Heat Wave

It has finally gotten hot, warm to D13 but damned hot to the rest of us.  We take for granted what this kind of heat means and how it impacts so many things.  People will die from the heat.  Equipment from automobiles to ice machines will fail at a higher rate.  When America was settled, most chose to live in the North.  They could warm themselves in the winter, but until modern air conditioning came along, cooling oneself was near impossible.  Sadly, we may be returning to those times as environmentalists continue to wage war against every new power plant anyone attempts to build.  And now the EPA may force the closure of many existing coal power plants that cannot meet their new requirements.

Mood music anyone?

Martha and the Vandellas:Heatwave

Whenever I’m with you
Something inside starts burning
and my heart’s filled with fire

Stop this – it’s got a hold on me
I said this ain’t the way it’s supposed to be

It’s like a heatwave burning in my heart
I can’t keep from crying
Tearing me apart

Is it global warming to blame?  No, it’s called summer, just as last winters records snows did NOT disprove global warming.  But lets hear from some “experts”.

BILL MAHER: No, I know why you’re happy. It’s because you’re indoors. It’s hot outside. Not as hot here as it a lot of places in the country. Do you know that 29 states are under what they call a heat advisory? When I was a kid this used to be called, “Get the f–k inside.”

But, I mean, they’re triple-digit temperatures. It was 123 in Minnesota. How far is Al Gore going to take this global warming hoax? A hundred? [Applause]

Before we get to the stupidity and/or dishonesty on display, Maher followed this up by making another tasteless joke about Marcus Bachmann:

MAHER: 123 in Minnesota? Minnesota? Michelle Bachmann’s husband went in the closet just for the shade.  [Cheers and applause]

Oh, I kid Michelle Bachmann.

Hysterical, isn’t it?

Not so funny was how Maher was doing exactly what Limbaugh spoke about Wednesday:

RUSH LIMBAUGH: They’re playing games with us on this heat wave again. Even Drudge is getting sucked in here, gonna be 116 in Washington. No, it’s not. It’s gonna be like a hundred. Maybe 99. The heat index, manufactured by the government, to tell you what it feels like when you add the humidity in there, 116. When’s the last time the heat index was reported as an actual temperature? It hasn’t been, but it looks like they’re trying to get away with doing that now. Drudge is just linking to other people reporting it, he’s not saying it, I don’t want you to misunderstand, but he’s linking to stories which say 116 degrees in Washington. No. It’s what, a hundred, 97, 99. It’s gonna top out at 102, 103. It does this every year. There’s a heat dome over half the country, the Midwest, it’s moving east. And it happens every summer.

Indeed. Maher likely got this 123 figure from a CNN.com piece reporting such a heat index in Hutchinson, Minnesota, Tuesday.

If folks like him were honest, they would first make clear that heat index is not temperature. It’s temperature including the impact humidity has on it.

And that’s the real news this week that global warming obsessed media members have downplayed – record humidity.

As Conservation Minnesota reported Wednesday:

Tuesday evening, around the dinner hour, the dew point at Moorhead reached 87.8 F, making this the most humid reporting station on the planet. The heat index peaked at an almost incomprehensible 134 F. at Moorhead.

Yet, as Minnesota Public Radio reported Wednesday, it was only 93 F when that record-breaking heat index was recorded in Moorhead.

What was responsible then? As the Bemidji Pioneer reported Saturday, it was the unprecedented humidity:

Meteorologists have determined that large fields of corn raise the dew points in surrounding areas because corn “sweats” on hot days. When the humid air mass that originated over the Gulf of Mexico passed over the sea of green that is Iowa, sweating corn likely added to the humidity levels.

Of course, it’s also been a very rainy season throughout much of the upper Midwest adding to the high humidity levels.(1)

I hope that doesn’t get us off track.  I’m more interested in what we as a nation do about our power grid.  Everything I have read says our population is increasing.  That means our energy demands will increase at least at the same pace as population.  If our economy improves, it’s possible our production will also increase.  And it doesn’t matter what you make, cars or cookies all require energy to make.  So how will the heat affect the power grid?

Hartman predicts 90- to 100-degree weather from Chicago to Boston from Wednesday through the weekend. The Midwest is expected to see peak heat on Thursday while thermometers in eastern states will top out on Friday and Saturday. Philadelphia may break a 1957 record of 100 degrees on Friday, while Washington, D.C., is expected to reach 103, tying a record from 1926.

Texas and the southern Plains states will extend a long streak of hot weather. On Wednesday Oklahoma was expected to suffer its 30th day of triple-digit temperatures this year.

Nationwide, Thursday and Friday will be hotter than any time since 1950, says Hartman. “It’s going to mean elevated power demand for an extended period of time for a lot of people,” he says.

To meet demand, utilities are firing up special power plants used only a few days a year, delaying scheduled maintenance in order to keep all equipment on line and testing heat-sensitive switches and other equipment with high-tech devices like thermographers that can gauge temperatures to one-tenth of a degree.

“These are the days everyone wants to have their ACs on, their computers going while they watch TV,” says Jon Jipping, Chief Operating Officer of ITC Holdings Corp., a transmission grid operator that owns grids in Iowa, Michigan and four other Midwest states. “These are the days we get ready for.”

Peak demand for most utilities usually happens on a late weekday afternoon in mid-summer. That’s when businesses are still open but people return home, turn on their air conditioners, lights and televisions and they start cooking dinner.

Problems can arise when the grid comes under maximum strain. Equipment can’t cool off, and it can’t handle as much power as usual. Lines, transformers and switches are working at full capacity and can be overwhelmed by power surges that can result from a blown piece of equipment or downed power line.

Even drops in power demand can be perilous. When a thunderstorm drenches a big, hot city, there is a quick drop in power demand because suddenly millions of air conditioners don’t have to work so hard. When power flow changes rapidly, either because of a surge or a sudden dropoff, devices meant to prevent equipment failures could trip, cutting power to customers.

Peak summer demand can be nearly double the demand of a typical day in a mild month like April or October. The PJM Interconnection, which operates the transmission grid in parts of 13 mid-Atlantic states, hit a record peak demand of 146,082 megawatts Tuesday. That compares to a typical April peak load of 78,000 megawatts.

Utilities and grid operators have to plan for the summer peak year-round. For them, a summer heat wave is like Black Friday for a big box retailer. Customers are clamoring for service, and it is time to sell the most power at the highest rates of the year.

Power generators have fleets of small power plants that can be turned on and off relatively easily to meet demand. They are inefficient and expensive, and therefore push the wholesale price of power sharply higher. Peak summer wholesale prices can be triple the price of power during a mild-weather month.

By the end of May each year, utility emergency procedures must be finalized, equipment must be repaired and power plants prepared. Jim Meister, vice president of operations support for Exelon Nuclear, which owns 10 nuclear plants, says each plant undergoes an average of 100 maintenance activities a year to get ready for summer.

When a heat wave is predicted, alert levels are raised that slow and then stop all non-essential maintenance on the grid. Fuel is delivered to plants that may need to fire up and workers are put at the ready.(2)

Remember those Rolling Blackouts in California and NY, to name a few?  I thought they told everyone that would not happen again? (damn George Bush’s fault)

DTE Begins Rotating Blackouts In Ferndale(3)

And in the big apple.

The heat wave that claimed lives as it staggered across the nation has settled into the tri-state, pushing temperatures to 97 degrees Thursday in Central Park and a record-breaking 103 degrees in Newark, N.J.

Today is expected to be even worse, reaching a heat index of 110 to 113 degrees and threatening to break records. It’s the seventh day of the scorching summer heat wave, and the heat is not expected to retreat until Sunday.

Con Edison is warning customers to expect scattered outages for the next few days as the power grid is stressed at capacity.

“We’re going to be in new territory, and for us that translates into a very high demand for electricity,” said John Miksad, senior vice president of Electric Operations for Con Ed.

“This is Day 1 of a three-day battle for us,” he added.(4)

So Con Ed is in a battle to meet NY’s energy demands.  Well, they have a very smart billionair mayor who I’m sure can help find a solution(snark).

Mayor Bloomberg gives $50 million to fight coal-fired power plants

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will donate $50 million to the Sierra Club to support its nationwide campaign to eliminate coal-fired power plants.Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune described the gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which will be spread out over four years, as “a game-changer, from our perspective.” The group will devote the money to its “Beyond Coal” campaign, which has helped block the construction of 153 new coal-fired power plants across the country since 2002.

Brune said in a phone interview that the group will use the money “to identify the oldest, dirtiest coal-fired power plants, retire them and replace them with clean energy.” Some of the utilities the expanded campaign will focus on are in the Washington area, including the GenOn plant in Alexandria.

As mayor of New York, Bloomberg has pushed for environmentally friendly policies such as investing in renewable energy and making the city’s taxi fleet more efficient. But this is his largest financial contribution to an environmental effort, and the donation will significantly swell the Sierra Club’s $80 million annual budget.

The announcement, which Bloomberg and Brune will make together Thursday morning at the GenOn site, also underscores the extent to which environmentalists are focused on efforts beyond the Beltway, given the opposition in Congress to climate legislation. After the federal government failed to pass legislation imposing nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions, several environmental groups have shifted more resources to the state and local levels.

I wonder how or Jersey and New Yorkers feel?  More mood music, Billy Idol

Then you know that it’s

Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight
Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight

Stranger, stranger

For all the dreams and schemes,
people are as they seem
On a hot summer night

But it’s not just New York that is under attack, it’s all of us:

In some cases, the Sierra Club has joined with unusual allies in working to prevent new power plants, like in southwestern Arkansas, where the advocacy group and the Hempstead County Hunting Club are suing to block the construction of Southwestern Electric Power Co.’s $1.7 billion John W. Turk plant.

With Bloomberg’s donation, the Sierra Club plans to expand its “Beyond Coal” staff from about 100 people to nearly 200 full-time employees, which it will deploy in 46 states. Most of the staff will engage in grass-roots organizing, but some will work on lawsuits or social networking.(5)

We at SUFA are aware of the consequences of big business and big government.  The environmental movement is big business.  Where is the government that Bloomberg feels is absent?

EPA announced yesterday that it had reached a settlement with Duke Energy to address allegations of New Source Review violations at Duke’s Gallagher coal-fired generating plant in New Albany, Indiana. A jury had already found Duke liable for certain NSR violations at the plant. The settlement obviates the need for a remedy trial, which had been scheduled for early 2010.

The settlement requires Duke Energy to repower Units 1 and 3 at Gallagher with natural gas or shut them down and to install emission controls at Units 2 and 4. Duke will also pay a $1.75 million penalty and spend $6.25 million on various mitigation projects.

The settlement is not that surprising, particularly given the prior liability findings. It nonetheless serves as a useful reminder that EPA continues to focus on coal plants and that it is going to use all the tools at its disposal to reduce coal plant emissions. Although the press release does not mention global warming, these settlements are another way for EPA to attack the climate change problem under existing authority, even in advance of rules regulating GHGs under the PSD program.(6)

And

The Clean Air Transport Rule addresses the problem of coal-fired power plants in some states creating pollution that drifts into other states, which EPA is required to address under the Clean Air Act. Under the regulation, plants in affected states will begin reducing emissions in 2012.

By 2014 the new regulations are expected to reduce sulfur dioxide by 73% and reduce nitrogen oxides by 54% from 2005 levels. These emissions can form fine-particle pollution and smog, both of which are particularly dangerous to people with lung and heart disease.

The new regulations will likely inflame already heated opposition in some quarters to EPA regulations.

A policy rider announced Wednesday by House Republicans would prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants for one year. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior, Environment and Related Agencies panel, said the provision was necessary to rein in out-of-control and job-killing regulation.

But EPA says reduced emissions will lead to $280 billion in lower health and environmental costs a year, which the agency says far outweighs the annual cost of compliance of $800 million.

How much is cheap energy worth, asks the American Lung Association’s Nolen. “Is it worth 36,000 American lives a year? That’s a pretty significant price to pay.”

Are EPA’s estimates of $280 billion in health and environmental savings realistic?(7)

Does the EPA have any projections on the number of death increases to come due to their policy?  Now it’s hundreds that die from heat every year.  When it becomes thousands, will we hear about all those lives “saved”?  I have written before about environmentalist opposing all new power plants.  You see hear another example,  if Bloomberg and the Sierra Club are for clean energy, why don’t they throw their weigh behind say, 153 “clean energy” power plants?  Remember that line from Die Hard, “are you part of the problem or part of the solution?”  And the Republicans are painted as the party of “NO”.

There are one hundred and fifty-three examples of business offering a solution even in the hostile environment created by today’s government.  Any business would be crazy not to consider how they move the goal post by raising standards, parts per million could become per billion or even trillion, and yet they have spent those millions just making a proposal and submitting their plans.

And why are businesses eager to build so many coal plants, but so few clean energy plants?  Most businesses have people who can read a balance sheet….

The programs creating each green job also resulted in the destruction of 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the country for every “green job” created.  In the end the price of electricity paid by the consumer in Spain will have to be increased 31% to be able to repay the historic debt generated by the deficit produced by the subsidies to renewable.(7)

And what I find the most amusing, after the nuclear plants in Japan were damaged by earthquakes and tsunami, Germany decided to start shutting down it’s nuclear plants.  (Go Green!)  But they realize they will have to build other plants to make up for the power loss, which takes money.  So they are taking money set aside to fight climate change and using it to build coal power plants.(9)

I thought long and hard about an intelligent thought to end this with, but who would I be kidding?

(1) http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/07/23/maher-proves-limbaughs-point-about-hyped-heat-wave-reports-says-it-wa#ixzz1T7Y1Rgdd

(2)http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_HEAT_WAVE_POWER_GRID?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-07-20-14-35-53

(3)http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/07/21/dte-rolling-blackouts-possible/

(4)http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Mercury-Rising-Heat-Wave-Stretches-Into-Day-6-125943488.html

(5)http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/mayor-bloomberg-gives-50-million-to-fight-coal-fired-power-plants/2011/07/20/gIQAEKKURI_story.html?hpid=z3

(6)http://www.lawandenvironment.com/2009/12/articles/enforcement/epa-continues-to-target-coalfired-power-plants-announces-settlement-with-duke-energy/

(7)http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/environment/2011-07-06-clean-air_n.htm

(8)http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/07/the_real_cost_of_solar_energy.html

(9)http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/13/germany-to-shovel-climate-fund-dollars-into-coal-plants/

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Comments

  1. Good morning, LOI…I would recommend those that do not remember to go back to 1980…..we had 42 straight days over 100 then, the nation recorded 1700 deaths due to heat, temps ranged from 100 to 126 in Texas….we are not even close to that now……and you know what? We ALL survived. IT will be a might warmish today…only 106…but there is a low pressure area shoving a tropical storm our way tomorrow….that will move the high and the cap that is now over us away……but this will be a political football for the Obama team to distract from the real problem. The northern states need to take a lesson from us on how to handle heat without rolling blackouts,dismissing school….etc.

