Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Did the UC Davis Protesters Provoke?

You know what they say about hind-sight? It has 20/20 vision. Looking back at the video of the UC Davis issue where the students got pepper-sprayed by UC Davis police for not leaving the campus after being told to do so, it is easy to see why they might have reacted the way they did. At the risk of sounding like I don’t know what the heck I am talking about, I do remember watching the videos the first go-around and thinking about the students in the background. I didn’t concern myself about the students sitting on the ground that were receiving the spray. After all, they were told to move, they were told if they didn’t they were going to get sprayed, they choose not to move, hence they choose to get sprayed. It is as simple as choosing one path over another. Regardless of the choice, there are consequences that one must take responsibility for.

If you look at the video, the campus police are surrounded by protesting students. The students were also asked to leave and they refused. They were violating campus policy by setting up the camps, which the head of the campus initially ignored. When the police were told to remove them, the students would not leave. So they got pepper sprayed.

Now comes along this video where one of the protesters basically said they provoked the pepper spray. It was their intended purpose all along.


I know that many of my readers are also readers of Patrice’s Rural Revolution blog, but just in case you missed or are one of the few who have not discovered her site I think you’ll enjoy this link.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mayor Threatens Tea Party

This is what you get when you stand up to the leftists and their Occupy movement:

Two weeks after the Richmond Tea Party delivered an invoice to Richmond (VA) Mayor Dwight Jones for cost incurred for previous rallies, we received a letter from the City of Richmond formally stating that the city is auditing our Tea Party. Coincidence? This audit is an obvious attempt to intimidate and harass us for standing up against the unfair treatment and discrimination against our Tea Party. Source: (Big Government)

Apparently, the City of Richmond has allowed the Occupy movement folks to use their park facilities at no charge, providing the protesters with free portable toilets and trash pickup. When the Tea Party hosted rallies their earlier this year, they paid for the permits, purchased their own sanitation services, and filed all paperwork properly.

The blog Virginia Right reported that the city provided services such as portable toilets, trash pickup, etc. The incomplete invoices obtained from the city total $7,000. This was only a portion of the actual costs to taxpayers because the costs of police, helicopter and incarceration were not included. Also not accounted for was the 24-hour police protection of the Mayor’s home after the Occupiers moved their camp next door to the Mayor’s house. The Richmond Tea Party, conversely, paid for all services for our rallies, including the police, portable toilets, park fees and permits, amounting to approximately $8,500. (Source: Big Government) (Bold emphasis PACNW Righty’s)

Please note the one glaring difference between the costs incurred by the Occupy movement vs. the Tea Party. There were no incarcerations for the Tea Party folks.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Arab Spring Turning Very Chilly

I wonder how the folks that supported the “Arab Spring”, like President Obama, feel now after dozens were killed earlier this week at last spring’s epicenter of the protests that forced Hosni Mubarak from power.

One week before Egypt’s much-anticipated parliamentary elections, the streets have turned to bedlam once again. The decision by the military, which has run the country since strongman Hosni Mubarak resigned in February, to crack down on the remnants of a massive protest on Friday have reignited large segments of the opposition – many of them young and jobless, and some wielding rocks – who have once again piled into Tahrir Square and its nearly environs, demanding the free and fair election they called for earlier this year.

Since Sunday, more than 1,500 have reportedly been injured and dozens killed. (Source: The Daily Beast)

With the ongoing troubles in Syria, the election of pro-Islamist governments in Tunisia and Morocco, this whole Arab Spring has been a no win situation for the Obama Administration and for the America people. When you included Obama’s nearly open hostility towards Israel, I really think we are headed for trouble in the region.

Gregoire Proposes Sales Tax Increase

I have blogged may times about the budget situation here in the Evergreen State. A special session of the state legislature has been called and will convene tomorrow in hopes of finding further budget cuts totaling nearly $2 billion.

In an effort to close the shortfall, Governor Christine Gregoire has called for additional taxes and fee increases. In what will probably be the most hotly debated increase is her proposal to temporarily increase the state sales tax by 1/2 percent, increasing the baseline sales tax to 7%. If the voters approve of this increase, Washington State would only trail California as the highest sales tax rate in the nation.

A couple of issues must be addressed before I could even begin to consider this tax increase. The biggest concern that I have is would this actually be a temporary increase, or would the politicians, who are mostly tax and spend democrats, attempt to keep this increase? I certainly would not hold my breath or trust the words of a politician. There must be some language written into the bill that would give us an iron-clad promise this increase would only be for the stated number of years (currently proposed for three years). Even if the economy continues to tank in three years (a distinct possibility if Obama gets reelected) the increase must go away AND only through voter approval could it continue.

