Economic Development: Roadblocks

Taxes (wheel of Fortune) aren't the answerPlatte Chat that came to me courtesy of the Objective Conservative, which outlines many of the tax problems which are holding Nebraska business back.

As Nebraska state senators continue to figure out whether to reform the state’s tax system and while Nebraska’s lame duck governor fights to eliminate the income tax we get a favorable view of doing so from our friends at the Platte Institute.   

Whether it is practical for the state to entirely eliminate the income tax, reform reducing its high tax rates is imperative if the state is to continue to compete fore new business.   The Platte Chat article below well supports the need to do something.

The Key to Attracting Businesses

“Earlier this year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines for a bold advertising strategy aimed at four states with notoriously bad business climates: California, Illinois, New York, and Connecticut. Perry invited businesses there “to hit the emergency exit” and make a break for Texas.[1] While officials in these states dismissed Perry’s audacious campaign as little more than a stunt, Texas’ incredible success at creating new jobs demonstrates that it is more than just talk.  More people and businesses are voting with their feet to go where taxes and regulations are lower.
The success of Texas-which has no income tax-is clearly evident. In 2012 CNBC ranked Texas as the best state for business in the nation-overcome in 2013 by another no income tax state, South Dakota-and in 2013 Forbes placed seven Texas cities in its list of “Best Cities For Future Job Growth” with the top four all being from Texas.[2] In contrast, California, which has the highest income tax in the nation at 13.3 percent, was ranked 47th in CNBC’s 2013 poll and only saw one city-Santa Cruz-in the Forbes “Best Cities” list.[3]
Aside from rankings, Texas’ success in creating jobs is in the numbers. Despite accounting for only 8.4 percent of the United States’ population, Texas accounted for 43 percent of the jobs created between February 2009 and May 2013.[4] Over the past five years, Texas has added 889,685 jobs, including 303,000 in the past year alone, much more than any other state. Compare that to the high tax states of California, New York, and Illinois, as the Golden State-despite a larger population-added only 119,659 in the past five years, and New York and Illinois together lost 568,195 jobs over the same time period.[5] A 2010 article in The Economist even noted that the average New Yorker or Californian could take home between 9 and 11 percent more of their income by relocating to Texas.[6]

Continue reading Objective Conservative – The Voice of Conservative Thought in Nebraska: Nebraska Needs Tax and Regulation Reform.

Nothing in this article strikes me as wrong, in fact much of it is completely correct, and might well do a lot of good, in Omaha and Lincoln, and maybe marginally in Grand Island as well. While it won’t hurt the rest of us, I think, it’s not going to help much either. Why? Because taxes aren’t our major problem. We have other, structural problems, let’s talk about them a bit.

The big one is this: Corruption, It comes in two flavors, state and local. Let’s start with state.

Most of you know I’m an electrician, so that what we’ll talk about. Between Grand Island and Ogallala there are maybe 6 electricians that can efficiently troubleshoot industrial controls. I know 4 of them, 2 well. Good men that I would recommend to anybody. The only problem is that you’ll wait 3-9 months for them to get to you, if they’re even accepting new clients, that’s how busy they are.

Actually I know one more, me. I don’t practice though. Even though I have 40+ years of experience.Why? it’s very simple. Nebraska requires four years of experience to take the Journeyman test, the law provides for an apprentice card but, many of us out here worked on agricultural machinery (center pivots and grain handling systems) exclusively, which didn’t require licensing. Parenthetically, I’ve been here about 25 years, before that I lived in Indiana which has no state license. So, I never had an apprentice card, never needed one.

I called down to the state when I decided I wanted to branch out into general electrical work, they told me they wouldn’t accept my entire experience, at the time about five and a half years. That’s fine, it made sense, I hadn’t done residential in years. We settled that they would count two and a half years. So I hooked up with a Journeyman friend of mine who was on track to get his contractor license in about one-two years. Because I’m dumb and wasn’t doing much field work, I still didn’t bother with the stupid card.

Anyway what with one thing and another, by the time we got around to building in a job that would require us both, I was up to about six years including the agreed upon 2.5 from before. Since I do all the planning and such, it made more sense for me to take the contractor’s test, which would let me pull our permits. That requirement is five years. So, since an EC has to sign for you to take the exam, my EC buddy called down to make sure we were all on the same page. He was sitting in my office when he did and I could see the shock on his face.