    We will all survive again but there will be heat related deaths just as there are cold related deaths every year. It is called survival.

    • Mathius™ says:

      106.. sounds nice. We have a high today of 85 (pathetic).

      I remember back when I was a young school-aged whippersnapper, they used to have “Ozone days” – because of the head and amount of UV, we would either be required to stay indoors all day, or they would cancel school altogether.

      Sure, it was 115 and the sun was bright enough to fry an eye on your retinas, but that was just life in Los Angeles.

      Over the (miserable) winter, I seem Limbaugh using the record snow and cold to argue that global warming was a myth. And the global warming people called BS on him. Now that it’s nice and toasty, the global warming people are using the heat to argue that global warming is real. And Limbaugh et al are calling BS on them. Ah, hypocrisy..

  2. http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-global-warming-alarmism-192334971.html

    Don’t have much time this am but NASA just blew a hole in global warming models.

  3. Morning D,

    “1700 deaths due to heat”. What would that number be if A/C were not available? What if government policy causes such a cost increase that the poor are not able to afford the electricity cost?

    “higher housing and heating costs in Massachusetts probably exacerbated the state’s surge” Which food stamps are supposedly only allowed for food, so those who qualify should not go hungry, unless they barter food items for cash to use for other goods….

    http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/articles/2011/07/28/ranks_of_hungry_children_swell_worrying_doctors/

    Many families are unable to afford enough healthy food to feed their children, say the Boston Medical Center doctors. The resulting chronic hunger threatens to leave scores of infants and toddlers with lasting learning and developmental problems.

    Before the economy soured in 2007, 12 percent of youngsters age 3 and under whose families were randomly surveyed in the hospital’s emergency department were significantly underweight. In 2010, that percentage jumped to 18 percent, and the tide does not appear to be abating, said Dr. Megan Sandel, an associate professor of pediatrics and public health at BMC.

    “Food is costing more, and dollars don’t stretch as far,’’ Sandel said. “It’s hard to maintain a diet that is healthy.’’

    The emergency room survey found a similarly striking increase in the percentage of families with children who reported they did not have enough food each month, from 18 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2010.

    Pediatricians at hospitals in four other cities – Baltimore; Little Rock, Ark.; Minneapolis; and Philadelphia – also reported increases in the ranks of malnourished, hungry youngsters in their emergency rooms since 2008. But Boston’s increases were more dramatic, said Sandel, a lead investigator with Children’s HealthWatch, a network of researchers who track children’s health. Researchers said higher housing and heating costs in Massachusetts probably exacerbated the state’s surge.

    • Let’s see….all I hear on the news is how OBESE we are and that the health police want to patrol our eating habits….and doctors are reporting underweight…….SIGH!!!!!

      • Mathius™ says:

        Obesity is a failure of willpower. Nothing more.

        Perhaps 1 in 1,000 is a serious medical condition causing or necessitating weight gain. Everyone else needs to put the fork down.

        I lost 20 pounds last year and have kept it off. How? I put the goddamn fork down. Yes, I’m hungry sometimes, and I miss all the soda and 2,300 calorie Great Wall cakes at PF Chang’s. But I weigh exactly what I want to. Here’s the secret, ready? Stop lying to yourself. If you ate a salad with cheese, heaps of dressing, egg, croutons, and bacon, you did not have “just a salad” – you pigged out. If you go to the gym, that doesn’t give you carte blanche to eat like a horse because “you earned it” – you burned a few hundred calories, not a thousand. Snacks count as food too – you didn’t have “just a snack” you ate a 400 calorie brownie – so do sodas, that coke you just drank was 240 calories. Are you “stuffed” – you did something wrong. I see this all the time in everyone I know who “struggles with their weight”.. yea? I struggled with my weight, for few months, then I beat it and kept it in check. The only reason people struggle is because they want the easy way out – they want to eat the good stuff and they want to eat a lot of it and they don’t want to hit the gym, but they want to look like supermodels. Great – want to look like a model? Do what models do – put the fork down and go to the gym.

        Americans are fat, lazy, and entitled. They’d always rather blame their genes and society over their own bad habits. Bah. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4zw99VsoMA)

        As for underweight, there is no reason in America why anyone (except perhaps 1 in 1,000 with a serious medical condition causing or necessitating weight loss) should be underweight. When literally HALF of all Americans are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese, there is no reason why anyone should have trouble getting enough food.

        I weighed 120 lbs when I went to college. A thyroid disorder made it impossible to gain weight. Eventually, I started taking my pills and the missus started feeding me well and viola, I went up 50 lbs. For everyone else, there’s food stamps, soup kitchens, etc – if you aren’t eating enough, you’re doing something wrong – there’s plenty of food out there and available. Two or three bucks can get you a whole day’s worth of calories at McDonald’s. Maybe it’s not the aforementioned “healthy” diet, but the calories are there. Buy in bulk and you can eat for practically nothing – peanut butter is dirt cheap, lasts forever, and can do wonders at filling you up. But if you’re spending your money on luxuries at the expense of nutrition, it’s your own damn fault.

        • Kristian says:

          I’m sorry, but the last time that I checked children don’t have control over the purse strings in the home, the mom and dad do. It’s children that are underweight, not the parents.

          • Mathius™ says:

            Underweight children are the fault, pure and simple, of the parents. If your children are underweight (except that 1 in 1000), it’s because you’re not feeding them enough/right. And there is no excuse for that – if you can’t afford it, get food stamps, buy in bulk. Need more, there are charities out there.

            Seriously underweight children whose weight is not caused by an underlying medical condition are the victims of child-abuse, child-neglect and/or child-endangerment.

            How many times have you seen a 700 pound walrus woman waddling around eating an ice cream cone with a tiny and emaciated child in tow? The sea cow ate the food herself and the kid should probably be taken away from her.

            • Kristian says:

              Now that I can get behind one hundred percent. It wasn’t very clear in the original post exactly who you were talking about, the child or the parent being at fault. I remember growing up not having a lot of food in the house and eating a lot of beans and rice because it was cheap and went a long way. To this day I can’t stand to see an empty pantry, it makes me panic.

              As to food stamps and the like, do you have any idea the kind of things that will stop you from getting help? My best friend and her ex-husband got divorced a few years ago and she went to work to support her children. She barely made enough to cover the bills let alone groceries. When she applied for help she was told that she made too much money and that if she quit her job the state would pay her rent, her electric bill and her car insurance as well as give her food stamps. She turned them down and figured out a way to make it work. All she needed was help buying food for her kids and that was the response that she got.

              • Mathius™ says:

                I’m not sure that’s the exactly right/full story that if he quit her job, the state would pay all her bills.. at least not in perpetuity. The state, generally, tries to help but it’s not really in the business of paying for everything and making life cushy just because someone chooses not to work. Further, at least in NY, you’re not eligible for assistance if you quit – you have to be fired/let go.

                That said, beans, rice, peanut butter. They’ll keep you full. My great-aunt used to tell us stories about the great-depression. She lived through it eating crackers and ketchup – they’d camp out behind restaurants and get the scraps. She didn’t enjoy it much, but she rarely went hungry. Neither did her four siblings. Neither did her parents. Cranky old bag, tough as nails though – died on her own terms when and how she felt like it – and she was a fantastic cook.

            • Hey, let’s lighten up on the fatsos … I once lost 85 pounds in 9 months (putting the fork down, starving myself and walking 6 miles a day). It can be done.

              Unfortunately, perhaps because I used to be a loan shark, the 85 pounds charged interest and 95 pounds reappeared.

              What’s up with that? Capitalist calories! Charging interest on blubber? Does greed know no bounds?

              I’m always battling weight and yes, I blame my parents (why should I take responsibility, I’m a socialist, remember?) … at every meal, our mothers in our families would say, “Mangia, Carmelo. Mangia, Adelaide. Mangia, mangia, mangia …” Ten years later, there were a bunch of fat kids running around the house.

              ootball dropped me down to perfect body weight and I kept it there so long as I could run (from ages 15-31 I didn’t fluctuate more than 15 pounds) but then came the dreaded shin splints (who knew we weren’t supposed to run on concrete?) … from 31-40 I put on 60 pounds, from 40-50 another 40 …

              Holy shit, I can’t wait ’till I’m 60!

              Remember the Hakawees (F-Troop)? It is balloon!

              • Mathius™ says:

                F-Troop was a great show. You’d never be able to get something like that on the air today, though. (yes, I grew up on F-Troop, too – honest). I never understood why he wouldn’t want to marry the shopkeeper though – she was cute.

                Charlie, did you see my youtube link above? I’d be interested in your thoughts.

                As for your shin splits – I have back issues – I started running but had to stop recently. I’m thinking of buying an elliptical and/or rowing machine.. thoughts?

              • displaced okie says:

                @ Mathius,
                Try a spin/cycling class. You can burn a good 1000 calories per hour class plus no impact on your joints.

        • Matthius,
          I was thinking you sound a little stressed here. Maybe those magic fingers can help you – cause that thought gives me the heebie-jeebies! ;)

  4. It might feel worse because so many of us spend all of our time in air conditioning and the heat hits us big time when we venture outside. When we had weather like this as a kid, we’d take a cold shower before bed (often this meant to go to the swimming pool until it closed), wear as minimal clothes as acceptable, all lay on floor in front of one fan. Didn’t have AC in cars, etc. Our bodies were better acclimated to summer temps.

    • Mathius™ says:

      True words, Kathy.

      I recently visited Vegas, and it was in the 100’s. I remember that as a kid, I had no trouble at all with anything less than 115, but after 9 years of living in the northeast, 100’s felt a might warmer to me than I remembered.

      Still, nothing in the world feels better than leaving a freezing air conditioned room and walking right into a wall of heat and feeling all the cold just melt right off your body.

  5. Just reported on CNN…

    US gov’t issues four new deep water drilling permits off coast of Texas to….wait for it……..China….while refusing American Deep water drilling permits in same area.

    You know China…..the same country where Obama’s job czar just sent 2,000 new jobs.

  6. Certain important climate scientists are very eager to reorganize society. They proclaim, on weak evidence, that the Earth is doomed by global warming unless we follow a green plan to remake the economy and the social order. We have to give up cars for trolleys. Windmills will become ubiquitous. The most famous climate scientist, James Hansen, wants to put his opponents on trial for crimes against humanity.[i] Implicit in all this is the idea that a central committee of Dr. Strangeloves should rule the world. Instead of prince this and duke that, we will have doctor this and doctor that. These radical intellectuals secretly despise the present system of rule by the rabble, otherwise known as democracy.

    Some intellectuals think that they don’t get attention and status commensurate with their importance. This is especially true in America, where the cleaning lady or plumber is inclined to treat them as equals. One way to be important is to proclaim a theory that something very bad is going to happen. If the theory has some scientific basis and is backed by other prominent scientists, the claims will be credible.

    A lot of this doomsday science, disguised as environmental concern, has been going around during the last 50 years. Global warming is just the latest example of ideologically motivated catastrophe theory. James Delingpole’s book, Watermelons, describes the phenomenon in amusing detail. Like radical environmentalists, watermelons are green on the outside and red on the inside.

    If it weren’t for the prophecies of doom, climate science would be an obscure academic niche. Global warming has made everyone in the field rich, at least in academic currency if not dollars. The wealth has spread to other academic niches that have become more important in light of connections to climate. Global warming is a huge bonanza for the do-good environmental organization industry. Organizations like the Sierra Club or the Environmental Defense Fund[ii] need a perpetual stream of impending environmental disasters. When the public becomes bored with an impending disaster that never materializes, a new impending disaster must be found.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/07/climate_witchcraft_and_post_normal_science.html

    • Mathius™ says:

      Implicit in all this is the idea that a central committee of Dr. Strangeloves should rule the world. Instead of prince this and duke that, we will have doctor this and doctor that. These radical intellectuals secretly despise the present system of rule by the rabble, otherwise known as democracy.

      Firstly, let me say, Dr. Strangelove was a great movie. I quoted it the other day at work, but nobody had ever seen it – how is that even possible? “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”

      Secondly, it’s not that we (yes, I’ll lump myself in with the “radical intellectuals”) want “attention and status commensurate with their importance” – it’s that we know better in many instances. It’s not even that we’re smarter or better educated. But we’ve taken the time to study the fact and come to a considered opinion, right or wrong, whereas the teaming masses seem content to decide without taking the time to get to know the salient information.

      It’s as if you were a dedicated baseball fan with encyclopedic knowledge of the game (no “smarter” or “better educated” necessarily) and some yahoo who can’t name a single Yankee (past or present) gets to make decisions about league rules with an equal weighting to you. You know all about the pros and cons and what has worked in the past and what the models predict, but he has just snap-decided that salaries should be capped at $150k/yr because current salaries just seem too high to him. You try to talk him out of it, convince him that he’s wrong, but he doesn’t want to read your “research” or look at your boring “studies.” He proclaims that he’s using common sense and that’s all he needs in order to know how he should vote. How would you feel in that situation?

      That’s how “intellectual elitists” feel – if the teaming masses would just take the time to learn the facts and think things through, we would have no issues with them. But instead, 99% just make up their minds off of some soundbite they heard from some talking head on the radio and they can cancel us out. And there are more of them than us. Of course they “secretly despise the present system of rule by the rabble.”

  7. Global warming, aka climate change, is the scapegoat for everything from record snowfalls to disastrous tornadoes. As such, it is also the perfect route for governments to closely control their citizens by regulating the smallest of details, like which lightbulbs they are allowed to use, to supposedly fix the problem.

    Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who grew up under totalitarian rule, is speaking out against what he sees as the latest government attack on democratic freedom, environmentalism, which he argues closely parallels the thefts of freedom under communism. Do you agree with him? Let us know what you think in the comments.

    Earlier this week, both Klaus and Australian Greens party senator Christine Milne spoke in Australia on global warming, offering a clear juxtaposition between their two ideologies.

    As Klaus explained in his speech to a group of climate change realists,

    I feel threatened now, not by global warming — I don’t see any — (but) by the global warming doctrine, which I consider a new dangerous attempt to control and mastermind my life and our lives, in the name of controlling the climate or temperature. [...]

    They don’t care about resources or poverty or pollution.

    They hate us, the humans. They consider us dangerous and sinful creatures who must be controlled by them.

    I used to live in a similar world called communism. And I know it led to the worst environmental damage the world has ever experienced.

    [Global warming alarmists] want to change us, they want to change our behaviour, our way of life, our values and preferences. They want to restrict our freedom because they themselves believe they know what is good for us. They are not interested in climate. They misuse the climate in their goal to restrict our freedom. Therefore …what is in danger is freedom, not the climate.

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb-staff/2011/07/28/open-thread-does-environmental-agenda-have-parallels-communism#ixzz1TPejFReX

  8. Ah, hypocrisy…. Any reason they couldn’t have had this in the spendulous?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitol_Power_Plant

  9. Along those lines, the American automakers are warning Obama to back off of his requirements for new cars or he risks losing 200,000 jobs over 5 years. The White HOuse response was that the new requirements can be made in China at a less cost than here and the environmental impact is worth more than the jobs. What was not said…………………………………China does not subscribe to the environmental standards as a country is in the top three polluters…..and so in order to be environmentally sensitive, we will require cars to meet a specific standard, eliminate 200,000 jobs and then send the work to a non environmental country. Sigh…

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      “Top three polluters” – in terms of gross or per capita? Please add some context to that statement if you don’t mind…..

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126082776435591089.html

      • There ya go again, Ray….making me research what I heard on CNN…lol. Let me look it up. I do not know how they got to that..it is what they said. They mentioned India and Mexico in the same breath and the subject was air pollution and no environmental regulation in those countries.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          I’m not disputing that John Chinaman may be the biggest polluter – just looking for the John Madden commentary around it. I also tend to “hear” they are investing more in greener technology than anyone else as well. Not sure what net net is.

      • World Health Organization lists China as number one, United States as number Two, Russia as number three, India as number four, Japan as number five, Germany as number six, Canada as number 7, United Kingdom as number eight, South Korea as number 9, and Iran as number 10.

        As far as death by air pollution, it is China as number one. The United States did not make the top 10 on this one.

      • Naten53 says:

        The link you provide Ray is about CO2 not pollution. China does not have the same pollution regulations that the United States has.

  10. 8)

  11. Ray Hawkins says:

    Checking in……

    “Does the EPA have any projections on the number of death increases to come due to their policy? Now it’s hundreds that die from heat every year. When it becomes thousands, will we hear about all those lives “saved”?”

    That’s an interesting play to emotion USW. It’d be great if you could link to some evidence regarding “heat-related” deaths. Odd that you use a pretzel logic you are so critical of others using….

    “I have written before about environmentalist opposing all new power plants.”

    Well – maybe you have written before about this….but that doesn’t make it true now does it (sort of like this lie the right keeps using that “50% of Americans pay no taxes”)? Had you bothered to actually research source material from the very groups you are critical of you’d realize they actively support a variety of power plants (wind, solar, geo, etc).

    Cheaper doesn’t make it right – it just usually means that the costs get passed on differently to someone else.

    • Ray,

      Was me, not USW who used the emotional appeal. What do you think about “Is it worth 36,000 American lives a year? That’s the number the EPA & American Lung Ass. throw around. Where do they get their figure? It includes premature deaths of people suffering from heart and lung disease. So where is the science that proves 15 PPM vs 10 PPM will result in 36,000 more deaths? When does a guess by scientist or estimates become science? You could say it’s an educated opinion, but it’s not science as it’s being portrayed. And it’s surely not enough to use to make policy costing billions and affecting all of us. If I am correct and very few new power plants are built, do you agree there will be power shortages? Do you agree the cost of electricity will rise? Do you agree it will have a greater impact on the poor? Do you support those who are causing this to happen or will you oppose them?

      “maybe you have written before about this….but that doesn’t make it true now does it ” No, but you haven’t shown me to be wrong either.

      (sort of like this lie the right keeps using that “50% of Americans pay no taxes”)? I agree this is false. I understand how they get that bu everyone who works pays taxes IMO. I also think earned income refunds paid to people who did not pay INCOME taxes is wealth redistribution. I suspect if energy cost rise as Obama has advocated for, the poor would be given a refund Energy Tax Credit or such that would be additional wealth redistribution.

      Had you bothered to actually research source material from the very groups you are critical of you’d realize they actively support a variety of power plants (wind, solar, geo, etc). Ray, I have done a LOT of research. I could be wrong, but if so, show me. It’s all well and good they claim to be for green energy, but they only seem to oppose energy projects. Can you name a few that have been started without an environmental group filing a lawsuit against? I saw one, Washington state I think, but a small town put in a small dam without opposition. It made the news because there wasn’t any protests.

      • Ray,

        From American Thinker posted above, how “science” has become pseudoscience.

        Climate science has embraced computer climate models as the tool it uses to compute the magnitude of the warming effect of CO2. The climate models are riddled with problems. Kevin Trenberth, a noted climate scientist and a prominent promoter of global warming alarmism, said this about the models:

        “none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate.”

        The effect of CO2 is measured by a theoretical number called climate sensitivity. There are more than 20 climate modeling groups around the world. These groups each spend millions on programmers and supercomputers, searching for the value of climate sensitivity.

        They all get different answers, differing by a ratio of more than two to one.

        This failure of consensus would normally be considered a sign that the approach is not working. But if climate science can’t make predictions of doom, it will cease to be important and funding will collapse. The climate science establishment had to relax the normal rules of science for its own survival and for the sake of its post-normal-science political goals.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @LOI

        – My bad for confusing you and USW – I get too lazy looking for an intro paragraph for a guest writer

        Now on we go…..

        (1) I fault you and Nolen for how the 36k number is being used – in the source articles the number is first used as a range of 14k – 36k….then Nolen is quoted as using the cost of 36k lives (using the high end of a range to overemphasize a point). I tried searching the databases I can get to but could not find source research. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist so its difficult to say it is accurate or not.

        LOI assumption: very few new power plants will be built

        Questions to me:

        Q. Do you agree there will be power shortages?

        A. No – why would I? Is there a 1:1 relationship? Certainly there is not.

        Q. Do you agree the cost of electricity will rise?

        A. No – too many variables to eliminate to connect pace of new construction to prices alone.

        Q. Do you agree it will have a greater impact on the poor?

        A. No – it would require to assume the cost of electricity would go up.

        Q. Do you support those who are causing this to happen or will you oppose them?

        A. Causing what to happen? I think you’re asking me to define “new power plants” as coal-burning only. Sorry – I saw that trap a mile away.

        “I have written before about environmentalist opposing all new power plants”

        Let’s try this one more time – “power plants” are not defined by coal burning plants alone. Heck – look it up on wiki – there are numerous sources of power – coal, water, wind, solar, etc. Step two – go to the Sierra Club website – its pretty easy to see that they support the creation of clean power generating facilities. Its my observation that they generally opposed coal-fired. Your statement simply isn’t true LOI.

  12. C. S. Lewis:

    If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family–anything you like–at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous.

    Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing.

    The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.”

    It reminds me of why I am constantly involved in a confrontation with the ideas of the present world order.

    It is also the reason why old timers always say “the good old days” – the contrasts between good and evil were less sharp – and that gave an appearance of calm.
    Today they witness the bad getting worse, but often miss the good is getting much better.

    But what does it mean for us, today?

    It means the days of sitting on the fence between doing good or doing evil are getting shorter.

    Decision day of which one will prevail – for you – gets nearer and nearer, and there will be no middle ground to slip through.

  13. Ray Hawkins says:
    • Mathius™ says:

      Ray, you just won the internet for posting that.

      And Jon Stewart is simply awesome for so eloquently calling BS.

      This does feel like a point I’ve been trying to make here.. wonder if Stewart’s video will manage to get the point across (not holding my breath)

      • I think most have gotten your point Mathius -I think it is you who hasn’t understood ours. I don’t condemn all followers of Islam, I don’t deny that followers of Christ are capable of doing horrible things in his name-I might even argue they aren’t true followers, Muslims are free to argue the same, I would actually encourage it. It is the equivalency which many on the left want to draw-that concerns me. Do you really believe that today, that violence done under the name of Christ is equivalent to the violence that is being done under the name of Allah? Do you think Christian theology as it affects government is as dangerous as the theology of Islam as Sharia Law ?

        • Mathius™ says:

          Howdy ma’am, let’s take it step by step, shall we?

          I might even argue they aren’t true followers I don’t know what gives you the authority to decide who is and is not a follower of Christianity? It’s not that I disagree with you per say, I do, but it’s not like you or I should get to decide who is and is not allowed in our respective clubs. If it were up to them, many fanatical Christians would argue that you aren’t a “true follower”.. certainly, I don’t think the actions taken in Jesus’s name match the gospels, but I just don’t see why you or I should be the arbiter of what that means. As a thought expiriment, consider that Mormons consider themselves Christians, but many Christians do not consider Mormons to be Christians – who gets to decide what this means? I say a man is Christian if he declares himself Christian. He is Muslim if he declares himself Muslim. No one should ever have the authority to make that call for someone else. Does this make sense?

          Side note: to “convert” to Islam, all one is required to do is say out loud “there is no god but god, and Mohammad is his prophet.” That’s it – you’re now a Muslim. ::snaps fingers for effect:: Everything else, you are required to do, you can learn and do as time goes on, but that one line officially makes you a Muslim instantly (something to remember if you ever find yourself captured and about to be beheaded as an infidel).

          Muslims are free to argue the same Muslims do argue this. I have posted repeatedly where they argue that murdering innocents is not in keeping with their religion. However, in keeping with the above logic, I do not see why the “good” Muslims should be appointed the arbiters of truth regarding who is and is not Muslim. The only thing I can say is that my reading of the Koran does not support the belief that Islam condones violence except in self-defense. That said, I can see where another man reading the books might reach a different conclusion (the same can be said about the Old and New Testaments).

          Do you really believe that today, that violence done under the name of Christ is equivalent to the violence that is being done under the name of Allah? I guess that’s really how you want to look at it. Christians control the US, so one could (though I wouldn’t necessarily) argue that the violence of two wars in the middle east are Christian violence. But really, the fact is that Christians are in power and Muslims are not. So the question of who is using more violence is really determined by the fact that they have no other means of fighting back than to fight dirty (“terrorism”).

          If there is a fight between four men, three against one, and the lone man “fights dirty,” would you hold it against him? Of course not – the three have far more power so they can afford to “stay within the rules.” So we stay within the rules and use economic and covert power coupled with superior military force to get our way. The Muslims who are fighting us have no such option and resort to “dirty” tactics. This is not to condone or excuse terrorism in any way, but it really does have to be looked at through this framework – you can’t say “it’s ok for us to drop bombs on them from aircraft” while simultaneously saying “it’s not ok for them to suicide bomb a checkpoint” etc. They don’t have the option of dropping bombs on us from aircraft. When they kill civilians, they don’t see it as murdering innocents, they see it as weakening their enemy. Again, not to excuse or condone, but the current viewpoint of Americans on this topic is severely myopic. Should they put on uniforms and march in formation against our military assets? That’s suicide. Should they just give up and do what we tell them to? Of course not. So what choices have we left them?

          Do you think Christian theology as it affects government is as dangerous as the theology of Islam as Sharia Law ? Far more so, in fact. And the reason is simply that Christians have far more influence. Sharia law has no chance in the US – none – whereas Christianity-based laws abound and are everyday threats to our freedoms – from Terry Shivo to blue laws to public decency laws to abortion laws (I know we don’t see eye-to-eye on this one) to gay rights to the “ground zero mosque” to Christmas being a national holiday – I have backed off my statement that the US is a literal Christian Theocracy, but it sure leaning heavily in that direction.

          Also, as I have mentioned elsewhere, Islamic Law (sharia) actually sets up a duel system of laws as proscribed by Mohammad – one for “believers” and one for “infidels.” The believers system is generally what you think of when you think of sharia law. The infidel system is actually completely secular and differs from our current system only superficially (I can go more into this if you’re interested). In order to get into heaven, a Muslim must voluntarily submit (Islam literally translates to “submission”) to Islamic law. But a non-believer is free to obey secular laws so long as they do not impact on the free practice of Islam by those who choose to.

          I’d also like to add that Christianity, which is based on Judaism, has a holy book called the Torah (Old Testament to you folk). Torah, literally translated, means “the Law.” Submission to The Law of the Old Testament is not optional according to the Torah. In fact, belief is non-optional as well. The old testament pretty much makes it mandatory to convert of kill everyone on the planet (it says males, but I’m including women because I’m an enlighten individual). Jews tend to conveniently ignore this fact. The Bible (New Testament) walks this back a little bit – making it fairly clear that we shouldn’t kill non-Christians, merely shun them and refuse them aid. The Koran, however, explicitly clarifies that non-believers who do not hinder the free-practice of Islam are free to practice their own beliefs and must be respected for it.

          In ye olden tymes, in fact, while Jews were forced to live in what can only be described as ghettos, literally owned as property of the state, forbidden to marry gentiles, forced to pay huge fines, heavily discriminated against, and occasionally slaughtered for no good reason in European Christian societies, this was not the case in many Muslim societies. In fact, under Saladin, Jews and Christians were treated as honored members of society entitled to the full rights and protections of the Byzantine Empire – he even went so far as to personally pay ransom to save the population of a Jewish settlement.

          So, history lesson aside, the upshot is that it’s all about the implementation – Judaism, Christianity, Islam.. it makes no difference. All three can be great, merciful, and tolerant. All three can be cruel, hostile, and evil (see: the Maccabees). Your question, who poses a threat is best answered this way: the religion which poses the most threat is the religion with the most power at any given time.