The other concern I have is how the money would be spent. Would this increase just give the democrat-control legislature a license to spend? Or could it be directed at only those areas mostly in need? I am not sure if there are any sort of safeguards that could be put into place that would prevent the corruptocrats in Olympia from not being wise with our money. They certainly haven’t been able to do so thus far. I foresee these bungles of our money following the letter of the law: the increased revenue from the tax increase going towards what is required by the law. But I also see general funding being redirected towards pet projects and vote-buying schemes. Then we’ll be back at square one, but only with an increase in our sales tax to show for our troubles.

One thing to note here: If approved, folks living in certain sections of Seattle would see their sales tax increase to a full 10%

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blog Quiet for Thanksgiving

PACNW Righty is going to be silent for the next couple of days while I enjoy time with my family. And as that I work retail, of course I will be there when the doors open up Friday AM, Maybe not so bright-eyed, but very early.

Hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

1 Thessalonians, 5:18 “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (emphasis mine)

Climategate Again

While it is still early in the game, it looks like Climategate 2.0 has arrived. Another batch of emails from Michael Mann and others heavily invested in global warming/climate change has been released. From what I have been able to gather, these new emails are not quite as shattering as the initial release two years ago. But they do give a good insight into the thinking of these folks.

One snippet indicates that one of the folks may have deleted emails to avoid Freedom Of Information Act requests. Now why would you do something like that unless what you had was damaging? Just askin'.

The climate blog Watts Up With That has the story with periodic updates. It is well worth your time to take a gander.

Reason Comes to Life

The other day I posted a little ditty called “Why I Vote Democrat”. One of the lines was I vote democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

Lo and behold, the very liberal Governor of Oregon John Kitzhaber (D) has decided not to allow any executions while he is Governor. Interestingly enough, he is quite pro-choice, which is another way of saying he supports unfettered access to abortions.

So let me get this straight, he is against the death penalty, yet supports the lawful execution of the unborn. On the one hand it fails the "basic standards of justice" and on the other it is OK to use abortion as a means of birth control, oh, I mean basic reproductive rights. He is against the killing of someone who has committed a heinous crime, yet has no issue with the death of the innocent.

I point out this not as a way to get a pro life/pro choice argument started, but as a way to point out the possibility of a discrepancy.

I do want to let you all know that I am not a 100% supporter of the death penalty. I do believe it has its uses, but there are enough issues to give me pause. However, I am not a supporter of abortion except for extreme cases (incest, danger to mother, rape), but still struggle with an outright ban (limited government interference in our lives). Oddly enough, my views on both have evolved over the years as I have aged and mellowed (somewhat).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Solyndra Workers to Receive Taxpayer Assistance

As if throwing money at a company that was already sinking fast wasn’t bad enough, the federal government is now going to give employees affected by Solyndra going under will be eligible for government assistance in getting job retraining and income assistance.

The labor department announced today that it had approved Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for the former employees of the bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra.

That means all of the firm’s 1,100 ex-employees are eligible for federal aid packages, including job retraining and income assistance. The department has valued packages at about $13,000 a head ($14.3 million total). (Source:

The TAA is a program that compensates businesses and employees impacted by unfair trade practices committed by foreign companies that compete with American businesses. Solyndra and other US solar panel companies are claiming (rightfully so, most likely) that China is undercutting US panel makers with cheaper panels. Under this program, companies can file a claim with the Department of Labor and receive so sort of aid package. In the case of Solyndra, the package is for the ex-employees to get retraining.

Solyndra has been a money pit for the American taxpayer. First off, they were given a $535 million dollar loan even though it is becoming increasing clear that the company was already well on its way to insolvency. When it appeared that Solyndra was going to have difficulties paying back the origianl loans, the loan package was reworked and included private monies. To attract the private investors, the government guaranteed these private investors would not lose their $75 million. Once the company folded, the private investors were given back their investment, while the taxpayer can expect to see not one thin dime of the half-a-billion dollar "loan." Now we are on the hook for another $14 million.