The NSEB decided it wasn’t going to accept any of my experience, and they further threatened to lift his Contractor license just for asking. Luckily he was (and is) working for one of the ten largest electrical electrical contractors in the country so they didn’t quite dare try that. And that’s the story about why I have time to talk with you most days. I’m one of probably the 24 best electricians in the state, but because of *whatever* I’m not allowed to practice. And yes I’m too old, and crotchety to do another 4 years with some stupid 24 year old. I’d rather go on welfare than work for peanuts again.

Meantime there’s a factory less than a mile away from me, designed for medium manufacturing, I’d guess a few hundred thousand square feet, it’s been empty since the company moved it to Mexico, and then on to China. Very nice physical plant, I doubt it will ever be used again, even though the work force is still here, to set it up you’d need industrial mechanics, electricians (like me), pipefitters, and other industrial trades. Don’t forget to bring them with you. In any meaningful sense, they no longer exist here.

That’s part of the problems with the state, let’s talk about local for a bit, and then we’ll quit for today.

The Journeyman I spoke of earlier when he was planning to start this business before I was involved, figured he needed a shop and some storage, and maybe an office. He found a light manufacturing lot in another town, with a couple of quonset buildings and a small frame office, a bit run down but fixable. At the time he was living in a mobile home, and figured it reasonable to put that on the lot as well (it’s plenty big). So before he even bought it, he applied for a special use permit that would allow him to place his mobile home on the lot (it’s adjacent to a residential, although not fancy, area). He did the whole nine yards, talking to the neighbors, posting signs, whatever. So he was pretty confident when he went to the planning committee meeting, especially when no one complained, or even showed up.

So he was rather surprised when the mayor spearheaded a vigorous argument against allowing the permit, which was denied. That’s one thing, although nobody has ever offered a rational reason. The one that should have been a warning (he’s a bit bull-headed) was when the mayor asked the city attorney in open meeting if they could stop him from buying the property, including snide comments about raising goats which bewildered him no end. The answer was no.

So he bought it anyway, he’s had it now for better than ten years. In that time we have been cited for everything you can think of, including leaving material on trailers in our lot, which is zoned for outside storage. It has become completely impossible to function in that town, and so it’s sitting dormant, costing us money (although less than renting storage space for our stuff).

A good part of where we get whipsawed is that the city has it zoning code, which is reasonable, actually (or would be if properly enforced) it also has the International Property Maintenance Code which it enforces when it feels like it. By the way, you should read that code, it exists in most states and basically what it amounts to is that you will use your property exactly as the state and/or city says you will, not to mention that you will let their official into any or all of your property at any time, and yes it applies to your house as well.

Next time:



The Supreme Court, Watchtowers, and Anniversaries

English: The Supreme Court of the United State...

English: The Supreme Court of the United States. Washington, D.C. Français : La Cour suprême des États-Unis. Washington D.C., États-Unis. ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Høyesterett i USA. Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so, the Supreme Court struck down DOMUS (the defense of Marriage act. From The Daily Caller

The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.

President Barack Obama praised the court’s ruling on the federal marriage act, which he said “was discrimination enshrined in law.”

“It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people,” Obama said in a statement. “The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it.”

The other high court decision was a technical legal ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court’s declaration that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation’s most populous state in about a month. […]

“We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit,” Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.

In the case involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s liberal justices.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

Both are very narrow, and in truth the one on California’s Proposition 8 was mostly that the group defending it didn’t have standing. And DOMA was also very narrow. In fact, if I understand correctly, what it does is allow equal federal benefits to people with legitimate (according to their states) same sex marriage, if I’m correct there, I actually have no problem with it.
And in truth, as a small government guy, I tend to approve of trashing it, because I don’t really think that marriage is any of the government’s (especially federal) business. And those lucky people in their same-sex marriages will be so happy to know that they, like traditional marriage partners are now subject to the Federal tax marriage penalty like the rest of us. It could be worse, it’s between $400 and $700 a year is all. Thanks for helping out guys.
cropped-desert_monast-sm-682400381Strangely, or maybe not, tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of when Jess and I met in the blogging world, our first comments had to do with the Court upholding Obamacare (seems like a lot more than a year ago doesn’t it?)
So while Obamacare and maybe these decisions as well are terrible for the country, they gave me a very positive benefit, a new dearest friend, whom I treasure greatly, and always shall. Thanks, Jess, so much for your help and support over the last (ridiculously eventful) year.
These are the from the first posts where we commented  each other’s blogs, on 28 June 2012, who knew it would be as important as it turned out.

Ok, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect (and read) on the decision now. I figured out quite a while ago that lawyers use words in such strange ways that you need one to translate, so I was waiting for Dan Miller, and I’m nobodies political strategist, so I lean on others.