          • I pretty much agree that one should be very careful in declaring whether another is a true Christian or not-but a man going out and shooting children in cold blood-is clearly not following any Christian theology-the penalty for hurting a child is very clear and some might say harsh in the Bible. But since the man-per my reading said “If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian…” and this “Mr. Breivik reveals a great deal in the compendium he assembled, most of which he wrote under the pseudonym “Andrew Berwick”. On page 1405 he writes: “Regarding my personal relationship with God, I guess I’m not an excessively religious man. I am first and foremost a man of logic. However, I am a supporter of a monocultural Christian Europe.” ”
            Now from reading his own words-I think arguing that he is not a Christian is more than fair. He is promoted as Christian and “right” I’d say he isn’t Christian and what he promotes-has nothing to do with freedom or even conservative principals -monocultural pretty much says it all.

            Yes, I know some muslim’s argue that the jihadist aren’t following true Islam. Wasn’t saying they weren’t-just said even more would be good.

            You can argue that we caused them to come after us-don’t really care to divert the conversation right now( I’m not saying it isn’t a relevant argument to discuss) -but your claim that because Christians are in charge, which I think means we are the majority in this country makes every war, the fault of the Christian religion is taking a leap. All I hear is that most of our recent wars have been about greed(oil) or spreading democracy-not sure how that can be blamed on the tenets of Christianity.

            I suppose I see your argument about which religion is in power-IF- the religion is in power-but for a religion to truly be in power-you need a Theocratic government-we don’t have one-what we have is a “vote by the people” And the religious along with everyone else, vote on both sides of the political aisle. But Sharia Law is the government and the laws they enforce become their religion in action whether all Muslims agree with the interpretation or not. And I don’t think anyone can say that the laws they enforce aren’t horrible.

            And don’t be too quick to decide that something cannot happen here. And don’t be so fast to blame every war and every problem the world encounters on religious beliefs-man can be selfish, emotional, and extreme just by their nature-they don’t have to have religion to bring out these traits but they will certainly use it-to justify their actions. If anything my religion tempers my aggression and makes justification much more difficult.

            • Mathius™ says:

              “Regarding my personal relationship with God, I guess I’m not an excessively religious man” Just because he doesn’t consider himself excessively religious doesn’t mean he’s not at all religious. Whether very Christian or only moderately Christian, he’s still Christian. That said, who cares? It’s just one example. By a similar token, we can include or exclude many terrorists of all religions. My point isn’t that Christians are terrorists.

              Yes, I know some muslim’s argue that the jihadist aren’t following true Islam. Wasn’t saying they weren’t-just said even more would be good. How many do you need? This many? Link or try http://www.M-A-T.org

              -but your claim that because Christians are in charge, which I think means we are the majority in this country makes every war, the fault of the Christian religion is taking a leap. This is not my claim. In fact, I was very clear when I said “so one could (though I wouldn’t necessarily) argue that the violence of two wars in the middle east are Christian violence.”

              That said, it is my opinion that most of the violence perpetuated on the world by the United States is secular in nature. However, the Christian right pushes social agendas which are very harmful to individual liberty and freedoms of American citizens domestically.

              but for a religion to truly be in power-you need a Theocratic government-we don’t have one To an extent. An organized Christian Right agenda can push certain items. They are “in power” to the extent that they get their way in government in many cases. To pick just one, Terry Shivo was a great example where the organized and concerted efforts of leaders and members of a specific religion used their power in a completely blatant manner.

              don’t be too quick to decide that something cannot happen here. We are far more risk of a Christian theocracy than a Muslim one. Y’all outnumber them by 130 to 1. In a voting society, they could all vote unanimously in a block and you would drown them out effortlessly. Yet, if you want to pass a law, there’s practically nothing the rest of us could do about it.

              • How many years have we been in existence-and somehow in all that time we haven’t become a theocracy-and I would bet that the % of Christians is lower now than then.

                The Christian right can push an agenda-well so can the Christians on the left-they are doing so now and so can the environmental associations, and the African American Association, etc, etc, and crap, so can illegal alien associations that have no legal right to be here.

                Reread your post-you did hedge on the Christian war stuff-but you ended up blaming it on Christians because we are supposedly in Control and per you :) all of the same mind.. As far as social agenda’s-yes some Christians push for social agendas-on both sides of the debate. And many secular’s also push social agendas. But the original topic was who’s agenda’s are worse in reality-the Muslims-kill the gay or the Christians(the ones who don’t belong to the more liberal branch of religion) who just say they can’t get married.

                And reread both statements the nut case made-Believing that Christianity is a good social, blah, blah , blah-does not a Christian make. But obviously he believed just believing in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform -made him a Christian, hence his I’m not really very religious-doesn’t interpret into I am a Christian-he changed the definition of a Christian to suit his purposes.

                Ah, I meant to say this earlier-Howdy to you too :)

              • V.H.

                but for a religion to truly be in power-you need a Theocratic government-we don’t have one To an extent. An organized Christian Right agenda can push certain items

                I, like Mathius, believe the US is a theocracy and has been since its founding.

                Because you are in agreement with its religion, you do not notice it as one.

                It may be appear to be a soft version because it merely has wrapped itself with an appearance of a secular cloth – but every President since Washington has finished his speech with “God bless America”.

              • Before anyone points it out-Yes I should have and will now-qualify the Muslims who would kill gays -to just those who interpret it that way or follow Sharia Law of their individual countries that do..

              • Mathius™ says:

                Muslims who would kill gays

                Unlike, say, the Family Research Council which spent $25,000 to lobby against a U.S. House resolution condemning a Uganda bill which offered the death penalty for homosexuality, prison time for failing to report homosexuals, and prison time for hiring a homosexual?

              • Define Theocracy – because acknowledging the existence of a God is not the same as governing solely by a specific religions theology. A vote by a majority is a vote by the majority-not a theocratic form of government. Lets face it BF-the problem isn’t any religion in this country-a majority can be secular as well as religious based -if anything the under lying problem is the short comings of the majority vote.

              • My understanding is that they didn’t fight against the resolution-they were for the resolution-but wanted some of the wording changed. I will have to read some more to get the whole picture. But from the little I know the left was just as unwilling to change the wording in order to get it passed. So should we denounce just one side or both. I suspect both-but I will read more.

        • v.H. My two cents here. My wife (who is religious) and I argue about this all the time. I believe (in my heart) that religions (of all kinds) ultimately do more bad than good (for the greater good as well as individuals). My wife claims I’m wrong, but what the hell does she know, she married me!

    • Buck the Wala says:

      I don’t know whether to cry tears of joy at the brilliance of Stewart, or cry in fear/sadness at the utter stupidity of these political commentators…

  14. Ray Hawkins says:

    Wow John McCain

    McCain erupts: Conservatives are lying to America

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102×4938382

    • Love it! He’s finally showing his true progressive colors. This whole charade has been great as the masks have come off and we can finally see who is BIG GOVERNMENT vs. those who are Big Government vs those who are VDLG.

    • So McCain thinks we shouldn’t bother trying to pass a bill because it won’t pass in the Senate-it is a waste of time, a lie to stand on principal-funny, I think that’s what got us here. I guess Boehner’s bill is a waste of time too-since Reid has already said it won’t pass the senate. And Reid’s bill is a waste of time because it won’t pass the house. It is much better, I suppose to just continue the fake cuts and political two step.

  15. Kristian says:

    Mathius,

    As I was with her when this happened, I assure you that is exactly what she was told. Those benefits would have been hers for no more than 2 years and she could have reapplied. It’s the craziest damned thing I ever heard, but that is our goverment at work for you. Rather than give her the little assistance that she asked for, she was asked to forfeit her pride so that the state could take care of her. It may not be that way in New York, but that is how it is in Florida.

    • Arkansas is the same. I think Matt is thinking how it should be, not how it is with bureaucracies and entitlements. They want more dependents to care for, which is why such agencies always get bigger. The Pelosi’s out there also want that dependent voter base. The system they have created makes it hard to get of gov. assistance, but easy to make it into a lifestyle.

  16. Buck, Matt,

    What are your thoughts if the NY/New Jersey area experiences increased power shortages along with increased costs?

    • Mathius™ says:

      C’est la vie. I’m already on the fence about getting solar panels.

      To me, it’s all about cost / benefit.. if I have to pay more and have spotty service, what am I getting in exchange? Cleaner air / reduced carbon emissions / reduced mercury emissions / reduced threat of nuclear meltdown / what?

    • Buck the Wala says:

      I’m ok with the status quo — though to be fair, that may possibly be due to my recent experience.

      On Monday morning I came to work to find that all power was done. Nothing was working — it is absolutely amazing how much we rely on electricity on a daily basis! I mean seriously, I couldn’t even use the typewriter! So this gave me time to actually sit back, enjoy my cup of coffee, organize my office a bit, etc. It was wonderful. Even better, I wasn’t paying the bill for the (lack of ) electricity.

      To make matters even better, I have yet to experience a power outage at home. Plus, my electric bills were lower this month than last!

  17. Mathius™ says:

    C’est la vie. I’m already on the fence about getting solar panels.

    To me, it’s all about cost / benefit.. if I have to pay more and have spotty service, what am I getting in exchange? Cleaner air / reduced carbon emissions / reduced mercury emissions / reduced threat of nuclear meltdown / what? If so, how much?

  18. @ Mathius … ellipticals are GREAT for low impact. Believe it or not, I do between 30-40 minutes of ellipitcal (hills, etc.) 3 x’s a week (along with treadmill and bike); the other days I walk at least 50 minutes. I’d say go with an elliptical. I’m not sure about back injuries though. When I get them (usually from squats or deadlifts), I usually can’t even walk for a few days and take 7-10 days to recover. I’ll go look at the youtube now.

  19. @ Mathius …Turbine explosion? I have no idea what that was about. Looked to me like something struck it but I’m not sure. I couldn’t make out the audio. Probably some right wing conspiracy, though … :)

  20. “I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/12122.html

    The pressures facing the nation — troubled financial markets, falling housing prices and rising energy and food costs — are genuinely historic. The next president will inherit a projected deficit of close to $500 billion, and Democrats admit privately that they were caught off guard by the spike in gasoline prices and the hardship it has imposed on middle-income and working-class voters.

    With fewer than 20 legislative days before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, the entire appropriations process has largely ground to a halt because of the ham-handed fighting that followed Republican attempts to lift the moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration. And after promising fairness and open debate, Pelosi has resorted to hard-nosed parliamentary devices that effectively bar any chance for Republicans to offer policy alternatives.

    “I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” she says impatiently when questioned. “I will not have this debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy.”

    “I respect the office that I hold,” she says. “And when you win the election, you win the majority, and what is the power of the speaker? To set the agenda, the power of recognition, and I am not giving the gavel away to anyone.”

    Let’s face it, Washington: This speaker is different. She’s the first woman ever to hold the post and a very tough one at that, with a penchant for the mystical.

    • LOI,
      Do you realize this is 3 years old?

      • Todd,

        Yes I realize it’s three plus years old. How long does it take to build a power plant? Any type of power plant? How many years are spent making the proposal, doing environmental studies, etc, then (fantasy) if there aren’t delays due to lawsuits, how long to actually construct?
        What’s that frequent line about the misguided policies of the past? And what do you think of the coming power shortages? Still gonna blame Bush?

        • LOI,
          3.5 years
          Depends on the type
          6 years
          Those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it
          We need to add generating and transmission capacity
          Probably – Just like you blame Obama for everything

          So what’s your point?

          • What’s that frequent line about the misguided policies of the past?
            “Those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it”
            I agree, but unlike some issues where we could go back and forth endlessly, electrical shortages are easily identified. If they are caused by government policy, then that policy needs to be changed.

            And what do you think of the coming power shortages?
            “We need to add generating and transmission capacity”
            Would you mind dropping a line to Lisa Jackson and explain that to her? Yes, I do blame Obama for her. I might take a wait and see attitude if any power plants were being built. Coal is evil? OK, How about natural gas that shale drilling has reduced the price of? It’s ideal for peak electrical supply, so could we build a few of them?

            And I’ll give Obama credit, unlike Bloomberg, Jackson and the environmentalists, he has tried to get wind/solar built. It has failed, but not due to any fault of the president. I will fault him for not getting a “fast track” law passed limiting lawsuits on constructing power plants. Even if it was limited to wind/solar, I think it would be helpful. And this is an issue I blame Bush for myself.

  21. :|

  22. DisposableCarbonUnit says:

    So, no one else has bothered to find additional mood music for LOI (as per the posting).

    Well, let me be the first…for the old-timers (ahem…ahem)

    On a hot summer night
    Would you offer your throat
    to the wolf with the red roses….

  23. Foot in mouth disease

    Pelosi: “What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget,” she said. “We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.”

    • “save life on this planet as we know it today.” Is she kidding-what is it that she wants to save about our currant life-unemployment at 9%-Credit agencies threatening to lower our credit rating-a debt that the interest alone will eventually destroy us , trillion dollar budgets, the complete collapse of all those social programs, or maybe it’s prices going up on everything.

      • She’s on drugs! She’d do the planet a service to retire peacefully.

        • Terry Evans says:

          Agreed…but like almost all politicians she would not give up her power position no matter how ineffectual she is…

      • BASIC TIPS

        1. Never take a beer to a job interview.

        2. Always identify people in your yard before shooting at them.

        3. It’s considered tacky to take a cooler to church.

        4. If you have to vacuum the bed, it is time to change the sheets.

        5. Even if you’re certain that you are included in the will, it is still considered tacky to drive a U-Haul to the funeral home.
        DINING OUT

        1. When decanting wine, make sure that you tilt the paper cup, and pour slowly so as not to “bruise” the fruit of the vine.

        2. If drinking directly from the bottle, always hold it with your fingers covering the label.
        ENTERTAINING IN YOUR HOME

        1. A centerpiece for the table should never be anything prepared by a taxidermist.

        2. Do not allow the dog to eat at the table…no matter how good his manners are.
        PERSONAL HYGIENE

        1. While ears need to be cleaned regularly, this is a job that should be done in private using one’s OWN truck keys.

        2. Proper use of toiletries can forestall bathing for several days. However, if you live alone, deodorant is a waste of good money.