I don’t completely begrudge the retraining assistance to the ex-employees, although I am a capitalist at heart (businesses make it on their own). When you throw in how China is undercutting American businesses with unfair practices, I am even less inclined to rally against these grants. But I will have to say this: When you consider the labor costs involved maybe the American workers needs to understand with our high wages, American businesses are already at a disadvantage against foreign competition. Don’t get me wrong, I do not advocate that we roll wages to the level of the Chinese worker, but it still something that we have to account for when competing against other countries.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Home Sales Up, Values Down

Once again the real estate market is providing us both good and bad news. Sales continue to show slight upticks and home values continue to be depressed.
Homes sales did show an increase, but some of that might have been brought on as investors are snapping up homes.
Home sales rose 1.4 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. That is below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market and slightly ahead of last year’s sales – the worst in 13 years. (Source: The Oregonian)
On the negative side, values continue to slide.
Most economist say home prices will keep falling, by at least 5 percent, through the rest of the year. Many forecast don’t anticipate a rebound in prices until at least 2013.
The medium sales price dropped roughly 2 percent to $162,500 in October.
The high rate of foreclosures has made re-sold homes much cheaper than new homes. The medium price of a new home is roughly 30 percent higher than the price of one that’s been occupied before – twice the normal markup. (Source: The Oregonian)

For those of us who own homes, this news can be a bit unsettling. Many have been counting on the value of our homes seeing us through retirement down the road. Now it looks like it might be years before the value is returned. But on the bright side, at least sales are moving in the right direction, which eventually will put pressure on the values, pushing them upwards.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Communists Out In Full Force (Sort of)

Great post and images of a teacher’s “strike” down in California. Donald over American Power posted the images. On the positive side, there was little to none of the violence that the Occupiers have become known for. On the negative side (well, other than the freedom to express their opinion) these guys are really starting to show who and what they are.

With the election of an avowed socialist as president, these guys have become much more embolden, thinking the nation is ready for their crap. Hopefully, the nation will show them that we are a nation of individual liberty, not collective socialism. But I do fear that if Obama is elected for another four years, these guys will push even harder for their agenda and things will really get out of hand.

Please don’t let apathy rule the day in Nov 2012.

Friday, November 18, 2011

CAFE Standards to Add To Cost of A Car

Earlier this summer the Obama Administration hammered together new MPG standards for the auto-industry. By the year 2025 the industry-wide mileage standard will be 55.4 MPG for passenger cars. As expected, folks from the auto industry balked at the increases saying that this will increase the cost of building these vehicles which would then be passed along to consumers.

It even looks like President Obama’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the EPA agree with the auto industry. These agencies predict that…”CAFE standards would add an average of $2,000 to the price of each new passenger vehicle.

Calls for Kagan, Thomas to Recuse

In an earlier post regarding the SCOTUS finally placing Obama Care on the docket, I mentioned there are two justices that should consider recusing themselves from this debate as they had a hand in shaping the bill. I must back-track slightly. Apparently, Justice Sotomayer was really not a part of the debate. I think she might have had a ruling at some point but I can’t seem to locate it. But that alone should not disqualify her as most of the Justices sitting on the SCOTUS have ruled, in lower courts, on matters that have come before the Supreme Court.

Of course, there is a call from the left that Justice Thomas should recuse himself from the arguments because his wife was involved with a lobbying group that is opposed to Obama Care and later started her own lobbying firm. Apparently, the efforts began early this year when it looked likely that the bill was headed to the SCOTUS.

Seventy-four House Democrats, led by New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (pre Wiener-Gate), sent a letter to Justice Clarence Thomas Wednesday (9 Feb, 2011) calling him to sit out deliberations on the Affordable Care Act because of his wife’s ties to a lobbying group that opposes the health care law.

“The appearance of a c conflict of interests merits recusal under federal law,” the letter said. “From what we have already seen, the line between your impartiality and you and your wife’s financial stake in the overturn of the healthcare reform is blurred.” (Source: ABC News)

Of course, this letter did not request that Justice Kegan recuse herself from the hearings even though it had been a point of questioning during her confirmation hearings. If they had really wanted to send a statement to Justice Thomas the letter could have mentioned that Justice Ginsburg has also been involved with cases where her husband has had a financial stake and, to their disappointment, she didn’t step aside.

As for the monetary gain, I do think this might be worth exploring, but not as much as the stake that Justice Kagan might have with the bill. As evidenced by the recently released e-mails, Justice Kagan was a huge supporter of the bill. “I hear they have the votes Larry!! Simply amazing.” Based on those simple words in an email she has already clearly played her hand. Of course she won’t set aside, but maybe she doesn’t need to attend the arguments since she has already clearly stated her position. Maybe there will be a softball game.

If you think she'll step aside don’t hold your breath, you’ll turn blue.

Humor - "I Vote Democrat Because..."

I’m sure that many, it not all, of you have seen this. But it bears repeating.

