Polar Bear Party Poopers

Instapundit talks about some good economic news on the Tennessee front:
In the face of rising demand for coal, Knoxville-based National Coal Corp. plans to expand production by re-opening some idle mines in Tennessee and Alabama and by digging one new underground mine in Tennessee.
Unfortunately he does not consider the sure-to-be-follow-up-story that we all know is coming. It will read something like this.....

"National Coal Corp's plans to expand coal production have been put on hold after the National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club filed suit in Federal Court to block the mining. They argue that mining for coal has a direct contribution to Global Warming, and thus has a direct negative effect on the Polar Bear which was recently placed on the endangered species list by the U.S. Interior Department."

Welcome to our future folks!

UPDATE: For some good background on this issue, go read Hugh Hewitt's punditry:
- PBIP: The Approach and Outbreak of Polar Bear-Induced Paralysis
- The Polar Bear Tractor Beam
- Polar Bear Pushback


Lowering the Bar

Instapundit links to an interesting piece on a Professor who is losing his job for flunking too many students. He argues that the students aren't prepared to handle the coursework, and the university argues that he is not doing his job because the school is a "historically black university with a...mission of educating those who aren’t well prepared".

Here is what the school's spokesperson had to say on the issue:
Sharon R. Hoggard, a spokeswoman for Norfolk State, said that she could not comment at all on Aird’s case. But she did say this, generally, on the issues raised by Aird: “Something is wrong when you cannot impart your knowledge onto students. We are a university of opportunity, so we take students who are underprepared, but we have a history of whipping them into shape. That’s our niche.”
First off..."whipping"?!? Ms Hoggard should probably count her lucky stars that she is black, or like Mr. Aird, she could be cleaning out her office today as well. Seriously, who doesn't think that a perfectly innocent (and in context) phraseology like "whipping them into shape" wouldn't cause a lot of trouble for a white spokesman at a historically black college? Just a passing thought....

Second, and more importantly, if the students are not prepared for University-level learning, then they shouldn't be there at all. It shouldn't be the role of a University teach 'underprepared' students. That is what we have Community Colleges for. Not everyone is ready for, or needs to participate in, a University environment. To turn a cruel but true phrase from the erudite Judge Smails: "The world needs ditch-diggers too."

Anyhow, if you want to be disgusted by the political correctness that lowers the bar such that the students can succeed, but the education process fails, be sure to read the whole article....


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Recession

In a segment on Friday (the same I had previously mentioned with Larry Kudlow), Hugh Hewitt reports on Obama's lame attempt to win at the game of Taboo by guessing "Where do gays shop?"

Obama guessed Abercrombie & Fitch, for which he got much abuse.

But the question that I have is.....if we are in a recession, the economy is in trouble, and most Americans can't afford to make ends meet (according to the Obamas), then who has the money to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch?? Or the Gap, or Banana Republic, or Diesel? These places aren't the Goodwill, they are pretty pricey.

So I think that this question in the game of Taboo actually reveals Obama's entire schpeel on the economy to be bogus. If Obama actually believed that this country is in real economic trouble, shouldn't he have answered "They must be shopping at Wal-Mart, since no one can afford to shop at the mall right now". But he didn't, probably because people *can* afford to shop at the mall right now. I went to a large upscale mall twice this weekend, and the place was packed.

If people were really hurting, wouldn't they use their precious gasoline to drive to the discount stores instead?


Capital Gains and the Obama Effect

On Thursday, Hugh Hewitt played some clips of Barrack Obama, including one about his desire to raise the Capital Gains tax (At ~31:00). Obama tried to brush it aside as a "phony argument" by saying that it wouldn't affect regular folks, since their 401ks aren't subject to the Capital Gains tax upon withdrawal, and that only the wealthy who own stock will be affected, and besides they "can afford to pay a little bit more".

This whole argument shows great ignorance about the reality of how the market works, and follows the normal liberal economic delusions.

First, not just the wealthy own stocks in this country Mr. Obama. I am hardly wealthy, but I own stock outside of my retirement vehicles.

Second, those regular folk who have IRAs and 401ks *will* be affected by this tax hike. Not by paying the taxes, but by suffering the market losses that will occur when this plan is passed. Not to mention the wider effect on the overall economy.

What do you think is going to happen between the time legislation is introduced and it would receive the signature of the President (no matter whom)? The market is going to drop. Individuals, corporations, investment houses, etc are all going to lock in gains that they have on their stock positions at the lower tax rate. This will have the overall effect of causing the market to go down.

In fact, yesterday on Hugh's show Larry Kudlow said this had already happened. The days following what appeared to be Obama's sewing up of the Democratic nomination, the markets were chattering about his tax plans, and the market dropped. Listen here (~10:25).

Now I am a big believer in the markets, and know that even if this were to happen, they would come back over the long term. But if Obama wants 'middle class people' to prosper, then he should not mess with the Capital Gains tax. It will hurt the market and people's portfolios in the short to mid-term, and discount all future earnings for the long term.

If he really wants to raise more tax money, then perhaps he should consider lowering the Capital Gains rate....