        3. Dirt and grease under the fingernails is a social no-no, as they tend to detract from a woman’s jewelry and alter the taste of finger foods.
        DATING (Outside the Family)

        1. Always offer to bait your date’s hook, especially on the first date.

        2. Be aggressive. Let her know you’re interested: “I’ve been wanting to go out with you since I read that stuff on the bathroom wall two years ago.”

        3. Establish with her parents what time she is expected back. Some will say 10:00 PM; Others might say “Monday.” If the latter is the answer, it is the man’s responsibility to get her to school on time.
        THEATER ETIQUETTE

        1. Crying babies should be taken to the lobby and picked up immediately after the movie has ended.

        2. Refrain from talking to characters on the screen. Tests have proven they can’t hear you.
        WEDDINGS

        1. Livestock, usually, is a poor choice for a wedding gift.

        2. Kissing the bride for more than 5 seconds may get you shot.

        3. For the groom, at least, rent a tux. A leisure suit with a cummerbund and a clean bowling shirt can create a tacky appearance.

        4. Though uncomfortable, say “yes” to socks and shoes for this special occasion – especially if it’s your own.
        DRIVING ETIQUETTE

        1. Dim your headlights for approaching vehicles; Even if the gun is loaded, and the deer is in sight.

        2. When approaching a four-way stop, the vehicle with the largest tires always has the right of way.

        3. Never tow another car using panty hose and duct tape.

        4. When sending your wife down the road with a gas can, it is impolite to ask her to bring back beer.

        5. Do not lay rubber while traveling in a funeral procession.

    • And who was it that was worried about misspellings on signs? Pelosi is what mental incompetency looks like.

  24. July 29, 2011
    Our Historic Compromise
    Scott Mayer

    After months and months of tough negotiations, my wife and I have finally reached a compromise to deal with our spending and debt problems.

    For years we’ve been living almost within our means. I say “almost” because while we could have lived comfortably off the $100K we make each year, my wife always put an extra $1,000-$2,000 more than we were taking in on the credit card. That’s what I get for letting her be in charge of our finances.

    Things changed in 2008. Our salaries remained the same, but my wife decided that the way to prosperity was for us to go on a spending binge. Whatever we wanted to buy, we did — vacations, expensive dinners out, the best clothing, etc. We were finally living the life of our dreams.

    Then the bills came due — over a $100K of credit card debt in one year alone. While I was worried, I decided to ignore it, and in 2009, we did the same thing. By 2010, I had become extremely concerned for our future, and by November 2010, I had wrestled partial control of our finances from the wife.

    We started 2011 with the tough negotiations needed to reduce our spending and gain control of our debt. We still earn $100K a year, but for the past three years, we’ve been spending $200K a year. Our debt is piling up, and I’m afraid we’re headed for bankruptcy. We needed to find a compromise.

    My wife wants to spend $300K in 2011, but I told her that this is clearly not an option. I countered by suggesting that we hold spending to the $200K levels, but she had a fit and made threats (yes, she played that card!). She said we would be unable to pay the credit card interest or feed the children.

    Yet after months of painful negotiations, I think we’ve finally come up with a compromise we can both live with. We will be cutting spending by $10,000 over the next ten years, which clearly puts us on the path to getting our house back in order. Luckily, the credit card company has agreed to raise our limit.

    I wanted a better deal, but this is the best I could get in our divided house. All the same, I feel so much better now. Wouldn’t you?

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/07/our_historic_compromise.html

    • Mathius™ says:

      Sounds like a plan to me.

      • Your boss is calling you!

        • Mathius™ says:

          I’ve stated calling my boss Captain Parmenter – we both find it highly fitting.

          As for my “other boss,” Emilius, she is a good girl and saves lots of money. We save 20% of our base salaries – a number I’m hoping to increase to 25-30% next year.

  25. White HOuse just caught cutting special deal with credit agencies to downgrade republican plan and support democrat agreement. This should be impeachable…..as should Fast and Furious be….it goes to the top as well.

    • Don’t doubt it for a minute, but source?

    • Terry Evans says:

      Where did you get this information?

      • On the White House and contacting the credit issuers……it was on the news…..

        On Fast and Furious……..it is my own observation now that Holder’s first assistant knew all about it……means that Holder knew and if Holder knew, Obama knows.

  26. V.H.

    Define Theocracy

    Theocracy is a form of government in which a state is understood as governed by immediate divine guidance provided to ruling clergy or other ruling officials.

    From the perspective of the theocratic government, “God himself is recognized as the head” of the state, [2] hence the term theocracy, from the Greek θεοκρατια “rule of God”

    “In God we Trust”
    “God bless America”

    The sybology through out the US Seal, the “all seeing Eye of God” on the dollar bill, etc. points to a theocratic core.

    America was founded by theocracy – the “Pilgrims”

    The Mayflower Compact
    In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.

    Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith a….

    And as recently, ol’ Bush himself said
    George Bush: ‘God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq’

    President told Palestinians God also talked to him about Middle East peace

    Again, it doesn’t take much to see through its thin veil and appearance of secularism.

    A vote by a majority is a vote by the majority-not a theocratic form of government.

    Do not confuse the mechanics of government with the type of government.

    N. Korea has votes.
    Soviet Russia has votes.
    Communist China has votes.
    The Vatican has votes.
    Iran has votes.
    USA has votes.

    • Stated by beliefs and why-so we will disagree-because it’s friday and it’s getting late-so I am out of here.

  27. A serious question for you leftward leaning……on the current debt negotiations…….ASSUMING a bill comes out where cuts and spending are equal…………….why the opposition to a balanced budget amendment?

    @ Charlie….the Stellaman…….I am truly sorry for your loss. I see where Cuba has made the initial decision to try a capitalist approach. A flat tax of 35% on corporations and business and a competitive market. The booming market has been taxi cabs and now small mom and pop business’ are beginning to pop up and it is catching on quick. When interviewed, a cab driver said….finally, I have extra bucks in my pocket to buy what I want. A small business selling some food on a corner was smiling and saying finally, we have food to sell and profits to make. Everybody is happy.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Briefly put, a BBA, in my mind, would do more harm than good. It could serve to hamstring govt when additional spending is necessary. Also very unnecessary to go the constitutional amendment route.

      • It would not be necessary if 537 people would exhibit some self control.

      • Also very unnecessary to go the constitutional amendment route.

        Buck, I am very interested, when you have time, to have you elaborate on why it is unnecessary.

        Thanks

    • Colonel,
      To answer your question – because it’s unnecessary (we have AAA credit – use it or lose it), getting to a balanced budget (in a hurry) would destroy jobs (and maybe the US economy), and it would hamstring the US during recessions and emergencies.

      A serious question for you rightward leaning – why the support for a balanced budget amendment?

      This current situation started under Reagan (who all you Conservatives worship) when he slashed tax rates saying the economic growth from the tax cuts would bring in more revenue (which never came true). Bush I continued this, Clinton raised tax rates and created a surplus, and Bush II slashed tax rates again and the deficit and debt skyrocketed.

      And if a Balanced Budget Amendment passed, how would you balance the budget?

      Cutting spending has NEVER worked.

      Would you actually raise taxes to balance the budget?

      • http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb-0302-13.pdf

        The above link shows what happened in the 1920’s when marginal tax rates were drastically cut. Rates were raised by Wilson to pay for WWI. Following the war, we had the recession of 1919. Andrew Mellon Sec. of Treas. under Harding and Coolidge cut rates increasing revenues and triggering the roaring 20’s. Unfortunately the stock market bubble burst and Hoover and FDR responded to the recession incorrectly creating the extended depression of the 1930’s.

        http://blogs.marketwatch.com/fundmastery/2010/07/02/does-hiking-tax-rates-raise-more-revenue/

        Here is another article with plenty of charts. Study them. Look at the last chart. Revenue rose after the 1983 cuts and continued to rise until the 1992 recession when they flattened out. Once the recession was over, they rose again through the 1990s until the dot.com bust. Yes they did continue to rise after Clinton raised rates. But this was the post Cold War period with the peace dividend. Note that during the 1990s, spending went down significantly. So no wonder we could balance the budget when we had a booming stock market and significantly reduced Federal spending. Cutting spending did work. Post 9/11 Bush again cut the marginal rates. Note the increase in revenue that followed until the housing bubble burst. Unfortunately Federal spending also shot up in 2008 thus leading to the huge deficit problem we have now. Falling revenues and increased spending certainly does not work.

        http://www.house.gov/jec/fiscal/tx-grwth/reagtxct/reagtxct.htm

        Conclusion
        The Reagan tax cuts, like similar measures enacted in the 1920s and 1960s, showed that reducing excessive tax rates stimulates growth, reduces tax avoidance, and can increase the amount and share of tax payments generated by the rich. High top tax rates can induce counterproductive behavior and suppress revenues, factors that are usually missed or understated in government static revenue analysis. Furthermore, the key assumption of static revenue analysis that economic growth is not affected by tax changes is disproved by the experience of previous tax reduction programs. There is little reason to expect static revenue analysis to evaluate the economic or distributional effects of current tax reform proposals much better than it evaluated the Reagan tax program 15 years ago.

        http://www.winamericacampaign.org/myth-vs-fact/

        Something on repatriating corporate money from overseas

        With respect to Keynesian stimuli, borrowing and pumping money into the economy may work for short recessions similar to priming an old pump with leather washers. However, if the washers are worn out, no amount of priming will bring the water up. We are past the point that stimuli will fix this economy. We need now to look at fundamentals. They are tax structures, regulations, environmental road blocks, etc.

        DESERT PETE
        The Kingston Trio

        I was travellin’ West a buckskin on my way to a cattle run
        Cross a little cactus desert under a hot blisterin’ sun
        I was thirsty down to my toenails, stopped to rest me on a stump
        But I tell ya I just couldn’t believe it when I saw that water pump
        I took it to be a mirage at first, it’ll fool a thirsty man
        Then I saw a note stuck in a bakin’ powder can
        “This pump is old”, the note began, “but she works so give’r a try”
        “I put a new sucker washer in ‘er, you may find the leather dry”

        “You’ve got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe”
        “You’ve got to give of yourself ‘fore you’re worthy to receive”
        “Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face, cool your feet”
        “Leave the bottle full for others, Thank You kindly, Desert Pete”

        “Yeah, you’ll have to prime the pump, work that handle like there’s a
        fire”
        “Under that rock you’ll find some water I left in a bitters jar”
        “Now there’s just enough to prime it with so dontcha go drinkin’
        first”
        “You just pour it in and pump like mad, buddy, you’ll quench your
        thirst”

        “You’ve got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe”
        “You’ve got to give of yourself ‘fore you’re worthy to receive”
        “Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face, cool your feet”
        “Leave the bottle full for others, Thank You kindly, Desert Pete”

        Well I found that jar and I tell ya nothin’ was ever prettier to my
        eye
        And I was tempted strong to drink it, cuz that pump looked mighty dry
        But the note went on “have faith my friend, there’s water down below”
        “You got to give until you get-I’m the one who ought to know”
        So I poured in the jar and I started pumpin’ and I heard a beautiful
        sound
        Of water bubblin’ and splashin’ up outta that hole in the ground
        I took off my shoes and I drunk my fill of that cool refreshing treat
        I thank the Lord and thank the pump and I thank old Desert Pete

        “You’ve got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe”
        “You’ve got to give of yourself ‘fore you’re worthy to receive”
        “Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face, cool your feet”
        “Leave the bottle full for others, Thank You kindly, Desert Pete”

        “Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face, cool your feet”
        “Leave the bottle full for others, Thank You kindly, Desert Pete”

        • T-Ray,
          You want to use the 1920’s? Well, we’re pretty much in the same situation right now.

          This is a graph called “Re-creating the Gap that gave us the Great Depression”. It shows the correlation between shrinking top marginal tax rates and the huge disparity in wealth and income.

          http://www.thenation.com/special/images/extreme_inequalitychart.jpg

          The text is hard to read, but if you increase it to 200%, you can see right in the middle it says:

          In 1980, the last pre-Reagan year, families in the bottom 90 percent averaged $30,446 in income, after adjusting for inflation, $72 more than the $30,374 comparable families earned in 2006. The top 0.01 percent in 1980 took home an average $5.4 million, less than one-fifth the $29.6 million average income of the super-rich in 2006.

          Read the other text on the chart too. It’s a pretty chilling comparison of the unequal distribution of income just before the Great Depression to 2006…the NYSE and the DOW hit all time highs in October 2006, and lost 40-50% of their value by early 2009.

          Why does this matter? Because it creates “bubbles” that eventually “burst”. The rich have so much money, they don’t know what to do with it. So they invest it, which drives up the stock market. That’s what happen in the 1920’s and that’s what happened in the run up to the 2007 burst and crash.

          On March 9, 2009, just after Obama took office, the DOW was at 6440. It’s now over 12,000. Has the economy doubled in the past 2 years? I guess the economic recovery must be doing pretty good, huh? No, not really.

          So why the run up in the DOW? The wealthy have nothing else to do with their money. Create jobs? No – no one has any money to buy stuff. So they invest in the stock market, which inflates values, and creates the next bubble…

          • I really am trying to understand your point-Actually can’t believe I’m stepping into this conversation. :) But I am bothered by your answer. You seem to be saying the only way to stop bubbles is to take enough of peoples money so that they can’t get too rich because their wealth will adversely affect the stock market. This doesn’t seem like a plan to raise the middle class and poor up as much as a plan to keep people down.

            I would think it is more a matter of cheap loans and artificially low interest rates that cause bubbles. Do you disagree?

        • T-Ray,

          Does raising tax rates raise revenue? It depends on the economic conditions at the time:

          http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/nov/09/mike-pence/mike-pence-says-raising-taxes-lowers-tax-revenues/

        • T-Ray,

          Reducing excessive tax rates stimulates growth, reduces tax avoidance, and can increase the amount and share of tax payments generated by the rich.

          All the examples are of extreme tax rates cut down:

          1920’s – 80% dropped to 20%
          1960’s – 90% dropped to 70%
          1980’s – 70% dropped to 28%

          I agree with this to a point. 70-80-90% are all too high.

          But we’re not in a situation of extreme tax rates right now. The top rate is 36%. The wealthy don’t need more money – they (and big corporations) are sitting on piles of cash.

          We need to some how get more money into the hands of the middle and working class, so that they can buy stuff to create demand so the wealthy will create more jobs, which gives the middle and working class more buying power, creates more demand, etc.

