Obama owns GM, and I don't know about you, Bret, but I'm deeply reassured that the largest company in America is owned by a guy with the vast private sector experience of Barack Obama.
I remember Clinton's first term as being rather effective--he passed welfare reform, NAFTA, and put the budget on a path to balance. Second term? Well, there was the "race initiative"! And he managed to preserve the surplus.
To assure consumers reluctant to buy GM or Chrysler cars, the government plans to take the unusual step of guaranteeing all warrantees on new cars from either company. These guarantees would lapse back to the companies once they return to health.
[T]he obscure peccadilloes of private citizens should remain just that-- obscure. And make no mistake about it, Joseph Biden’s daughter (name deliberately omitted) is a private citizen. She has never, to my knowledge, invited any significant attention to herself. Indeed, we don’t know if she ever wanted her father to do the same. Let’s leave her alone - and her father as well, on that score.
Can you imagine the Democrats' reaction if the Bush White House had given a European head of state a set of DVDs that can only be played on North American machines? It would have been conclusive proof of Bush's provincialism, lack of sensitivity to our allies' sensibilities, ignorance of the wider world, techno incompetence, failure to appreciate the superiority of European civilization, blah blah blah. That's how it would have been reported and editorialized on in every newspaper. So let's check tomorrow's papers and see whether that's how Obama's gaffe is covered. Or whether it's covered at all.
As of this fiscal year, the authority owes $26.6 million in principal and interest on the debt incurred by building Ga. 400, said Cherie Gibson, spokeswoman for the State Road and Tollway Authority. That’s less than the $32 million the state has on hand, sitting in reserve accounts. That money represents tolls collected, as well as interest and investments from the toll money.
But Georgia can’t pay off the Ga. 400 debt, authority officials say, because it has to stick to a payment schedule that runs through 2011.
Of the $22 million or so the state reaps annually from Ga. 400 drivers, about $7 million goes to running the toll authority and $9 million a year goes to paying down the debt, Gibson said.
[Toll Authority director Gene] Evans said the authority needs to use the excess toll money for salaries of officials who arrange financing for the state Department of Transportation.
Soccer is running America into the ground, and there is very little anyone can do about it. Social critics have long observed that we live in a therapeutic society that treats young people as if they can do no wrong. Every kid is a winner, and nobody is ever left behind, no matter how many times they watch the ball going the other way. Whether the dumbing down of America or soccer came first is hard to say, but soccer is clearly an important means by which American energy, drive and competitiveness are being undermined to the point of no return.
What other game, to put it bluntly, is so boring to watch? (Bowling and golf come to mind, but the sound of crashing pins and the sight of the well-attired strolling on perfectly kept greens are at least inherently pleasurable activities.) The linear, two-dimensional action of soccer is like the rocking of a boat but without any storm and while the boat has not even left the dock. Think of two posses pursuing their prey in opposite directions without any bullets in their guns.
While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009” -- which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are now seeking to tax.
The amendment made it into the final version of the bill, and is law.
Separately, Sen. Dodd was AIG’s largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election cycle with $103,100, according to opensecrets.org.
Dodd’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
MSM journalists (following Rather gate and Eason's gaffe) vowed never to give another whiff of oxygen to conservative bloggers under any circumstances. That vow is one of the few things they have successfully navigated in the years since. The overt politicization of the MSM into ever bigger propaganda mouthpieces has accelerated since then and with it the comedic property of the word "journalist".I've been mulling over Stan's observation ever since, and while my memory may be failing me here, I couldn't recall a similar course of events since the days of Jordan and Rathergate when right-of-center bloggers pushed an issue into the limelight, the MSM reported on it, and subsequent reaction led to a meaningful event (i.e., Jordan's resignation under pressure or Rather's firing).
The new generation of reporters sought to use journalism as a way of improving the world. And they calculated their effectiveness by listening for the screams.Indeed. I'd go farther than that and note the endless stream of contempt newspaper employees tend to express towards their own customers; glee over complaint letters and phone calls have long been held as badges of honor by newsprint types, and their internal reactions seep through from time to time at places like Romanesko.
When your newspaper is effectively a monopoly, offended customers and offended readers have no recourse but to continue to deal with you, so there was little consequence for the reporters. The money still flowed in and they still got paid. Indeed, agenda journalists took pride in the fact that they didn't concern themselves with business consequences; it was a demonstration of their dedication to truth and social good.
Over years that built up a significant percentage of both customers (advertisers) and readers who were primed to move to something new once it became available. With the internet, they now have that alternative, and they are leaving in droves.
comments disabledThese are the people who, in public opinion polls, answer "Good riddance" when asked about the pending demise of newspapers.