Please Barack, leave well enough alone....


Heinz 57

Wow! I thought I had been to a lot of states....

H/T: Instapundit

UPDATE: I have been giving this some thought. Obama has been to 57 states, not including Alaska & Hawaii. That makes for a total of 59 states.

To me it is obvious that this is the DNC's master plan to ensure Obama can win the Electoral College. Now they just need to find 9 new left leaning states, especially ones that take away Electoral votes from normally red states. So under the super-secret DNC plan, Miami, Denver, St Louis, Houston, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Philadephia, and Puerto Rico will become 'states', and be given the requisite number of electors based on the population taken away from their former state. Genius! It is too bad that Obama had to go and lose his bearings and reveal the whole plan!

(Looks like the esteemed Dean Barnett had a similar take)


Iraq - A Bigger Distraction Than We Thought?

For quite a while now, whenever things go well in Iraq, the Democratic party-line response has been "Yeah, but it is distracting us from the War on Terror!"

Little did we know it is actually worse. Much worse.

According to Barrack Obama:
"...the way the war in Iraq has been handled has kept the United States from focusing on key issues like energy policy, global warming and the economy..."
Holy Cow! I had no idea.....

Now far be it for a politician, especially one running for President, to hyperbolize to score a point, but personally I am pretty sure Obama has it backwards.

You see, no matter where you turn nowadays you cannot avoid being smacked in the face with dire global warming news, or its major symptom....'Go Green' bandwagon-itis. Cars & SUVs, product advertisements, TV shows, network PSAs, State Governments, Oil Companies.... Everyone is now officially on-board with the peer pressure to 'Go Green'. Green is the new Black.

So for Obama to imply that Iraq has somehow distracted the nation (even the government) from the topic of Global Warming (or any of his other listed subjects) is pure poppycock. I would probably venture a guess that the subject of the economy garners more media splash than Iraq as well. So much for distraction.

I would offer that perhaps the growth of the Green fad (which has now officially reached Atkins Diet proportions) has distracted the nation (or the media that feeds the nation and its obsessions) from the war in Iraq.

Why run stories on positive developments from Iraq when you could hypothetically run a story about a third grade class writing letters to the President on how they will remember to turn out all their lights to save energy and save the planet (I remember being forced to write just such a letter to one President James Carter when I was that age, as we had some previous energy folderol going on back then), or how evil oil companies are making record profits.

Needless to say, Iraq is not distracting from Global Warming, nor is it distracting from any of those other topics. America was already distracted.

In the words of a sage, but anonymous, Marine:
"America is not at war. The Marine Corps is at war; America is at the mall."


Double Secret iPod Tax

From Instapundit:
"MORE ON TENNESSEE'S IPOD TAX, which seems to have encountered some awkwardness. "It looks like the Bredesen administration has been illegally collecting sales tax on music downloads since Jan. 1, 2008, and that Farr is now pushing 'technical correction' legislation to amend the tax code in order to make legal the tax they're already collecting." If this turns out to be the case, it's a bit of an embarrassment."
This is more than just an embarrassment. Bredesen can probably kiss goodbye any chance at being Obama's VP.

Do you think those legions of current iPod-owning Obama supporters in the 18-25 year old range will sit still if Obama were to select someone who oversaw a secret, illegal tax on music downloads?!?

Imagine if George McGovern had selected a running mate who had secretly been taxing marijuana sales in his state (y'know, instead of someone who had received electroshock therapy), the kids would have rioted!


Fun with Polls - Round 2

A few days ago I posted about some of the internal absurdities of an Ipsos/AP poll that had Hillary 9 points ahead of McCain.

I also saw a similar CBS poll that I did not have time to comment on.

Fortunately, David Freddoso over at National Review wrote a pretty good take-down of this poll in The Corner today. While I was concentrating on the various small points that I think added up to a skewing of the data, Freddoso focused on the ever important sample.
"This poll was conducted among a random sample of 671 adults nationwide." Very funny! Not likely voters, not even registered voters, but adults. This is the same flaw that was present in the recent ABC poll that showed Hillary 9 points ahead. I do not understand why such polls are even conducted — even if it is cheaper, it is still a waste of money.....There is no point in criticizing a poll for its results, but methodology is fair game. Even the use of "registered voters" instead of "likely voters" is highly suspect and tends to produce bad results.
This is of course the common sense analysis, that most in the media never seem to do.

I hope that Freddoso and others will make this poll analysis a regular feature of their election coverage. I will try my best, but soon my happy ass will be in a war zone, and my attention span will not be guaranteed.


Green Genocide

More fun from Europe:
At the request of the Swiss government, an ethics panel has weighed in on the “dignity” of plants and opined that the arbitrary killing of flora is morally wrong. This is no hoax. The concept of what could be called “plant rights” is being seriously debated.
see-dubya at Michelle Malkin says:
Sure, you vegans thought yourselves so morally pure. But according to the Swiss government, your hands are stained with the chlorophyll of innocent beings.
So this leads me to a couple of questions...

1 - Does this make the Haitians progressive for eating dirt cookies?