          And I don’t mean thru taxation and re-distribution of wealth.

        • T-Ray,
          After everything you’ve posted – Lower Tax Rates & Increased Revenue, etc.

          Why did the national debt TRIPLED under Reagan?

          Considering the national debt & deficits that Reagan, Bush, & Bush ran up, why are conservatives suddenly so concerned about the national debt and a Balanced Budget Amendment?

          One other question I’ve thought of many times: If McCain & Palin had won the last election, do you think things would be any different? If so, how?

      • Reagan frequently talked about his own career during the high marginal tax rates of the 50’s & 60’s. He would make 2 movies a year and then loaf for 6 months rather than earn more and pay 90% of it to the government. Altering ones behaviour because of tax policy is common place. In your own life, do you ever consider the tax consequences of donations, home mortgage, using a home equity loan verses a non-home secured loan, buying munis instead of normal bonds or stocks? How often do you hear people talk about using a farm or a hobby business as a tax write off? Even moderate income people consider tax policy and tax minimization. The well to do have sufficient incentive to hire accountants to minimize tax consequences. Most did not get wealthy by ignoring the consequences of taxes.

        Our Aaa rating is probably long over due for a down grade. The only reason I see for it being this high is that we were (past tense) not as bad as many other countries plus we had the world’s reserve currency. At our current rate of deficit spending, we should expect a down grade. This is why it is so important for Congress to get control of spending. The reductions in the current legislation are a joke. $4T over ten years does not solve the problem. We need to reform our tax code, reduce regulations on business, reduce drastically the size of government by eliminiting departments and agencies, repeal ObamaCare, and reform SS and Medicare. Cutting governement will increase temporarily the number of unemployed people. But these people do not increase the overall wealth of the nation and are in fact a drain on the at wealth.

        Re: BBA. The BBA is not needed if Congress can control itself. But I think there is more than ample evidence that they cannot. Hence, we the people need to put restrictions on them. A BBA should not eliminate the government’s ability to issue bonds for capital improvement projects. Prior to WWI, Congress voted on specific bond issues for specific projects. However, during WWI, Congress gave Treasury the debt limit thus taking the lazy way out. We should go back to the old method. Bonds should not be used for daily operation of the government.

        The same can be said for term limits. Term limit legislation would not be needed if geriatric politicians would retire and go home. Unfortunately too many seem to think it is a job for life and are either carried off the floor feet first or fosslilized in place.

        • T-Ray,
          No one is suggesting we create a 90% tax bracket. The suggestion is to raise the top tax rate from 36% to 39% – where it was before the Bush Tax cuts.

          Yes, tax policy affects behavior. But anyone who says they’ll stop working because the tax rate is 39% vs 36% is either not telling the truth or probably couldn’t raise income anyway.

          Our AAA rating is because we’ve always guaranteed our debt, and have always followed thru – for 200+ years. The only risk is those who want to force a default.

          I agree Congress needs to control spending, but they should also increase revenue.

          Cutting government will increase temporarily the number of unemployed people. But these people do not increase the overall wealth of the nation and are in fact a drain on the at wealth.

          This is a little too broad of a statement. Not all government employees are just a drain on wealth. And drastic cuts in government employment have a trickle-down effect on the economy – these newly unemployed are no longer buying homes, cars, groceries, and now they’re collecting unemployment benefits.

          I have no problem with switching how we found projects, but that can be abused as well.

          • Todd, go back and study the charts I posted. The current financial problems are not the result of the marginal tax rate. They are the result of significant reductions in revenues due to double digit unemployment and substantially increased spending. Raising marginal tax rates is an emotional issue used to divide people and polarize the electorate.

            Yes our tax system needs major overhauling. It is far too complex with far too many loop holes. But plugging a few loopholes especially for emotional reasons is not the answer. Work to reform the whole system and take away Congress’ ability to give favors in the form of new loopholes. I would favor a flat simple tax structure that does not permit social engineering. The tax system should exist solely to raise revenue for the government.

            As for reducing the size of government, that will take years, but we should start reviewing every department and agency for effectiveness and constitutionality. If they do not pass the test then shut them down. Some functions may need to be saved moved to other departments. But it is long past time for a general house cleaning at both the federal and state levels. This is something most businesses due every recession. The result is usually a leaner but stronger business.

            • T-Ray,
              There are lots of “emotional issues” out there. My favorite is “job creators”. It’s such an over-simplification of the issue, and many of the wealthy are not “job creators”. If you really want to get technical, the middle-class are the “job creators”. Without them, there is no demand for products, so no jobs are necessary.

              The flat tax would be another gift to the wealthy and it would kill the middle and working class. The unintended consequences would be huge.

              As for reducing the size of government – please review every department and agency and list which ones you’d shut down, and the impact that would have on our economy and society.

              This is something most businesses due every recession. The result is usually a leaner but stronger business.

              The government is not a business. They are not run the same. How often do you hear about a Board of Directors fight in a company? Occasionally, but not very often. If you disagree with the majority of the directors and the management team, and can’t support their agenda, you leave. A company has a “single” focus of making a profit in one (or many) businesses. None of this applies to a government.

              Just think of Donald Trump. He’s used to being in charge and running the show. How do you think he’d handle having to listen to and accept the options of 534 members of Congress?

              • USWeapon says:

                As for reducing the size of government – please review every department and agency and list which ones you’d shut down, and the impact that would have on our economy and society.

                Interesting that you would say that Todd. I have an article written that addresses this very thing coming soon. Probably towards the end of the week or beginning of the following week.

                Further you seem to have this notion that it is impossible, or at least unwise, to scale back the size of government. I completely disagree with said notion. But I think that is because you and I have two entirely different core principles at work. Yours seems to be growing the middle class and flattening out the difference between classes. Mine is individual liberty. I think that may very well end up being an article as well. See Todd, you are an inspiration.

              • Thanks USW for the support.

                Todd, where does the money go that belongs to the “upper” class if it is not confiscated by government. Do they bury it in the backyard where it does nothing to improve the economy? Or do they hire gardeners or maids thus creating jobs? Do they buy planes, fancy cars, take vacations, all creating jobs? Do they build mansions? Or do they invest the money in stocks and bonds or pour it back into their businesses? Only the first option does not create jobs. The other option is to donate it to some worthy charity. Rockefeller money eliminated hookworm as huge problem in this country plus funded the U of Chicago, Rockefeller Inst. now Univ. to name just a few of the things they did with their money.

                Now if government confiscates the money, where does it go? First it gets controlled by Congress who has no ability to control themselves. So they spend 140% of whatever they take. A sizeable part of the funds go to pay the bureaucracy that confiscated the money and whatever groups that receive it to spend. Yes these are jobs but as recent reports have shown jobs that cost about twice the private sector when all fringe is included. So the cost benefit ratio is already out of whack. Some of the money gets given to foreign governments and the UN thus creating no US jobs. Some goes to fight foreign wars. Some goes to the regulators who seem to do everything they can to impede business in this country. Let’s not forget interest payments. Lastly some goes to Medicare, Medicaid, SS repayments, and finally welfare. In the end, a large part of the money is wasted and did not help the economy grow.

                As we have seen with this administration, some of the money is laundered through the unions and given back to the party in power. Of course you will argue that it also went to the fat cats on WS who sent it to the other party. However, if you look closely at many of these fat cats they support both parties, i.e. they rig the game.

                Re: The flat tax being a “gift to the wealthy.” The attitude buried in this statement is that the wealthy and thus everyone does not own their income but that it is the property of the government who is generous enough to leave us with something for ourselves. This is tyranny. It violates all concepts of property rights on which this country was founded and makes us serfs. Yes the consequences of a flat tax would be huge. A lot of tax attorneys, accountants, and IRS agents would be out of work. But these people do not actually add wealth to the nation. They sap our wealthy without adding any value.

                As for government agencies, do you honestly think that multiple overlapping agencies are efficient? Look at all the agencies involved and the bickering that went on during the gulf oil spill. There was the CG, EPA, NOAA (Commerce), Interior, DOE,…. I posted a link to the government agencies. The numbers are large. Surely we can eliminate and combine some of these and save $s. We also need to look very carefully at their charters and reasons for existence. If they are not fulfilling their missions and have no hope of doing so, then why not cut them. DOE is a prime example. It was created to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. They are a miserable failure. Some of DOE, the old NRC, is needed but could be moved to another department. The remainder should go as an example to the other departments. Become effective or cease to exist.

                FYI, I posted the other day where I would start cutting. The list had about a dozen items but was nowhere near long enough.

              • “If we do not come to an agreement, we could lose our country’s AAA credit rating. Not because we do not have the capacity to pay our bills. We do. But because we did not have a AAA political system to match our AAA credit rating. Make no mistake, for those who say they oppose tax increases on anyone, and lower credit rating would result potentially in a tax increase and everyone in the form of higher interest rates on their mortgages, their car loans, their credit cards, and that is inexcusable,” President Obama said on Friday morning.

                I think he was talking about himself again.

              • USWeapon,
                Two problems with scaling back the size of government:
                1. If you do it too fast, there will be many unintended consequences.
                2. Everyone wants to scale back the part of government that doesn’t affect them. That leaves very little to scale back.

                But I think that is because you and I have two entirely different core principles at work. Yours seems to be growing the middle class and flattening out the difference between classes.

                Close, but not quite – and this is just off the top of my head: Improving the economic situation of everyone or more people. Not really flattening it out, but raising the low spots.

                Mine is individual liberty.

                Just a thought, but economic stability will probably go farther than anything else in safe-guarding your individual liberty…

                See Todd, you are an inspiration.

                Well, I’ve always known that. What took you so long????? ;)

      • Hi Todd…….to answer your question, yes, you can balance a budget without raising taxes. Lower your expenses. You have to make some hard decisions (ie: entitlement programs, programs that throw money away to illegal immigration (billions in Texas) so how many billions in the US…how about foreign aid and the UN and the support of stupid wars I do NOT believe that increased spending saves anything. That has been proven time and again. What is wrong with establishing a budget and then staying in it?

        You may not like Texas but we have a balanced budget amendment and we balanced our budget deficit by cutting expense and not raising revenue. A first grader can solve deficits by raising revenues but that does not show fiscal responsibility. But I was wondering why the left does not like balancing a budget and I have received two answers as to why….both answers were geared to more spending. In other words….living beyond ones means. This is what I do not understand, Buck……..why NOT control spending. I do not think you can show me where excess spending saved anything.

        But let me offer this to those of you on the fiscal left…….would you consider, then, a line item veto, ZERO earmarks, and ZERO add on to all budgets and each bill stands on its own. Would you be in favor of this over a balanced budget amendment.

        • Colonel,
          How about a 10% across the board pay cut for all military personal? Contributing 10% to your pension and benefits? Reduced use of helicopters and aircraft – more driving?

          Who has said increased spending saves anything? Maybe I don’t understand what you’re referring to.

          You talk a lot about Texas, but didn’t they use quite a few budget tricks to balance the budget? Used Stimulus dollars. Delayed some payments to next year. Predicted a faster increase in land values to show more property tax income. Assumed no growth in the number of school children in Texas, even though it is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation.

          Perry has also doubled the state’s debt from $13.7 billion in 2001 to $34.08 billion in 2009. He brags about not dipping into the state’s substantial Rainy Day Fund, but even other Republicans claim Perry has appropriated nearly all the money in the Rainy Day Fund, and have asked him to stop claiming that he preserved it.

          I told you in my previous post why a balanced budget amendment is bad.

          I line item veto can be dangerous. Wisconsin governors have used it to substantially change legislation, not just remove things.

          If you think “ZERO earmarks” will save money, then your don’t understand earmarks.

          I would agree to “ZERO add on to all budgets and each bill stands on its own.”

          • Todd

            (1) I have no problem with a ten percent cut across the board for ALL government agencies and programs. I would agree to 15% but make it all inclusive…ALL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS and entitlements. I would support that today.

            (2) Yes, Perry used stimulus dollars one time and he paid a very high political price for it from the voters….very high. He lost all support for his pet projects including the Trans Texas Highway. He almost lost the governorship as a result of that….and the legislature that agreed with him was all but thrown out. He has seen the error of his ways and he is being watched like a HAWK.

            (3) The legislature delayed the payments into one year and it was the same legislature that got replaced almost to a man/woman. Take a look at the TExas legislature change from two years ago, There are almost NO democrats left…even in HIspanic democratic enclaves.

            (4) It does not matter what he predicts, Texas is pay as you go. IT only matters what happens. When the property taxes do not match, the budget must be addressed in the next Legislature. This past legislature slashed all the scared cows across the board for this and as TExans, we are in agreement with it. Our charities are stepping up to the plate.

            (5) ” Assumed no growth in the number of school children in Texas, even though it is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation.” This is something that I have not heard nor seen. I do not know how anyone anywhere could make such a statement. I would be interested in where you saw or heard this,

            (6) The debt, as carried on the books, has gone up and we know this….however, tell the whole story. All of the debt is financed by bond drives and not one penny of tax money.

            (7) The rainy day fund has indeed been appropriated and it has been done with pay as you go user fees. He has preserved it by NOT falling victim to the diatribe of education woes or unemployment. The rainy day fund is NOT for entitlement programs and short budgets….it is for catastrophic issues. Running out of money in a particular area is not a catastrophe. It is a budget issue. Balance it.

            (8) I saw you post on the balanced budget. Sorry, I do not believe in blank checks. When you are out of money you are out of luck, in my opinion.

            (9) Texas has a line item veto and it is used quite effectively on fiscal matters. That is the only place that it is used.

            (10) I know exactly what an earmark is and I disapprove of them. Each and every expenditure should be voted on separately. Earmarks are designed for specific uses but are used when they cannot stand on their own. Once an earmark is attached to a bill, then it must be funded. This is quite different from an “add on”.

            I do brag about Texas and rightly so because the stats and everything else shows that it works better than the Federal Government. Take a look at the credit Obama takes for the jobs market and see where the bulk of them are.. We have taken fiscally unpopular stances designed to reduce costs and they are working (Tort reform, loser pays lawsuits, caps on monetary awards, etc) It brings jobs to the state. We have our short comings in areas that we are trying to change but it will take some more time…BUT>…we are doing something.

            Anyway,hope that you and yours are doing well…..looks like we are going to break our 1980 heat record though…….that is not too good.