Top 12 reasons people vote democrat:

1) I voted democrat because I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t.

2) I vote democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

3) I voted democrat because Freedom of Speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

4) I voted democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.

5) I voted democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

6) I voted democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits.

7) I voted democrat because I believe that people who can’t tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don’t start driving a Prius.

8) I voted democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

9) I voted democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the democrats see fit.

10) I voted democrat because I think that it’s better to billions to people who hate us for their oil, but not drill our own because it might upset some endangered beetle of gopher.

11) I voted democrat because while we live in the greatest, most wonderful country in the world, I was promised “Hope and Change.”

12) I voted democrat because my head is do firmly in wonderland, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever have another point of view.

The really good thing about this list is that it gives you a readi-made list of places to start when discussing politics with a liberal/democrat/progressive.


You: I really think we need to open up more areas for oil and gas exploration.

Liberal: We can't do that. What about the poor (fill in the animal or plant of their choice)?

You: Well, I guess we can continue to send money to countries that sponsor terrorism. You do know those terrorist hate everything about the US don't you? They even hate liberals even more because of some of the things you stand for. etc., etc., etc.

Shout out to ScottyBil for sending this to me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Obama Costs US Even More Jobs

To call this anything but tragic would be wrong. Postponing the Keystone Pipeline decision until after the 2012 elections borders on lunacy with the fact that our economy still teeters. President Obama has thrown the American recovery under the bus (yet again). I wonder if the unions are starting to get the message that the only thing the Obama likes is the union money. He cares not a wit about the American worker. (Link via Doug Ross)

Chevy Volt and A Garage Fire

Remember the other day when I posted about the Chevy Volt fire that occurred a few weeks after undergoing crash impact testing? This Volt somehow exploded in flames and set other nearby cars on fire. GM officials said the fire was a result of a damaged battery not being fully drained.

So how is GM going to explain this?

After a house fire in Mooresville, NC which started in the home’s garage was traced the (sic) the near a charging station for an electric vehicle, WSOC-TV reported that Duke Energy, which installed the Siemens built charging station, has warned customers to not use similar units while the investigation into the fire proceeds. When fire investigators went through the burned out garage, they found a Chevy Volt plugged into the 240 volt station, the second garage fire reportedly involving a Volt. Since it was not the only electrical appliance plugged in that area of the garage, the charging station may not be at fault. The Iredell County Fire Marshall’s office said, “The charging station was in the known area of origin, but the cause of the fire has not been officially determined. (Source: Cars In Depth)

Costco Offers Interviews to Sate Workers

Earlier this week Washington State actually held some elections that had importance. One of the more controversial measures on the ballot was Initiative 1183, which if approved, would remove the state from the liquor business.

The Initiative was backed with some serious money ($22+ million) from Costco which hopes to begin sales of hard alcohol next May.

One of the unintended consequences of this initiative was the elimination of more than 900 state employee jobs which were used to staff and run the state-run liquor stores and distribution services.

Costco has offered to step up (sort of) and offer state employees who lose their jobs the chance to interview for positions within Costco.

Costco Wholesale said it will offer any displaced state liquor store worker the opportunity to apply for a job at the chain, and, “We will make sure that they get an interview,” chief legal officer Joel Benoliel said Thursday.

“There is obviously no guarantee of a job, but anyone who would like to work at Costco will have the advantage of being interviewed. We will be working on a procedure to make happen between now and June when the transition will happen,” he said.

Benoliel also noted that workers who want to keep their affiliation with their union, which also represents grocery-store workers, might be better off seeking work elsewhere; Costco in nonunion. (Source: Seattle Times)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lefty Tolerance

Interesting story on tolerance at this link

A cast member of the gay reality TV show “A-List Dallas” tells The Daily Caller that he was punched to the ground and bloodied Friday night by someone vandalizing his care because he’s a gay conservative associated with commentator Ann Coulter.

Taylor Garrent, a Republican consultant in Texas who stars in the reality series on the channel LGO TV said in an interview that he was attacked outside a birthday party in Dallas after finding a vandal scratching “F—Coulter” on the side of his car. (Source: The Daily Caller)

I am no longer surprised that the left resorts to these kinds of tactics. They know they cannot win in the court of public opinion so they turn to acts of violence to make their point (kind of reminds me of the OWS movement).

OF course, this will not make the six o’clock news. You had to hear about it on a conservative web site. But if the perpetrator had been conservative or a Tea Partier, it would have be the lead story on every news cast.

SCOTUS To Review Obama Care

Not sure if this is good or bad news, but the SCOTUS has decided to rule on Obama Care in 2012.