2 - Will it be considered a 'Crime against Horticulture' to use Ethanol in your car?

I can see the protest signs now..."Save the Plants, Burn Oil!!"

However when it comes to food, I guess we will have to resort to more dramatic measures....

Coming Election Lies Part 2

The WSJ brings this fun news from Liberal Fantasy Tax Land:
Windfall Profits for Dummies

This is one strange debate the candidates are having on energy policy. With gas prices close to $4 a gallon, Hillary Clinton and John McCain say they'll bring relief with a moratorium on the 18.4-cent federal gas tax. Barack Obama opposes that but prefers a 1970s-style windfall profits tax (as does Mrs. Clinton).

Mr. Obama is right to oppose the gas-tax gimmick, but his idea is even worse. Neither proposal addresses the problem of energy supply, especially the lack of domestic oil and gas thanks to decades of Congressional restrictions on U.S. production. Mr. Obama supports most of those "no drilling" rules, but that hasn't stopped him from denouncing high gas prices on the campaign trail. He is running TV ads in North Carolina that show him walking through a gas station and declaring that he'll slap a tax on the $40 billion in "excess profits" of Exxon Mobil.

The idea is catching on. Last week Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski introduced a windfall profits tax as part of what he called the "Consumer Reasonable Energy Price Protection Act of 2008." So now we have Congress threatening to help itself to business profits even though Washington already takes 35% right off the top with the corporate income tax.
Not to say I didn't warn you, but I told you so.

So what did I say?
During the upcoming Presidential election, whenever you hear the Democratic candidate, or your left leaning friends, spouting off about how Evil-Exxon-Mobil made the largest profit ever in the history of greed, please feel free to remind them of this fact.

Yes, Exxon may have made have made a profit in 2007 of $41 billion (an all-time record)...but it also paid $30 billion in taxes (also another all-time record).

So when the left complains that Oil company profits are "obscene", ask them if the think the related government profits are "obscene" as well.
For a little balance to what those pushing Windfall Profit taxes will tell you, check out these inconvenient facts:

From 2005:
"...over the past 25 years, oil companies directly paid or remitted more than $2.2 trillion in taxes, after adjusting for inflation, to federal and state governments — including excise taxes, royalty payments and state and federal corporate income taxes. That amounts to more than three times what they earned in profits during the same period, according to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and U.S. Department of Energy."
From 2007:
While they were recording record profits last year, they were also writing checks to Uncle Sam to the tune of $100.7 billion -- two and a half times what they made in net profit. In fact, previous Tax Foundation research found that from 1977 to 2004, federal and state governments extracted $397 billion by taxing the profits of the largest oil companies and an additional $1.1 trillion in taxes at the pump. In today's dollars, that's $2.2 trillion.
From 2008:
In other words, just one corporation (Exxon Mobil) pays as much in taxes ($27 billion) annually as the entire bottom 50% of individual taxpayers, which is 65,000,000 people! Further, the tax rate for the bottom 50% is only 3% of adjusted gross income ($27.4 billion / $922 billion), and the tax rate for Exxon was 41% in 2006 ($67.4 billion in taxable income, $27.9 billion in taxes).
Here is a nice visualization (from 2005) of how government profits taxes have outstripped oil industry profits since the late '70s:

You are now free to go back to your Democratic propaganda induced stupor of bitterness....

Son, Russians Don't Take a Dump without a Plan

I'll tell you a little secret....it ain't just the Russkies. We do it too.

That's why I always love it when I see breathless (or brainless) press accounts that proclaim that the US has plans to strike/bomb some various country that we don't like.

Well......DUH! Of course we have a plan. Otherwise when it came time, we would be running around pulling stuff out our butts and gennerally not have a clue to intended effects and collateral damage estimates, etc....

So when I read things like "Russert says that NBC News has learned the U.S. has assembled military plans to strike targets in Iran..." I have to chuckle. Of course we do. It would be irresponsible not to have such plans.

The military has plenty of plans for plenty of 'contingencies', that they can pull of the shelf and adapt whenever they need them. But I guess hat little fact doesn't make good headlines.


Guns? What Guns?

Bob of Confederate Yankee by way of Pajamas Media, points out the plight of a city ravaged by Gun Control laws.
Fifty-four shootings in two weekends. Shot-up bodies recovered in groups of three and five. Is this Ramadi? Basra? No.

Welcome to Chicago.
I will revise and extend the remarks I made after the first weekend of violence in Chicago (This was in an email to Instapundit which he kindly chose to publish):

This violence really should be no surprise, since Chicago and Illinois itself have been failing to reach their political benchmarks for years now.

It is too bad there was not some powerful politician who might have served the Chicago area and brought them Change and Hope. If there was, we could blame him for the "complete failure" to achieve those political benchmarks and reduce sectarian strife.


Ken & Natasha?

There has to be some delicious irony that a dyed-in-the-wool Communist from a western democracy has been bested in a free election by a conservative named Boris.

Perhaps Red Ken will blame it all on "Moose and Squirrel", and will be heard yelling "Raskolnikov!" as he rides off into what is sure to be temporary retirement.