Some Democrats have started to worry that voters don’t and won’t understand the link between economic revival and Obama’s huge agenda, which includes saving the banking industry, ending home foreclosures, reforming healthcare and developing a national energy policy, among much else.
While lawmakers debate controversial proposals contained in the new president’s debut budget — cutting farm subsidies, raising taxes on charitable contributions, etc. — there is a growing sense that time is running out faster than expected.
Democrats from states racked by recession say Obama needs to produce an uptick by August or face unpleasant consequences. Others say that there is more time, but that voters need to see improvement by the middle of next year.
The most optimistic say Obama and Democrats in Congress will face a political backlash unless the economy improves by Election Day 2010.
“We’ve got to see an uptick by August or the Democratic majority is in jeopardy,” said Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), whose state had an 11.6 percent unemployment rate in January.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly requested military aircraft to shuttle her and her colleagues and family around the country, according to a new report from a conservative watchdog group.
Representatives for Judicial Watch, which obtained e-mails and other documents from a Freedom of Information request, said the correspondence shows Pelosi has abused the system in place to accommodate congressional leaders and treated the Air Force as her "personal airline."
The group reported that Pelosi was notorious for making special demands for high-end aircraft, lodging last-minute cancellations, and racking up additional expenses for the military.
In one e-mail, aide Kay King complained to the military that they had not made available any aircraft the House speaker wanted for Memorial Day recess.
"It is my understanding there are NO G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable ... The Speaker will want to know where the planes are," King wrote.
In another, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King wrote: "This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset Speaker."
"Watchmen's brand of dystopian misanthropy has been specifically refuted by events. It's one thing to worry about the evil U.S. policies of containment and mutually-assured destruction in 1986. It's one thing to paint a particular political party as being unconstitutionally obsessed with the possession of power and recklessly in pursuit of nuclear confrontation with an enemy who probably wasn't so bad.
"But as it turns out, that entire worldview was vitiated by events. In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended. Reagan's strategic policy decisions vis-a-vis the Soviet Union were completely vindicated. MAD proved to be an effective deterrent. The conflict between the East and West was settled without a shot being fired. And, perhaps most importantly, the Truman/Kennedy/Reagan view of communism as an insidious ideology which led to violent, repressive authoritarianism was borne out.
"So Moore was wrong. His fears were wrong. His warnings were wrong. His fundamental view of the world was wrong. And 'Watchmen,' in particular, is left as a bizarre cultural artifact. A pretentious piece of commentary masquerading as philosophy."
Thousands of patients with terminal cancer were dealt a blow last night after a decision was made to deny them life prolonging drugs.
The Government's rationing body said two drugs for advanced breast cancer and a rare form of stomach cancer were too expensive for the NHS.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is expected to confirm guidance in the next few weeks that will effectively ban their use.
Dr Gillian Leng, Nice deputy chief executive, said 'The committee concluded that Lapatinib is not a cost-effective use of NHS resources when compared with current treatment.'
Up to 1,500 stomach cancer patients also face a ban on Sutent – the only drug that can extend their lives.
A campaign by Greenpeace seeks to raise consciousness among Americans about the environmental costs of their toilet habits and counter an aggressive new push by the paper industry giants to market so-called luxury brands.
The campaigning group says it produced the guide to counter an aggressive marketing push by the big paper product makers in which celebrities talk about the comforts of luxury brands of toilet paper and tissue.
• Politicians in Atlanta and Georgia, like their counterparts across the country, over-promised lavish pension plans to buy the votes of government employees. Now the bills are due, and the rest of us are expected to meekly pay up, regardless of our own financial situations. Good luck with that.
• Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is a magnet for corruption and graft. The airport should be privatized and taken out of the hands of a political class that has proven itself incapable of running it in an effective and ethical manner.
• Education in Georgia can’t be fixed by continuing to throw more money, bureaucracy and unions at our problems. Education is broken because of social pathologies and misplaced egalitarianism, and those things can’t be repaired by legislation.
• Georgia Power wants to build new nuclear power plants. It’s about time we got over being scared of a bad Jane Fonda movie, but the power company and regulatory bodies are too tied to old, expensive technology. Why not bring in the new generation of cheaper, smaller reactors instead of huge, billion-dollar complexes?
• “Commuter rail” is nothing more than a pork project. It’s a “service” that would go unused, and a fiscal burden we don’t need. [Congressman] David Scott says, “We have $119 million sitting there in the bank.” Here’s a radical idea: why not give it back to the taxpayers?
