Yup. That’s the ticket.

In Rick Moran’s podcast

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Talking with friends Monica Showalter, James Joyner and Rick Moran in Rick’s podcast right now.

Sarko weighs in on healthcare

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

While doing his media thing in New York, Sarko weighed in on healthcare, saying,

“Welcome to the club of states who don’t turn their back on the sick and the poor,” Sarkozy said, referring to the U.S. health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama last week.

From the European perspective, he said, “when we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it’s difficult to believe.”

“The very fact that there should have been such a violent debate simply on the fact that the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them … is something astonishing to us.”

Then to hearty applause, he added: “If you come to France and something happens to you, you won’t be asked for your credit card before you’re rushed to the hospital.”

That’s IF you get to the hospital. Poor Princess Diana wasn’t rushed to the hospital even when she was clearly injured in a car accident.

But let us take a look back at that statement of Sarko’s, compared to a few hard facts on France’s healthcare: Almost exactly four years ago I did a roundup of articles from the BBC on France’s disastrous healthcare situation:

May 10, 2005

Hundreds of French surgeons have begun a symbolic “exile” in Britain to demand the right to charge higher fees

Jan 22, 2004

Thousands of French health workers have held a one-day strike to protest against government plans to cut costs in the country’s health system.

Jan 22, 2004

Doctors, nurses and other health professionals have taken to the streets of Paris to protest against government plans to cut back on a health service which has a projected overspend this year of eight billion pounds.

15,000 elderly and frail dead during a heat wave in 2003
Aug 14, 2003

With temperatures soaring above the 40C mark over a two-week period, France’s poorly-prepared hospitals never stood a chance,

since they lack air-conditioning.
Sept 9, 2003

French doctors have angrily hit back at an official report which said their “massive” holiday exodus last month had contributed to the heatwave tragedy.

Aug 13, 2003

A widow is demanding to know why her husband lay dying in a French hospital for nine days without his family being informed, say reports

Jan 3, 2002

Gynaecologists in France are refusing to carry out ultrasound scans on pregnant women after a court found they could be liable should a disabled child be born.

Jan 22, 2002

A national strike of hospital workers was called on Monday to protest about staff shortages after the introduction of a 35-hour working week.

Dec 30,2002

Doctors at French ski resorts are staging a 24-hour strike over complaints they are not paid enough for treating winter sports injuries.

At least half of patients in Europe with muscle or joint pain are not receiving treatment, research suggests.

The chronic shortage of doctors and medical personnel, the strikes, and the restricted treatments continue.

But, Sarko’s right: “Welcome to the club,” America.

Sarko does Columbia, heads to DC

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Bringing his own color-coordinated lectern yesterday, Sarko made a media appearance in front of a friendly audience, the Columbia University World Leaders forum,

Columbia organizers said the French provided their own white lectern and light gray rug for the speech, and also requested a special espresso machine.

The podium and rug complemented the color-coordinated French first couple – including his black suit and white tie and her wraparound black top, gray skirt and black-and-white umbrella.

In a change from the usual protocol, Sarkozy entered the Low Library by walking up the middle of the grand staircase that faces the Columbia campus, instead of from behind a gold curtain like most other speakers.

While at it he asked for more government intervention,

“The world needs an open America, a generous America, an America that shows the way, an America that listens,” he said, calling on the U.S. to champion firm regulations of financial systems, from tax havens to hedge funds.

So much for his old days of being a leader interested in promoting free enterprise.

Sarko and Carla made a big show of affection for the media,

After arriving in New York on Sunday, the presidential couple left their hotel with arms wrapped around one another, smiling for cameras and kissing before going to lunch at the Boathouse restaurant in Central Park with Sarkozy’s son from his second marriage, 12-year-old Louis, who goes to school in New York.

There are [LANGUAGE WARNING: LINK NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK] rumors about the marriage.

Let’s hope the perineal training was worth it and things work out between the two.

Meanwhile, Carla and Sarko are having dinner with Michelle and Obama tonight. Michelle Obama’s Mirror hopes Carla wears underwear.

Sometimes the news cycle outdoes the tawdry reality shows in the battle of the botox. This is one of those times.

Everything Obama says has an expiration date, except for 1 thing

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Jim Geraghty has The Complete List of Obama Statement Expiration Dates – complete as of today, but considering it’s early in the second year of the Obama regime term, we can expect plenty more to come.