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear challenges to President Barack Obama’s health care reform law – but it’s not all clear that the court will decide anything soon.

Although the court set the stage for an epic, five-and-a-half-hour oral argument in the midst of the 2012 presidential race, it also signaled that it could punt a decision on the individual mandate until 2014. In accepting the challenges to the law, the court said it would devote an hour of the argument to the effect of the Anti-Injunction Act – a law that, in the view of some courts, could prohibit a ruling on the individual mandate until the mandate goes into effect in 2014. (Source: Politico)

While on one hand I really look forward to getting a ruling on this bill that is most likely unconstitutional, I have concerns. Two members of the Court should most likely recues themselves as Justices Sotomayor and Kagan both had a hand in engineering the bill. While those two Obama appointees didn’t really shift the balance of the court, those they replaced didn’t have a dog in the Health Care fight and might have actually ruled on the side of the bill being unconstitutional.

Of course, the biggest concern is Justice Kennedy. He is considered more on the conservative side of the court, but has thrown an occasional curveball. Essentially, he is the swing vote.

As Obama’s signature piece of legislation for President Obama, popular opinion says the SCOTUS’s decision could make or break his run for a second term. I have a slightly different view. If the court rules against Obama, then I think we can put a fork in his campaign and call it done (as in over). If the court rules in his favor, I really don’t think, as some believe, that it will clear the path for his second term. Personally, I think there is better than good chance that if the court rules in his favor, it will cause a significant ground swell that will really turn the tide against his reelection. The Health Care bill is already quite unpopular as evidenced by the pounding democrats took in 2010 and if the individual mandate is ruled constitutional, I really do think Obama will be even more Jimmy Carteresque than he is now.

But I could be wrong. Obama might still have some of that magic he had in 2008 when he overtook the presumed nominee, Hilary Clinton, then pounding John McCain in the election. The guy does have a way with words, even if those words are written for him and projected on a tele-prompter. Plus he has something many of the Republican nominees don’t have, and that is an ability to energize his base. If the 2012 turnout is lackluster, that energy could overcome a lot.

If you one of the many who wants to see Obama gone in 2012, please make sure that you get your butt to the polls, even if the nominee is (yuck) Romney.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Richmond, CA Mayor Slaps Veterans in the Face

Leftist Richmond, CA, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Green Party member, has told the veterans that she represent in her city (although I doubt many voted for her) that they can go pound sand. Rather than go to a Veteran’s event today, she choose to attend an OWS event instead.

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin will miss a Veterans Day salute in favor of an Occupy Richmond “public speak out.” The San Jose Mercury News reported.

McLaughlin defended her decision, telling the newspaper that the city is not sponsoring the Veterans Day event, and the rally she will attend will honor Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran injured at an Occupy Oakland rally last month. Richmond and Oakland, both in the San Francisco Bay Area, are about 12 miles apart.

“I chose to honor our veterans, not only on Veteran’s Day, but daily, by supporting an end to military warfare to prevent further fighting and dying in needless wars,” she said in an email. “I am a strong supporter of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Vets Against the War.” (Source: The Blaze)

Volt Starts A Highly Charged Fire

Jeesh, this is just great. A Chevy Volt caught fire after undergoing a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testing…three weeks after the accident!

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today it had investigated a fire that occurred this spring, after the Volt extended-range electric vehicle underwent a 20 mile-per-hour, side-impact test for its five-star crash safety rating. The crash punctured the Volt’s lithium-ion battery, and after more than three weeks of sitting outside, the vehicle and several car around it caught fire. No one was hurt.

General Motors believes the fire occurred because the NHTSA did not drain the energy from the Volt’s battery following the crash, which is a safety step the automaker recommends, GM spokesman Rob Peterson said. NHTSA had not been told of the safety protocol, Peterson said. (Source: Detroit Free Press)

So now we have to worry about this supposedly green vehicle catching fire after an accident? I know that GM has said they are going to take pains to try and inform all of this step, but obviously, it doesn’t work every time. Good grief, GM gave NHTSA these cars for the purpose of crashing them and they still didn’t bother to tell the testers this was a possible outcome.

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran’s Day. Please shake a veteran’s hand today.

Obama Refuses to Enforce Our Laws

Illegal immigration and the Hispanic vote. Just recently President Obama used his Executive privileges to decrease the number of illegal immigrants deported back to their country of citizenship. Under his direction, White House lawyers issued a memo that prevents Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from deporting illegal immigrants who have not committed any violent crimes or not considered national security risks. Never mind that they have broken the law by just being here illegally, hence the term “illegal immigrant.”