• The idea that an elite in Washington can “run the economy” is a dangerous myth, and particularly dangerous in times of economic crisis. The government has proven that it can wreck our economy, but it’s not capable of fixing it.
• “Campaign finance reform” was a fetish of the legacy media while Republicans were winning elections, but unsurprisingly, the press has fallen silent on the subject since Barack Obama’s fundraising made a mockery of it.
• Forgiving corruption or misfeasance out of ethnic solidarity or political correctness must stop. David Scott, Barney Frank and Charley Rangel don’t deserve the cover their supporters are giving them. (This could easily be a “local” column as well.)
• First Washington told us they needed $700 billion because of bad mortgages. Then they decided it was really for banks and bankrupt car companies. Now they’re telling us they need a trillion more for “stimulus,” which amounts to little more than a huge payoff to the Democratic Party’s campaign contributors. All they’re really accomplishing is making taxpayers a lot more broke.
• Iran has been waging war on the United States for thirty years. It’s long past time for America to accept that fact—and act accordingly.
Obama said he wasn't focused on "the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market, but the long-term ability for the United States and the entire world economy to regain its footing." he compared the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a daily tracking poll in politics. "You know, it bobs up and down day to day," he said. "And if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you're probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong."
The editorial board wonders whether “taxpayers in suburban areas have an obligation to support homeless shelters, public hospitals, schools or similar services in the central city.”
Plenty of people in the metro who don’t live within the ‘central city’ certainly do feel a moral compulsion to provide aid to the destitute and uneducated. Citizens of Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties gave a combined $1.5 billion to charity in 2005.* Of course, those are voluntary contributions, and what we’re really talking about here is taxes—a very different matter.
“Support” in this context is a euphemism for “pay for.” In metro Atlanta, what we’re really talking about is taxpayers being obliged to pay money to particular governments—in this case the City of Atlanta and Fulton County.
Taxpayers in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody and John’s Creek voted to break the political bands that had connected them to Fulton County not thanks to “suburban greed,” but out of frustration over being treated like an ATM machine by a political apparatus that held them in open contempt. Constantly ignored by the central authority, they quite naturally revolted against taxation without representation.
A more accurate question would be, “Why should taxpayers in suburban areas have any reason to believe their money would be spent well or wisely if given to politicians in the central city?” The sewer line debacle, financial scandals at MARTA, the County Commission and City Council, plus a former mayor in prison are evidence that taxing the ‘burbs would be throwing good money after bad.
While there will inevitably be pro forma accusations of “racism” leveled against anyone who questions giving more money to Atlanta or Fulton County, corruption and waste are hardly “black” issues. One need look no farther than the sublimely-named Mitch Skandalakis, a white, Republican and corrupt former Fulton County Commissioner who earned a prison term in 2004. Waste and malfeasance at the heart of the metro are not related to melanin; insider back-scratching at the cost of the taxpayers knows no color.
Atlanta’s schools are a disaster. Check the rankings at psk12.com, where you’ll find “Atlanta City” listed over and over again at the tail end of the lists, and that’s not because of underfunding. The tax take for Atlanta Public Schools in 2008 was about $662 million, a staggering $13,500 per student.** That’s nearly as much as tuition at Marietta’s pricey Walker School, but APS isn’t getting similar results for the same money. Where taxpayer dollars are actually going is an obvious problem, but an overall lack of money isn’t the issue.
Then there’s the issue of whether government “services” serve mostly to attract more dependency, rather than to cure actual ills. Who can walk past the ranks of panhandlers—particularly thick on the hospital staff’s paydays—outside Grady Hospital and doubt whether governmental largesse attracts supplicants?
Here’s a better question: why don’t the voters in the “central city” demand political leadership that isn’t comprised mostly of wastrels, machine pols and outright crooks?
In March of 1991, I was alone in a train car crossing northern Germany. All I wanted out of a long train ride from Wilhelmshaven to Berlin was sleep, and lots of it. When the sunrise woke me up, I reached for the window shade—and bolted fully alert.
The train had just crossed the old border between West and East Germany. The change in the scenery was riveting--and horrible. It was like stepping out of a manicured garden and into a decrepit slum.
The landscape itself changed, from burgeoning spring farmlands to unending rows carved into the grayish soil with no regard for the land's contours, spotted here and there with stunted crops. The train passed the ruins of a station, a mess of blasted, crumbling concrete, scarred with ancient black soot. It had been bombed out during World War II, but nobody had bothered to clear the debris over the intervening forty-five years.