      • Todd…from your own beloved Wiki…..

        Tax receipts

        During the Reagan administration, federal receipts grew at an average rate of 8.2% (2.5% attributed to higher Social Security receipts), and federal outlays grew at an annual rate of 7.1%.[28][29] According to a 1996 report of the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress, during Reagan’s two terms, and through 1993, the top 10% of taxpayers paid an increased share of tax revenue to the Federal government, while the lowest 50% of taxpayers paid a reduced share of the tax revenue.[30]

        Personal income tax revenues declined from 9.4% GDP in 1981 to 8.3% GDP in 1989, while payroll tax revenues increased from 6.0% GDP to 6.7% GDP during the same period.[31] This represented a more regressive tax regime, with more revenue derived from the flat payroll tax versus the progressive income tax.

        According to a United States Department of the Treasury economic study,[32] the major tax bills enacted under Reagan, in the short term, increased total tax revenue and reduced the tax burden on the economy (~-1% of GDP). The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 resulted in a reduced tax burden on the economy (~-3% of GDP) but a decrease in total tax revenues (the largest tax cuts ever enacted).[33] while other tax bills had neutral or, in the case of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, a (~+1% of GDP) increase in revenue as a share of GDP. It should be however noted that the study did not examine the longer-term impact of Reagan tax policy, including sunset clauses and “the long-run, fully-phased-in effect of the tax bills”.[32] The fact that tax receipts as a percentage of GDP fell following the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 shows a decrease in tax burden as share of GDP. Total tax revenue from income tax receipts increased during this time. The economic growth and increase in GDP outpaced the increase in tax receipt revenue, resulting in a slightly reduced tax burden as a percentage of GDP for the economy.

        • Colonel,
          You skipped a few things.

          Reagan increased spending:

          Spending during Reagan’s two terms (FY 1981-88) averaged 22.4% GDP, well above the 20.6% GDP average from 1971 to 2009.

          Public debt TRIPLED:

          The public debt rose from 26.1% GDP in 1980 to 41.0% GDP by 1988. In dollar terms, the public debt rose from $712 billion in 1980 to $2,052 billion in 1988, a roughly three-fold increase.

          The income divide was greatly expanded:

          The share of total income going to the 5% highest-income households grew from 16.5% in 1980 to 18.3% in 1988 and the share of the highest fifth increased from 44.1% to 46.3% in same years. In contrast, the share of total income of the lowest fifth fell from 4.2% in 1980 to 3.8% in 1988 and the second poorest fifth from 10.2% to 9.6%.[24]

          Homelessness started:

          And during Reagan’s first term, homelessness became a visible problem in America’s urban centers, leading many to blame Reaganomics.[25] In the closing weeks of his presidency, Reagan told the New York Times that the homeless “make it their own choice for staying out there.” [26]

          Turned America from the world’s largest international creditor to the world’s largest debtor nation:

          the U.S. borrowed both domestically and abroad to cover the Federal budget deficits, raising the national debt from $997 billion to $2.85 trillion.[19] This led to the U.S. moving from the world’s largest international creditor to the world’s largest debtor nation.

          • Did not skip it….was referring only to your receipts comment.

            HOwever, let’s compare it to today on several things….spending, deficit, debt.

  28. July 29, 2011, 8:31 am
    Libyan Woman Who Claimed Rape Arrives in U.S.
    By J. DAVID GOODMAN

    After fleeing to Tunisia and then heading for Europe, Eman al-Obeidy, the Libyan woman who said she was brutally raped by forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, arrived in the United States this week, CNN reported on Friday.
    Eman al-Obeidy being escorted away in March after she burst into a hotel in Tripoli to report a rape by militiamen.Albert Facelly/Sipa Press, via Associated PressEman al-Obeidy being escorted away in March after she burst into a hotel in Tripoli to report a rape by militiamen.

    Ms. Obeidy landed in New York late on Wednesday and then left for another location in the country where she will settle, the network reported; that location was not disclosed.

    Ms. Obeidy became internationally known in March after she burst into the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli, which housed more than 100 journalists covering the conflict there under close watch of the Qaddafi government, and described a horrific rape at the hands of government forces. Her pleas, and her eventual detention after rough treatment by government minders and hotel staff, were captured by cameras and broadcast around the world.

    Now in the United States, Ms. Obeidy did not appear on camera for CNN and said she would not be making news media appearances just yet. But she did speak with one of the network’s producers, who reported on its Web site that she was happy to be in the United States and hoped to meet Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton someday.

    Before escaping Libya, Ms. Obeidy was said to be under house arrest in Tripoli. She managed to flee to Tunisia in early May and from there made her way to Romania, where she spent more than two months in a United Nations refugee center. CNN reports that she was granted asylum in the United States.

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/libyan-woman-who-claimed-rape-arrives-in-u-s/

    I think this is wonderful news-I hope she is happy living here.

  29. When talking about air pollution, I think about the air I breathe. To the EPA it means air pollution can pollute the water, and then end up in the fish that breathe that polluted water. So when the EPA talks about air quality, they include mercury levels in the fish we eat.
    Sounds fishy to me…

    http://www.heartland.org/full/30192/Power_Plants_Closing_Jobs_Disappearing_in_Response_to_New_EPA_Regulations_.html

    Health Claims Disputed
    EPA claims that by reducing pollutants such as mercury, ozone, and soot, the new regulations will prevent between 20,000 and 53,000 premature deaths each year.

    Environment and health experts disagree.

    On June 15, Cambridge, Massachusetts scientist Dr. Willie Soon submitted comments to EPA documenting the concerns felt by many environmental scientists.

    “The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) newly proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) failed to describe the scientific reality of natural processes and multi-factorial controls that govern the cycling of mercury (Hg) and the ultimate biomethylation and bioaccumulation processes for methylmercury (MeHg),” wrote Soon.

    “The bottom line remains that trace amounts of mercury (Hg) or the biochemically active form of methylmercury (MeHg) in fish, either from lakes and streams or oceans, are essentially a natural manifestation that has no clearly controllable relationship vis a vis any anthropogenic emissions of mercury. More importantly, consuming reasonable amounts of fish, at reasonable frequency, is safe and should be a critical part of a healthy dietary plan for every American,” Soon explained.
    Says No Risks Found
    Emergency room physician John Dale Dunn, a medical advisor for the American Council on Science and Health, confirmed Soon’s conclusions, “There is no human health research that shows ambient mercury, soot, or ozone levels cause illness, disability, or death,” Dunn said.

    JunkScience.com author Steve Milloy, who holds a Master of Health Sciences in Biostatistics degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, agrees, saying, “There are simply no public health or environmental benefits to be had by furthering tightening of air quality standards. As I explained in my report, ‘EPA’s Clean Air Act: Pretending air pollution is worse than it is,’ EPA’s most recent data indicate that its fine particulate matter standard was exceeded less than 0.1 percent of the time in 2009 and the ozone standard was exceeded 1.3 percent of the time—and these standards are set well below the levels at which any health effects occur.

    • I find all of this extremely frustrating. Science, economics-no one seems to agree on anything. Once upon a time didn’t scientists have to actually prove their theories or continue to define them as just theories. When did it all just become a political tool. :(

  30. I know our country is big but to we need all these?

    http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Federal/All_Agencies/index.shtml

    • I don’t know T-Ray-in order to be “Fair” we really should have some agencies that start with X,Y, & Z.

      • I propose the Zest for Life Agency. They can be in charge of all the ED medication and ads. Since fairness is required, their big goal will be to find an XX equivalent.

  31. One very interesting documentary I just watched …

  32. Wonder if this will have any of the main players in the debt ceiling-actually calling for some real cuts. Really wish someone would ask Moody’s if Cut, Cap, and Balance would protect our rating.

    Moody’s: Neither debt plan protects the nation’s AAA rating
    By Peter Schroeder – 07/29/11 05:11 PM ET

    The “limited magnitude” of both debt plans put forward by congressional leaders would not put the nation’s AAA credit rating back on solid footing, Moody’s Investors Service announced Friday.

    “Reductions of the magnitude now being proposed, if adopted, would likely lead Moody’s to adopt a negative outlook on the AAA rating,” the credit rating agency said in a new report. “The chances of a significant improvement in the long-term credit profile of the government coming from deficit reductions of the magnitude proposed in either plan are not high.”

    It added that “prolonged debt ceiling deliberations” have increased the odds of a downgrade, but that the firm is still confident policymakers will avoid a default.

    “It remains our expectation that the government will continue with timely debt service,” the firm said.
    It also clarified that as far as it is concerned, the nation will only default if it misses an interest or principal payment on U.S. debt, not if it misses payments on other obligations like federal employee salaries or Social Security benefits.

    The report also gives credence to a claim popular among Republicans: that the government has enough cash to avoid a default even past the Aug. 2 deadline set by the Treasury Department.

    “If the debt limit is not raised before August 2, we believe that the Treasury would give priority to debt service payments and could thus postpone a potential debt default for a number of days,” it said. “Revenues would be more than adequate for some period of time to meet those payments, although other outlays would be severely reduced as a result.”

    Moody’s previously put the nation’s top credit rating on watch for a downgrade on July 13, as lawmakers continue to fight over a deal to raise the debt limit.

    While Moody’s is confident it will not have to downgrade the nation’s rating because of a default, it maintained that long-term debt and deficit problems will continue to weigh on the AAA mark.

    As Republicans and the White House fight over the length of a debt limit increase, Moody’s said it would not reaffirm the nation’s AAA rating unless there is at least a six-month boost to the debt limit.

    However, if the nation were to default for a short period of time, Moody’s said it would knock its credit rating down to AA, under the assumption that the default would be quickly rectified and investor losses would be minimized. However, in the “extremely unlikely” situation that investors do lose on Treasury investments, a lower rating could be given.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/801-economy/174447-moodys-neither-plan-protects-the-nations-aaa-rating

  33. This is the first article I have read-that has made me question the BBA-From reading it-I still feel we must pass one-because government spending will never be brought under control without one. I really don’t believe having one will bring it under complete control either-but I think it would stop the totally crazy spending-but I now question-just how one should be worded to achieve the desired end.

    July 27, 2011
    Why Conservatives Should Bork the Balanced Budget Amendment
    By Tim Gordon

    Why has Robert Bork maintained for two decades that true conservatives should ignore the returning tide of impassioned Republican invocations for a “balanced budget” amendment? Well…because they should.

    The 21st century’s conservative is best recognized by his stalwart fidelity to a well-partitioned brand of federalism. The partitioning of checked and balanced powers into three branches, one does well to remember, is the greatest single guarantor of our liberty. Now, given the reckless abandon of the insolvent Obama deficits (three years running), otherwise well-informed and well-intentioned conservatives understandably seek to cure the maladies which directly and indirectly follow upon failing to balance the annual budget. They seek to do so by — well, balancing the budget…with an amendment.

    Now, only the last part — the amendment per se, or more specifically the means of balancing the budget — is here objected to (why not, instead, a “no debt at all” provision?). After all, such a thing would be blithely “unfederalist” (if I may) and wholly impracticable. Quite simply, the proposed balanced budget amendment — in all the sundry forms in which it has appeared through the years — lacks enforcement provisions, and therefore will ultimately allocate taxing and spending powers to the courts. And in these strange “wilderness years,” serving up yet another specifically provided legislative power to the judiciary is simply unacceptable to the already beleaguered conservative mind. How so?

    The presumed effect of any constitutional amendment is the prohibition (or in some rare instances, the compulsion) of a given congressional act. For example, let’s look at the first of all amendments: “the Congress shall pass no law [a singular act] respecting an establishment of religion.” Congress is not allowed to enact a specific type of legislation — in the First Amendment’s case, a law favoring one religious sect over another. This is how amendments work, at least grammatically: they give courts a non-interpretive directive to follow, if Congress ever violates the plain language of the amendment to the extent that a case must be litigated. (The Court found a way of perverting even proper First-Amendment-language to its will, but this constitutes an altogether different jurisprudential narrative.) If the language of the amendment is sufficiently clear as a guideline for the Court, then no mention-worthy power is added to the Court’s jurisdiction.

    But in the case of the “balanced budget” amendment — assuming arguendo that it were to be passed — the Congress would remain free to spend profligately from New Year’s Day until New Year’s Eve in any given year, as so doing would not violate the amendment. At least, no violation would transpire until it would be too late. After all, the amendment would not direct, or even purport to direct, the spending or saving of a single congressional cent. All it prescribes is a happy consequence, without really proscribing any congressional act or set of acts to achieve such penny-pinching. Amendments, to be brief, must command or proscribe some expedient, not merely some sentiment. No other amendments read so consequentially, one notices.

    In an epoch when we conservatives find ourselves more diametrically opposed to liberal policies than ever, the “balanced budget” amendment would require Edenic levels of bipartisan fellow-feeling (which, as Rand Paul regularly points out, is an inherently untrustworthy thing anyway), and with regard, no less, to Congress’s most fundamental power: “the power of the purse,” to borrow Publius’s term. The main element which has appeared in all the renditions of the proposal would require only that “total outlays shall not exceed total expenditures,” an admonition as hauntingly conclusory as it would be openly ideological.

    In other words, the very problem which got us into this mess in the first place is that conservatives’ counterparts in the Congress — liberal Democrats and moderate Republicans — spend like poets on payday. That is, if anyone could have persuaded a majority of them to the conservative conservationism of money, then no amendment would be required ex ante! The amendment itself would require what the felt need which led to its invocation could not supply: a majority of solvent-minded legislators.

    Thus, on New Year’s Eve, when Congress feverishly tries to balance the last-minute budget, Democrats will labor to do so by defunding yet another missile defense program, while Republicans will try to scale back certain entitlements programs. Even in some fictive world where congressmen were competent, or at least well-intentioned, the amendment still would not provide any real aid to a good-faith effort by a coalition in either House to gain a majority by enacting a specific budget-balancing measure. And thus, the Times Square Ball and the fiscal year would drop on a Congress which just violated the new amendment it passed, even as that same Congress intended to honor that same amendment.

    Then the citizen suits would begin. As Bork himself has written:

    The result … would likely be hundreds, if not thousands, of lawsuits around the country, many of them on inconsistent theories and providing inconsistent results. By the time the Supreme Court straightened the whole matter out, the budget in question would be at least four years out of date and lawsuits involving the next three fiscal years would be slowly climbing toward the Supreme Court.