As Obama has done quite frequently in recent months, he has most likely over-stepped his authority by telling an agency under his control not to enforce the laws of the United States. Our Constitutional Scholar is at it again.

Obama has been issuing these orders over the last few months in an attempt to shore up his declining poll numbers. He knows that he has really lost the middle of the country and since the economy is not showing much in the way of improvement, Obama has to come at his reelection from a different angle.

He has allowed the EPA to run roughshod over energy producers who generate power using fossil fuels. Despite the fact that this will cause the loss of thousands of jobs, will reduce energy production capacity by as much as 20% in the Midwest and East Coast, and will cause energy costs to “necessarily skyrocket”, he still had his EPA chief push these new regulations through. All he is doing is shoring up his radical environmentalist base, the rest of us be danged.

Opposing Forces

If we are extremely lucky these two pieces of news will be able to coexist.

Jobless claims dip:

Fewer Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits last week, marking continued – but still slow – improvement in the job market.

About 390,000 people filed for initial unemployment benefits in the week ending Nov. 5, the Labor Department said Thursday.  The number of claims fell 10,000 from the revised 400,000 in the prior week, and is now at the lowest level since April 2.

“The passing of some of economic weakness is starting to show in a better labor market,” said Michael Gapen, senior U.S. economist at Barclays Capital.

The four-week moving average if initial claims, used to smooth out volatility, is teetering exactly at 400,000. While not an exact science, that number serves as a rough estimate for economists, who say claims below 400,000 could mean job growth has finally become strong enough to start bringing the unemployment rate down.

In a report last week, the government said the unemployment rate dipped to 9% in October, down from 9.1% the month before. (Source: Yahoo News)

The number of foreclosures climbed in October, as mortgage lenders started to work through the paperwork that had delayed new filings for much of last year.

RealtyTrac said one in every 563 U.S. home had either a default notice, a scheduled auction or a bank repossession filing during the month.

“The October foreclosure numbers continue to show strong signs that foreclosure activity is coming out of the rain delay we’ve been in for the past year as lenders corrected foreclosure paperwork and processing problems,” said James Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s CEO. (Source: Yahoo News)

Considering that our economy is pretty much based on a health housing market, I am concerned these two numbers (declining unemployment and increasing foreclosures) are going to struggle against one another.  As long as unemployment stays high, people just aren’t going to buy homes. As long as people don’t buy homes because of fears the housing market still hasn’t reached bottom unemployment is going to have a difficult time recovering.

The final paragraph of the linked article on foreclosures says it best:

The best hopes for stopping foreclosures is an improvement in the overall economy, especially in the battered real estate and labor markets. But with so many foreclosed homes weighing on the market, and with unemployment still at 9% and consumer confidence low, even mortgage rates near record lows aren’t enough to fix the problem caused by the bursting of the housing bubble. (Source: Yahoo News)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cain Accuser Has A (Brief) History

The plot thickens. Seems that a woman who filed sexual harassment complaint against GOP hopeful Herman Cain also filed a complaint against her next employer.

Karen Kraushaar, 55, filed the complaint while working as a spokeswoman at the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the Justice Department in late 2002 or early 2003, with the assistance of her lawyer, Joel Bennett, who also handled her earlier sexual harassment complaint against Cain in 1999. Three former supervisors familiar with Kraushaar’s complaint, which did not include a claim of sexual harassment, described it for the AP under conditions of anonymity because the matter was handled internally by the agency and was not public.

To settle the complaint at the immigration service Kraushaar initially demanded thousands of dollars in payment, a reinstatement of leave she used after the accident earlier in 2002, promotion on the federal pay scale and a one-year fellowship to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, according to a former supervisor familiar with the complaint. The promotion itself would have increased her annual salary between $12,000 and $16,000, according to salary tables in 2002 from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. (Source: Yahoo News)

I know this already old news, but I thought I’d post in case you had been away.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Heavy Thinking

Some thoughts on the brewing controversy that is surrounding GOP hopeful, Herman Cain.

Over the past six months I have been looking for a candidate that could beat Obama and was not named Mitt Romney. Because of his stances on illegal immigration, universal health care, and abortion, Romney is nothing more than Obama-lite.

There have been some possible contenders out there.