Humorist P.J. O'Rourke once wrote about the Soviet Union, "In the end, every little detail starts to get to you--the overwhelming oppressiveness of the place, the plain godawfulness of it." The Leftist government of East Germany did its best to turn a quarter of Germany into a facsimile of Stalin's USSR, and a year and a half after its liberation, it was still the godawfulest place I've ever seen.
The houses were the worst. Imagine the most run-down, decrepit wrong-side-of-the-tracks shacks you've ever seen, for mile after mile. Every home in the East German countryside looked like those shacks, only older. And it dawned on me that the whole country was like this.
East Berlin was nearly as bad as the countryside. The buildings and the people were a uniform color, all covered with a thick sprinkling of grime and sickly-grey dust. The "Osties" themselves still had the haunted, hunted look of a people left to the tender mercies of a police state.
While I was hardly a left-winger at the time of that train ride, the experiences of those few days have served as an aggregate, merging with the cement of conservative and libertarian ideas to create the concrete of my beliefs.
They were proof of the results when the individual is subsumed into the collective, of when a government runs a nation instead of the other way around, when the whims of elite "experts" are held up as rationale to dictate the lives of a population. No theory of "fairness" or "social justice" justifies turning a people into servants, and a nation into a shanty town.
In 1955, William F. Buckley, Jr. called his brand of conservatism "Standing athwart history, yelling Stop." Buckley and Soviet communism are both gone—and thankfully so, in the latter case—but vigilance against the rule of those who "know better" how we should live, how we may do business with one another, and most importantly, what we should think is an eternal charge.
"Most Republicans are not entrepreneurial," he lamented to me. "They’re corporatists. They like the security and the comfort of a well-thought-out, highly boring boardroom meeting in which they do a PowerPoint once. And it worries them to have ideas, because ideas have edges, and they’re not totally formed, and you’ve got to prove them, and they sound strange because they’re new, and if it’s new how do you know it’s any good, because, after all, it’s new and you’ve never heard it before."It's a great point, and the quote, as well as the article itself as far as I can tell, touches directly on Newt's greatest strength: he's one of the only people in American political life (and I include both politicians and the media commentariat here) who really cares about ideas. Unfortunately, it also reminds us of Newt's greatest weakness, which is that he has no internal filter whatsoever for really bad ideas.
Like many newspapers across the country, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is hemorrhaging subscribers and casual readers at an accelerating clip.
One reason for the decline is obviously the internet, but the AJC has problems that go deeper than lost advertising sales to Cragslist. Intentionally or not, since the death of Lewis Grizzard the AJC has lost the eyes of conservatives—who just happen to comprise a hefty majority of the paper’s potential readership.
Anyone who thinks political correctness is ripe for mockery, anyone who finds the science fiction of Al Gore to be risible, anyone who dares question the deification of Barack Obama—these people have long since given up on the AJC, because the AJC has given them few reasons to pick up the paper.
If the AJC is ever going to bring these people back, the paper has to give them something—or someone—who’s not only on their side, but also engaging enough to make them want a regular helping.
There are a lot of conservatives in Atlanta. No doubt many of them can write well. What the AJC needs is a writer who can connect with the region’s conservatives and build an audience eager to come back for more.
That would be me.
Over the past dozen years, I’ve built a readership online. After I joined VodkaPundit, that blog’s readership nearly doubled. “Will Collier” is a familiar name to the vast audiences of Instapundit and National Review Online, arguably the two most prominent sites in the right-of-center blogosphere. I can bring that readership to the AJC and AJC.com starting on day one.
As a one-man show responsible for maintaining my own credibility, I’ve built a track record for solid analysis as well as entertaining copy. I’m a known quantity to major media figures like Howard Kurtz and Andrew Breitbart. You are unlikely to find any candidate more wired in to the modern conservative/libertarian ecosphere, while simultaneously not beholden to the Republican Party apparatus—with a prior career working alongside the uniformed military to boot.
I’m a native Southerner, born and raised in Alabama, and a metro Atlantan who found his home here eight years ago. I’ve lived in both of Georgia’s worlds, with half a lifetime spent in a small town, and an adulthood here in this city that I very quickly came to love.
The AJC is making an attempt to reach out to conservatives—and it’s about time. Make the most of it by giving them a columnist they can look forward to reading, one who is as conversant in technology, blog parlance, popular culture and the South’s political history as he is in national affairs. Do yourself a favor by hiring a columnist who’s proven he can build an audience among the people you want to reach.
Again: that would be me.