17 November 2008

US Car industry and bailout

This business with the auto bailout is tricky. It seems the federal government is keen on bailing out the fake economy (banking and such), but into leaving the real economy (industry) high and dry.

I cannot imagine the effect if GM suddenly ceased to exist. Millions of people would be without jobs and benefits. Double yikes! But then again, Cimarron!

A better idea may be to take GM's healthcare costs off its books by enrolling its employees in a universal health insurance program. If we are spending this money anyway, we should get something nice in return.

19 October 2008

10 October 2008

04 September 2008

GOP attacks contain many lies and stretching of truth

Below is an AP article that details the. . . lies (no more apt word) for what GOP operatives, like Palin are saying.  The AP has lately been known for its GOP love, but this article is a nice departure.


ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.


PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor,Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."

PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institutionand the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

MCCAIN: "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply. I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America," he said in an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.

THE FACTS: McCain's phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more "responsible" for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state — by population.

MCCAIN: "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities," he said on ABC.

THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under "federal status," which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors.Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after theIowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."

THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.

___

Associated Press Writer Jim Drinkard in Washington contributed to this report.






11 August 2008

Frequent Posting

This labor of love--blogging--can take some time. That is why my posts slowed to one each month and now appear to be bi-monthly. But on the positive side, I have received my first troll commenter.

An intrepid soul known as "anonymous" called me "stupid." She may be right, but I have been called worse.

And I should include more bicycle-related items on this blog. After all, this is a vanity project with no serious goal. And I spend a fair amount of my time riding bicycles or thinking about riding bicycles or working on bicycles, so it does seem reasonable that this blog reflect that. Once I get some photos of my bikes, I will post them. And hopefully after this cross season I will have some neat photos of my riding my cross bike, which would be nice.

As you were.

07 June 2008

ERISA should be part of health reform

If you are one of the substantial number of Americans who receive their health coverage in connection with their employment (excepting government or church employees), ERISA applies. Absent from the ongoing debate about health care reform is a discussion about the impact of ERISA. ERISA is an onerous and oppressive law that HMOs and insurance companies love and cherish, but do not want the public to understand.

Preach on, Brother!