Palin teased us for a while. While I would have supported her with both guns ablazin’ I think in these divided times, she is just too polarizing. The left HATES her with every fiber of their being. Even after the vicious attacks on her ranging from her IQ level to her decision to keep her baby, an organization that purports to support women’s issues couldn’t even find the time to give even a lukewarm response in support of woman who has done it all. Career woman, raised a family, married to the same guy, things you would think NOW would get behind. But because Palin is a conservative, there wasn’t a snowballs chance in a hot place the NOW would issue even a squeak.

Christie has too many liberal stances (2nd Amendment, illegal immigration) that he never really stood a chance to gain my support. I will give credit where credit is due. He has brought NJ back from the brink with the hard choices he has made. But his non-committal to the 2nd Amendment and his stance on illegal immigration was a huge red flag for me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

McCain Wants to Take Health Care from Veterans

Most of you know that I am a veteran. Been retired now for just over a year. Over the years that I served, the benefits that I received changed, some slightly, some dramatically. Health care was one of those benefits that saw changes over the years. When I first entered the service, health care was free and accessible. Not exactly sure when it changed, but I believed it was about five to seven year after I joined that accessibility to health care was altered. No longer could family members go to the base hospital for treatment. But at least it remained free. But for dental, there was a change to both cost and access. Family members initially had access to dental clinics, but as a cost saving measure, the DoD decided to trim the number of dentists on active duty, which in turn forced family members off base to receive dental care. Then to top it off, they charged a small monthly fee for what was then called “Delta Dental.”

There have also been other benefits that have seen their time on the chopping block, but avoided elimination. The one that sticks out most in my mind was our Commissary benefit. For those who are unaware, on nearly all bases there is a grocery store that falls under military control. It is staffed and managed at the store level by civilians, mostly dependents, and is controlled at the upper levels by military and senior level civilians. This benefit is a real treat for most of us because costs are lower than at Safeway and other similar stores. These savings are achieved in three ways. 1) Buying power, which is not unlike what other large chains also do; 2) profits, which are not a consideration. The stores have to make enough to pay staff and obviously purchase stock, but there are no share-holders to answer to; and 3) unions. There are no unions in the commissary driving up operating costs. For my family, we probably average about $200.00 in savings each month.

Recently, the drive to cut costs all across the board in the federal government has brought about talk that would eliminate one of most cherished benefits. Sadly, this talk is coming from someone who in the past has been one of our most ardent supporters; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

Cain Accuser Comes Forward W/ Allred

I really hate to see it happen, but it certainly looks as if the “Cain Train” has derailed.

With the famous, bomb-throwing attorney Gloria Allred by her side, a fourth woman came forward Monday to charge Herman Cain with sexual harassment, giving full details on the alleged incident.

Sharon Bialek is the first woman to give her name and speak publically about what she is alleging the GOP front-runner did to her while he was head of the National Restaurant Association.

Allred introduced her client, Bialek, as a Republican, full-time, single mom and commended her client for coming forward to tell about Cain’s “idea of a ‘stimulus package.’” (Source: Daily Caller)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupy Movement Goes Violent in Oakland, CA

Folks, a very good post by Doug over at American Power Blog on the Occupy Oakland violence and anarchy.

Things have really gotten out of control there with building being vandalized and businesses forced to shut down.

As much as they would like you to believe you are part of this movement this is not a 99-percenter movement. It is a socialist-anarchist movement. Nothing short of shutting down the government and rebuilding it to their desires will satisfy these people.

Very similar to the 1960’s counter-culture protests. Back then, these people grew up in a very easy-going time of the late 50’s and early 60’s. Purchasing a home was no longer a pipedream as wages were adequate for most to take the leap. Unemployment was low, we were prosperous and becoming more so, and American was leading the way in the world. Of course, it wasn’t without its bad points (Civil Rights). Fast forward to the turn of the century. We had years of prosperity led by the boom in technology, which we were the leaders in innovation. Generally speaking, jobs were plentiful, and our economy, led by housing and technology, was booming. But there were also dark clouds (terrorism). The common thread here is the generations that grew up in these times separated by a whole generation is that they were spoiled. And being spoiled, they wanted more and didn’t think they had to work for it, unlike the generation that spawned them.

It seems to run in a cycle. A generation works their tails off, getting to the good life. They treat their families to the spoils, essentially spoiling them. That next generation then wants to continue being spoiled. As youths, they didn’t have to work for anything as it was all provided. Once they came of age, reality it them in the back side and they didn't like it one bit.