    Worse still than “inconsistent” propositions of (now) judge-made budgetary law would be the fact that the Supreme Court has commandeered yet another most fundamental power of the legislature: taxing and spending. All of the federalist concerns would, of course, apply in full force. Five out of nine oligarchs on a bench would now wield the purse as a sort of ideological sword, and the single most definitive power of the Congress could now be adduced to all its lesser powers which have been made forfeit to the Court throughout the years. The whole fiscal year would be decided by five people.

    Hey, we could always hope that the Judiciary would delimit itself, as it is supposed to do in theory, by means of the “political question” doctrine. If a given case is not justiciable (the court’s word for “no relief we can offer”) and/or is openly political as to matters of policy, the court itself is supposed to deny to hear it. Oh, yeah, but this would entail a branch diminishing its own power in a Platonic display of governmental restraint — an angelic act never before witnessed in the world of striving and struggling government actors (or within mankind’s writhing ranks, for that matter). Ironically enough, the “balanced budget” amendment could well be the first instance of such selflessness in recorded history.

    Only, in this case, Congress would not willfully diminish its power. Such diminution would come to pass only as an unintended consequence of a promising-sounding conservative blunder. All that glitters — even to the weather conservative eye — is not constitutional gold. (And even if it were gold, it would now be forfeit to the new judicial purse, anyway.)

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/07/why_conservatives_should_bork_the_balanced_budget_amendment.html

    • Thanks for posting this. It is a good argument against. How then to we control Congess and prevent this continued overspending? Do we give the President the line item veto (via amendment) and make him responsible for balancing the budget?

      • Would you like to explain exactly how the line item veto would work- I need more information because right now it sounds like a bad idea-because the way the bills are currently written-the idea that the Prez. could just take away spending cuts and leave in tax hikes-makes me nervous. As far as making him responsible for balancing the budget-seems like a lot of power by way of the line item veto-without alot of power to stop him or punish him for not complying. This President seems to pretty much ignore the court system and I suspect alot of the past ones did too.

        • Line item veto authority for appropriations bills only VH, not for bills enacting changes to say the tax code – which would not be appropriations. So the President would veto spending items. Congress would have the option to over-ride the individual vetoes, just like any other bill veto that Congress can vote to over-ride.

          I for one have no problem with the President having a line item veto power. Many Governors have this power and the states have survived. I also wish Congress was limited to single issue bills. It would stop all the BS bill amendments to get issues passed that have nothing to do with the main bill.

          • Essentially what Plainly said. Since a new amendment is required, Congress could reduce the 2/3 override majority to 60%. This would ensure that a strong majority of Congress supported the spending. A 2/3 majority would be nearly imposssible to achieve in today’s divided world. It also allows the electorate to see who to blame for the excess spending come election time. The current system of signing statements used by Bush, Obama and many other presidents, I believe is illegal. The Constitution does not give the President waffle room, either sign the bill or not.

            I like the idea or one topic bills. This would solve a lot of ills. I also like the current House rule that all bills quote the appropriate section of the Constitution under which the bill is authorized.

            • The idea of lowering the over-ride for line item vetoes to 60% also works fine in my opinion as well. This continually battling over nothing more than running the country deeper into the red (which is about the only consistent behavior we are getting out of Congress and the administration) will only continue if the same old methods are used to appropriations.

              We pay for their behavior and stupidly support their behaviors – so I guess the real fools are the people governed.

              Maybe it’s time we acknowledge that this “one nation, under God” is no longer indivisible?

              • Splitting up the country would be a huge mistake in my opinion. The electorate is certainly partially if not mostly responsible for the mess in DC because we tolerate it and do not educate ourselves fully. This is partially the fault of the MSM who do not challenge the BS spewed by either side. For example, we do have more than enough income to cover the interest payments on the debt. Bonds that are due can be paid off by issuing new bonds since the debt ceiling will not be breached. So we will not default on our debt unless Obama chooses not to pay the debt first. The MSM should stop with the default talk. The credit rating is the real issue. Also the cuts in spending that they are talking about are not cuts in spending but cuts in the increased spending that is anticipated. Again if the press would make this perfectly clear, opinions would change.

              • Okay this is starting to make more sense-So could we enforce an accounting of the budget more than once a year. And is there some scheduled amount of times we do appropriations during a year. And why isn’t the money appropriated and approved before we pass the bill? Hope these questions aren’t too stupid-but my knowledge of how the government works(except that it doesn’t) is limited . :)

              • It is the result of the frustration of the continued long term extremist politics that defines the United State Government and society. Those attitudes are a direct result of the extreme divisions of the political philosophies espoused in the country. About the only thing the right and left may be able to agree on is that each side “hates” the other.

                One can’t blame the press for this mess either. Americans, if they were honestly educated, wouldn’t pay attention to the misinformation that the MSM spews forth each and every day. None can, nor should be, trusted to honestly inform the people. They are just as extremist as the rest of the political scene in America.

                So, when one considers that the foreseeable future is the same political discontent between left and right what else can one suggest to improve the situation? Maybe if we separated into two sides then each can try and prove that their way works? Certainly there will be no way to keep playing the “its their fault game.”

                Americans will never fix the problems of the reckless and deaf Congress while Americans themselves remain in a constant battle over the ideologies that should be the course the nation follows.

                In the end it is easy to conclude that it’s broken and can’t be fixed by affixing more band aids/

  34. Down here VH.

    Okay this is starting to make more sense-So could we enforce an accounting of the budget more than once a year. And is there some scheduled amount of times we do appropriations during a year. And why isn’t the money appropriated and approved before we pass the bill? Hope these questions aren’t too stupid-but my knowledge of how the government works(except that it doesn’t) is limited . :)

    I’m not sure what your asking. An appropriations bill passed and signed by the President is how we fund the next fiscal year. Theoretically the bill is passed and signed into law before the fiscal year begins – Oct 1 for the federal government. Yet, when there is a continual budget impasse of some kind Congress will pass (and the President enact) a continuing resolution to fund the operation of government. Kind of like Congress hand the president a check for a bit more “gas” money to get buy until the next budget is passed.

    • I guess what I am trying to ask-is there anyway for us to know a few times a year-how much money they have actually spent and how much additional spending they have pushed into future years with new legislation that I am assuming wasn’t covered by the last budget-does that make any sense?

      • Well, I suppose we could ask for an accounting every so often to see actual expenditures versus what was appropriated – but, my question would be who should do it? The CBO? The White House Budget Office? Who would we believe?

        Plus, there is the old game of a department or agency insuring that every dime allotted is spent in order to prevent a possible future decrease when there is money left unspent. This happens at all levels of government. I can remember times where we were told to come up with ways to spend money so we wouldn’t lose it.

        Also, some money is totally unaccountable as it is considered national security information and is vital that foreign interests not know how much was allocated and how it was spent. Which also means us lowly citizens don’t get to know either – since we know from DHS how we can’t be trusted.

        • I just get frustrated-we are supposed to have a budget-but then all of the sudden I’m told we must raise the debt ceiling to pay for what we already spent-I would think we should already have away to pay for it-if it was budgeted for-but what do I know- except it doesn’t make sense to me.

          • This is why I proposed to do away with the debt ceiling and go back to Congress issuing bonds for specific projects/bills. Yes their work load would substantially increase but then it would be very clear that debt is being incurred and why. Hopefully we could limit the debt to capital projects as it should be.

            • And this could easily be part of a balanced budget amendment-perhaps you should send your ideas to the republican party-Tea Party people that is. Hope this conversation continues-it’s important and interesting. But I must get off here and get some work done-Birthday party for my baby girl tomorrow. Gonna be 22 years old-Boy do I feel old saying that.

  35. Todd,

    The flat tax would be another gift to the wealthy and it would kill the middle and working class. The unintended consequences would be huge.

    Please illuminate us on your theory that a simple tax would “kill” the middle class.

    What unintended consequences (which by definition, means you do not know what they are) are so huge that you know what they are.

  36. Todd,

    There are lots of “emotional issues” out there. My favorite is “job creators”. It’s such an over-simplification of the issue, and many of the wealthy are not “job creators”. If you really want to get technical, the middle-class are the “job creators”. Without them, there is no demand for products, so no jobs are necessary.

    This speaks volumes about your utter misunderstanding of economics.

    Production creates jobs, not demand.

    You cannot demand products that do not exist.

    Production ALWAYS comes first, then comes demand and jobs.

    Human history has been an example of squalor and suffering up until the Industrial Revolution, where Free Enterprise released the productive capacity of human beings – then prosperity came and jobs.

    People suffered because there was nothing to buy – there was no division of labor providing the high productive capacity we enjoy today.

    Products buy Products

    Producers buy the products of other Producers

    Demand FOLLOWS Products.

    But if you are a Keynesian, you get this backwards.

  37. Todd,

    Two problems with scaling back the size of government:
    1. If you do it too fast, there will be many unintended consequences.

    If you do it slow, it will never happen.
    If you do not do it, it will be done anyway – but by economic means that will create far, far, far far harsher situations then the ones at risk by doing it “too fast”.

    2. Everyone wants to scale back the part of government that doesn’t affect them. That leaves very little to scale back.

    That is correct – which is why you do not hack at the branches, you hack at the roots – because nothing but a broad, systemic, effecting everyone cut back will be successful.

  38. Sorry about my link above on “Who says tax cuts kill jobs”. I noticed the point of the article was cut off. Just by luck it was still on my open tabs:

    Byline: Joseph Curl, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

    A statement President Obama made halfway through his news conference last week was so unfathomable, so utterly incomprehensible, that befuddled White

    House stenographers simply gave up and tacked a [sic] next to it.

    Here is what the president said: If the American people looked at this, they’d say, boy, some of these decisions are tough, but they don’t require us to gut Medicare or Social Security. They don’t require us to stop helping young people go to college. They don’t require us to stop helping families who’ve got a disabled child. They don’t require us to violate our obligations to our veterans. And they don’t require ‘job-killing tax cuts.’ [sic]

    That’s right, the Harvard graduate said tax cuts kill jobs. But then again, he did study law, not economics. So let’s turn to a man who studied the economy, albeit at little ol’ Eureka College.

    When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, the top tax rate in America was 70 percent. Reagan cut that to 50 percent in 1982, then to 38.5 percent in 1987, and finally to 28 percent in 1988. What happened? Unemployment dropped from 9.2 percent (exactly what it is today) to 5.3 percent and inflation plummeted from 13.5 percent to 4 percent. At the same time, real income for Americans grew by an average $4,000.

    But wait. Mr. Obama said it’s better today. Our tax rates are lower now than they were under Ronald Reagan, he said. They’re much lower than they were under Dwight Eisenhower.

    For Reagan, not true. (Mr. Obama knows that. Still, Reagan inherited that 70 percent rate and it took his entire presidency to get it down to 28 percent, so Mr. Obama can technically make the claim.) But for Eisenhower, Mr. Obama’s right on. Still, is that really something to brag about? In 1953, the top tax rate was 92 percent! So, yeah, it’s lower now.

    Nevertheless, Reagan has nothing on another tax-cutting president, whose record is among the very best. He knew what Mr. Obama does not, and enunciated it in the simplest terms: Our true choice is not between tax reduction, on the one hand, and the avoidance of large federal deficits on the other, he said. It is increasingly clear that an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenues to balance our budget just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.

    In short, he said, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now.

    Yes, John F. Kennedy – a Democrat! – had the right idea. He slashed the capital gains tax in 1962 and dropped the top tax rate to 70 percent. Federal tax revenues went up 50 percent, from less than $100 billion in 1961 to more than $150 billion in by 1968.

    Reducing taxes, historically, has driven up federal revenue. In the 1920s, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge dropped the top tax rate from 70 percent to 25 percent; revenue rose from just more than $700 million in 1921 to $1.1 billion by the end of the 1920s.

    Reagan proved it again. In 1980, Americans paid $517 billion in taxes, but after eight years of cutting taxes, revenue nearly doubled to just shy of $1 trillion – $991 billion. George W. Bush’s tax cuts had the same effect: Revenue was $1.9 trillion when he took office and $2.5 trillion when he left in 2008.

    Since then, though, it has been stagnant, even as Mr. Obama runs up trillion-dollar deficits. Revenue was $2.1 trillion in 2009, but Mr. Obama spent $3.5 trillion. Last year, $2.16 trillion in, $3.45 trillion out. (Pretty clear here that his Harvard education didn’t exactly teach him how to balance a checkbook.)

    But Mr. Obama says it’ll all get better if he can just get more money from those private-jet owners. Those damn rich are just not paying their share. The facts, though, tell another story. During the Coolidge/Harding years, the rich, who then made about $50,000, went from paying about 45 percent of all tax revenue to pouring in more than three-quarters of all the cash the federal government collected. During Reagan’s years, the top 5 percent paid 37 percent of all taxes; today, they pay 57 percent. (So no, the tax bills for the wealthy didn’t go down during the Bush years, they went up – by $100 billion in 2005 alone.)

    One of the real problems is the tax-paying base. A whopping 43 percent (some say nearly 50 percent) of Americans – 66 million lucky duckies out of 151 million taxpayers – don’t pay a cent, according to the Tax Policy Center. That’s a far cry from the past: From 1950 to 1990, that number averaged 21 percent, dropping to 18 percent in 1986, according to the Tax Foundation.

    It’s past time to make every American pay his or her fair share. (Isn’t that the American Way? You live here, you pay taxes. And really, shouldn’t everyone pay the same rate, say, 15 percent, 17 percent? Again, only seems fair.)

    So, Mr. President, higher deficits aren’t caused by lower taxes, they’re caused by higher spending (for instance, $3.45 in spending versus $2.16 in revenue).

    And it doesn’t take a Harvard degree to know that. Heck, any old guy from Eureka College would see it.

  39. When I was very young lad walking to school, I would pick a stone and see if I could kick all the way to school. As a natural result of that, I loved to play soccer. Later I coached rec league and select soccer teams and taught my kids the game. There is nothing like the tension in a fast paced close soccer match. The goal in soccer is to kick the ball into the net. What we just witnessed had all the tension of a soccer game but the net result was the can got kicked down the road. I can still hear it rattle rattle, rattle….

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