If I’m reading this right, The Court put a limit on the Commerce clause today, that’s good, not as good as overturning Wickard, but good. In addition they told the administration that if they want to raise taxes for healthcare they could but, it would be explicity be a tax, one of the largest tax increases in history.

Continue reading The Supreme Court, Obamacare, and the Future

A word of sympathy and a prayer for all my American Catholic friends. This too shall pass.

As St. Peter reminds us:

1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

A prayerful thought for American Catholics | All Along the Watchtower.

Of Mutiny and Education

Cover of "The Caine Mutiny (Collector's E...

Cover of The Caine Mutiny (Collector’s Edition)


Growing up one of my favorite books was The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk. He wrote it shortly after the Second World War and it was pretty much his first best-seller.

It tells the story of Willie Keith a pampered young man, and a bit of a momma’s boy, as he joins the Navy during the war, and becomes a pretty good officer. Like everybody coming out of officer’s school he wants to be on a shiny new battleship or aircraft carrier, but he’s assign to the Caine, a rusty old 4 pipe destroyer now converted to a destroyer minesweeper. He’s pretty surly, and has a lot of trouble adapting to serving in a ship that looks like a wreck, and he therefore runs afoul of his CO, Captain de Vriess, usually over silly stuff.

He does notice though, that while it seems to him that a lot of Naval Regulations get ignored the Caine is always where it needs to be to do the job. He credits this to the executive officer, Steve Maryk, who before the war was a fisherman. But he still longs for the spit and polish navy of his dreams. When the Captain is promoted out, he is overjoyed to find that the new captain is a spit and polish and follow all the regulations guy. Funny part is that it doesn’t work all that well, and morale gets very bad. Eventually the ship is caught, along with the rest of the 3d Fleet, in a typhoon off Okinawa, and they are having a great deal of trouble with the ship.

Finally the Exec relieves the captain and turns the bow into the wind, with Keith concurring presumably saving the ship at the cost of a mutiny. Following on this the ship is off the line while Maryk is court-martialed for Mutiny. Keith ends up with a letter of reprimand and command of the ship with orders to return to the east coast after the war so the ship can be scrapped.

It’s a good yarn, and I recommend it highly, and like all good yarns it has a moral.

At some point on of the other officers tells Keith the secret:

“The navy is a master plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots.”

Think about that for a while. Isn’t that pretty much what any large organization is? If it works at all, a large organization doesn’t necessarily have to be efficient but, it cannot be allowed to fail (in the organization’s terms) in any catastrophic way. In the Navy’s case, it must win battles. It doesn’t have to promote the best man, it doesn’t even have to keep everybody alive but, It must win battles and the war. That is it’s whole reason for being.

If you’ve ever been around the military, you know there are at least 4 ways to do anything, 1) The right way; 2) The wrong way; 3) The Navy way; and 4) my way, and that comes from experience. What Capt. de Vriess was doing along with LT Maryk was doing what had to be done to remain operational while ignoring most of the rest, and it worked very well as long as they had people who understood the goals and aspirations of their unit (The Caine).

So what is my point, other than a book review of a book published in about 1948? This is how all large organizations act if they are more concerned about something other than executing their mission. They write all the details down so that a computer can do every job, but nobody has any allowance for common sense.

Sound familiar?

To me it sound a lot like suspending a kindergarten student for eating his Pop-tart into the shape of a gun and saying “bang”. Not to mention a lot of the other stories that come out of American life lately.

Mark Esposito, writing on Jonathon Turley’s blog has thought and written about this as well, and done a better job of researching it than I have, here is some of his thinking

In Maryland, a seven-year-old boy is suspended from his school under its “zero tolerance” policy because he nibbles a pastry into the shape of a handgun and says “Bang!” “Bang!” (Here).  In California,  a high school principal refuses to let an ambulance come onto a football filed to tend to a seriously injured player citing school board rules. (Here). A nurse at a home for the aged ignores the furtive pleas of a 911 dispatcher and refuses to perform CPR on a woman dying of cardiac arrest because she says its policy not to do it.  (Here). She won’t even get someone else to do it.

These grotesque examples of indifference to any form of reason are becoming all too common as we find ourselves governed more by rules than by the judgment of people.  These stories got me thinking about the need for rules in a complicated society and their limitations. It also got me wondering why wisdom and its country cousin, common sense, have been banished from most every discussion of decision making. Here’s John Maynard Keynes in his famous treatise on decision making, Treatise of Probability, discussing how to make the right decision:

If, therefore, the question of right action is under all circumstances a determinate problem, it must be in virtue of an intuitive judgment directed to the situation as a whole, and not in virtue of an arithmetical deduction derived from a series of separate judgments directed to the individual alternatives each treated in isolation.