The generation that brought us the “flower children” lived through the "Great Depression" and lived through WWII. After beating back a world shattered by a depression and the Axis Powers, they set their sights on working hard to gain security for their families. While working hard for this security, they shielded their children from a harsh reality, which in turn gave us the spoiled generation of the 60’s

The generation that has brought us the “Occupiers” lived through the 1970s which had tough economic times, Vietnam, and Jimmy Carter. They came of age under the prosperity of Reagan and to a lesser extent, Clinton, and they wanted a better life for their families. The cycle repeated and now we have to deal with the spoiled children who now want the government to pay for their student loans and give them jobs without them making any effort.

But there is a silver lining in all this. Eventually, the flower kids grew up, had families of their own and got to work. Let us hope the cycle continues.

A Letter to the Editor

The following was sent to me by a good friend. Not sure where this came from although it looks like it might have appeared the Iosco County News-Herald, a small northern Michigan weekly. Although I do not have any rights to reprint this I am going to take a risk. It pretty much sums it all up for those of us on the conservative side of the aisle.

If you are author of this or the editor of the previously mentioned newspaper, please leave me a comment if you wish for me to delete the post. I will do so.


Has America become the land of the special interest and home of the double standard?

Lets see: If we lie to Congress, it’s a felony and if the congress lies to its just politics; if we dislike a black person, we’re racist and if a black person dislikes whites, it’s their 1st Amendment right; the government spends millions to rehabilitate criminals and they do almost nothing for the victims; in public schools you can teach that homosexuality if OK, buy you better not use the word God in the process; you can kill an unborn child but its wrong to execute a mass murderer; we don’t burn books in America, we now rewrite them; we got rid of the communist and socialist threat be renaming them progressives; we are unable to close of border with Mexico, but have no problem protecting the 38th parallel in Korea; if you protest against President Obama’s policies you’re a terrorist, but if burned an American flag of George Bush in effigy it was your 1st Amendment right.

You can have pornography on TV or the internet, but you better not put a nativity scene in a public park during Christmas; we have eliminated all criminals in America, they are now called sick people; we can use a human fetus for medical research, but it’s wrong to use an animal.

We take money from those who work hard for it and give it to those who don’t want to work; we all support the Constitution, but only when it supports our political ideology; we still have freedom of speech, but only if we are being politically correct; parenting has been replaced with Ritalin and video games; the land of opportunity is now the land of handouts; the similarity between Hurricane Katrina and the gulf oil spill is that neither president did anything to help.

And how do we handle a major crisis today? The government appoints a committee to determine who’s at fault, then threatened them, passes a law, raises our taxes; tells us the problem is solved so they can get back to their reelection campaign.

What has happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Author’s name and location withheld.

Very interesting take on our troubles. I sure that many of you readers will recognize much of what was written here.

I don’t know if many of you follow baseball at all and the troubles that steroids brought to the game. When Congress decided to stick their fingers into this issue to gain political points they had a few prominent players from that era testify before a special committee. During the course of the testimony a couple of players were caught lying about their use of steroids. Now some of those players are being brought up on charges of lying before Congress. But when Nancy Pelosi and her crew lied to the American public about the cost of the health care bill, it was nothing more that political gamesmanship. The difference here what is at stake. The players lying to Congress costs us nothing, while this health care bill is now north of $1 trillion in taxpayer money.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Local Land USe Policy Under Fire (Long Post)

Over the past several months, as I have driven to work or to play, I have been noticing some signs popping up around the area. The signs are eye-catching but a little difficult to read as I sped by at 50mph. Several weeks ago I received a mailer from the organization that had been placing the signs around the area. The group was going to host a series of Town Hall meeting in various communities in the area.

After I received the mailer I decided to dig a little deeper into what this organization was all about. As I read the postings on their website and news stories that had made the local newspaper I began to get a clearer picture of what these activists were trying to get across.

In recent years the county in which I live has been attempting to regulate how private landowners can use their lands. Some of these policies and regulations have been fairly mild such as increasing or implementing fees to do basic upgrades to your property such as adding a deck or a patio and charging a fee to provide input to policy at public hearings. Other policies have been much more invasive like the Oak Tree Prairie Habitat, which not only can penalize the land owner who has the oak tree, but any neighbors who might be within 600 feet of the tree(s).

In recent months, the Thurston County commissioners have been attempting to strengthen three highly restrictive land use polices into that fall under the umbrella of something called Critical Area Ordinance. As required by law, this ordinance must be reviewed every seven years. Now is the time for the review. In conjunction with this review the county commissioners are attempting to further consolidate these restrictive policies through a cumbersome (900 pages) and over-reaching policy. Over the years, there are many restrictive policies that have been enacted by Thurston County leadership; however, there are three policies that are probably most restrictive and harmful to property owners.