Here are a few items:

RECOVERY.GOV

STATEMENT: “We will launch a sweeping effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government, and every American will be able to see how and where we spend taxpayer dollars by going to a new website called recovery.gov.” – President Obama, January 28, 2009

EXPIRATION DATE: “More than two months after some of the funds were released, [Recovery.gov] offers little detail on where the money is going… The government [spent] $84 million on a website that doesn’t have a search function, when its purpose is to ‘root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government.’” April 2, 2009

Eighteen from his first 100 days:

1. “As President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

2. “I will make sure that we renegotiate [NAFTA].

3. Opposed a Colombian Free Trade Agreement because advocates ignore that “labor leaders have been targeted for assassination on a fairly consistent basis.”

4. “Now, what I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.”

5. “If we see money being misspent, we’re going to put a stop to it, and we will call it out and we will publicize it.

6. “Yesterday, Jim, the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off.”

7. “I want to go line by line through every item in the Federal budget and eliminate programs that don’t work, and make sure that those that do work work better and cheaper.”

8. “[My plan] will not help speculators who took risky bets on a rising market and bought homes not to live in but to sell.”

9. “Instead of allowing lobbyists to slip big corporate tax breaks into bills during the dead of night, we will make sure every single tax break and earmark is available to every American online.”

10.We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress’s seniority, rather than the merit of the project.”

11. “If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime.  I repeat: not one single dime.”

12. “Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe the United States has to be frank with the Chinese about such failings and will press them to respect human rights.”

13. “We must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.”

14. “Lobbyists won’t work in my White House!

15. “The real gamble in this election is playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expecting a different result.”

16. “I’ll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we’ll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills.”

17. “Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.” Obama is 1-for-11 on this promise so far.

18. A special one on the 100th day, “the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do.”

The 1 thing with no expiration date? Lonely Conservative has it,

Okay, not everything. When he talks of redistributing wealth, there’s no expiration date. The problem there is, when one sets out the redistribute wealth all one does is destroy wealth, ie: the poor don’t get rich, the rich get poorer. And opportunities for the poor disappear.

Sadly, yes.

Ecuador: Correa’s brand of chavismo

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

The bolivarian rot spreads to Ecuador, writes Michael Moynihan (emphasis added):

Correa Visits Havana Wax MuseumSo what do the committed democrats in Ecuador do when confronted with a “politically partisan” media opposed to things “that the electorate voted for”? How about a three year stint in the clink for counterrevolutionary opinion editors! (Incidentally, using Weisbrot’s rickety logic, Amy Goodman should have been kicked off the air for her partisan criticism of a twice-elected president. Or are Americans more mature consumers of opinion journalism, who can separate truth from fiction, wheat from chaff, unlike those easily manipulated Latin Americans?) Writing at Cato’s @Liberty blog, Gabriela Calderon de Burgos explains the case of Emilio Palacio, opinion page editor of Ecuador’s largest daily El Universo, who was sentenced to a three year prison stint for an editorial the government claimed was defamatory:
Palacio accused Camilo Samán, director of a state-owned bank, of having sent protesters to El Universo’s offices after the newspaper reported on possible acts of corruption at the bank. The President has repeatedly stated that Palacio should be punished for what he wrote. In a country where everybody knows that the courts are not independent of political power, it’s not surprising that the ruling went against the editor.

I have known Palacio since I began writing op-eds for El Universo in late 2006. Although we hardly ever agree on policy issues, I certainly don’t believe he (or anyone else) deserves to go to jail (and possibly pay a fine of $3 million) for expressing an opinion. (The court actually found Palacio guilty of libel, but even if we were to agree with that finding, the punishment surely does not fit the crime.)

Correa’s government has accused at least 31 people of offending “the majesty of the presidency,” jailing many of them for short periods of time. To do so, the President revived a law that the first military dictatorship of the 1970s put into place that made such an offense a crime and that was never taken off the books.

For details on Correa’s previous harassment of El Universo click here. Radio Sucre reports that the government’s attack on Palacio has achieved its goal; the sentence has “put the media on alert” that it must watch what it says.

Correa’s brand of chavismo? Monkey see, monkey do.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

Real Members of Congress: Charlie Rangel

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Via Instapundit,