Armed with that little tidbit, I searched the entire work and found exactly zero uses of the word “wisdom” in Professor Keynes’ detailed analysis of doing the right thing. How can that be?

Wisdom is a an old-fashioned word. It hearkens back to Solomon and Solon. To Plato and Socrates. Aristotle explained that practical wisdom is one part moral will and one part moral skill. It means a human action premised on experience or intuition that achieves the best possible moral result.  Not efficient. Not effective. Not even the most profitable. But the most moral result.

At its core, it is about the time and thought necessary to achieve deep understanding.  Both are in short supply these days as we measure our progress by how far we’ve gotten or by how much we have obtained and how fast we did it. The process by which we achieved these things is less important that the result. And it is this philosophy that has laid waste to ethics, judgment, and most importantly wisdom. In this race to “Just Win Baby,” we have ossified our capacity for wisdom under a steady stream of rules, regulations, guidelines, and protocols. But why?

Speaking at a TED conference in 2009, Professor Barry Schwartz examined the problem and offered an explanation in the context of a study done of hospital janitors. Schwartz looked at the job descriptions of  the janitors.  The explanations of employment were big on such rudimentary tasks as cleaning, restocking, and sanitation, but not one mention of anything involving human interaction. As professor Schwartz remarked “the job could just as easily have been done in a mortuary as in a hospital.” But that assessment did not match what the janitors considered the most important aspect of their jobs. In responses to questioning from researchers, one janitor, Mike,  explained the most important thing about his job was caring for patients. Like the time he stopped mopping a floor because Mr. Jones was finally up and around from surgery and had just left his bed to get some exercise.  Another custodian,  Charlene, told of ignoring the orders of a supervisor to vacuum the visitors lounge because family members of a patient who dutifully arrived every day to be with their loved one were finally getting a chance to take a nap.  And, Luke, who scrubbed the floor of a comatose patient’s room twice because the emotionally drained father at the bedside didn’t see it the first time and insisted it be done. No argument. No rebuttal. No peevishness of any sort. Just compassion. [..]

Continue reading Shackling Our Wisdom With Rules

Do you see his point? It’s pretty obvious isn’t it? Or is it?

Let’s take the schools for an example. What is the mission of a public school?

Is it:

  1. To educate our young in the basics they need to survive?
  2. To indoctrinate our young to be dependent on government all their life?
  3. To provide jobs for teachers
  4.  To provide jobs for administrators
  5. To provide union dues for union leadership
  6. To provide union dues for political lobbying

Or some combination.

Maybe that is part (maybe even a large part) of the problems we see in our society, is the mission of the organization what we think it is, or has it mutated into something that was not anticipated.

How do we, if this is the problem, get these organizations back to their original mission?



Monday Morning Review

Justice (Dike, on the left) and Divine Vengean...

Justice (Dike, on the left) and Divine Vengeance (Nemesis, right) are pursuing the criminal murderer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Quite a bit here, so let’s get started, shall we?


Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.  It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.  The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.  They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.  Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult.  To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and to be cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.  But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.


The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment


C. S. Lewis


Manhunt & Theory of Moral Law


Have you been paying attention to the Dorner manhunt? You know the loon you killed a cop out in California, and went to ground somewhere or the other. Not surprisingly I have no sympathy for him but he is making the police look terrible. So far they’ve wounded a mother and daughter delivering papers, and rammed and opened fire on a guy trying to sneak some surfing in before work. In both cases they claimed the vehicles match even though they were both blue instead of gray, and with millions of dollars worth of equipment and half of California on tactical alert they can’t find him. As Scott Johnson said in the Power Line Blog, “As I say, you have to wonder what’s going on.”  In addition Henry Moore over at Notes on Liberty has some very pertinent thoughts as well.



I do think that it is fortunate that they were conditioned to prefer the law over crime. But when the law itself tends to codify and protect crime (legal plunder), either in its text, in its intent, or in its predictable effects; and as the distinction between just law and legalized crime blurs; the degree to which this fortune is beneficial to society goes down. (Incrementally, exponentially, arithmetically, geometrically?) Things that are not crimes are made into crimes, so there arises an attitude among people that sympathizes with criminals (even ones that commit actual crimes). This creates disrespect for not just law enforcement but for the law (even the just ones). The whole process feeds on itself. More “crime” leading to more “law” leading to more disrespect for the “law” leading to more “crime”. And who knows where it will eventually lead? […]


Read it all at Pigeonholing Pigs


The Economy, if it exists


Brandon Smith writing in ZeroHedge pretty well says what I see in the economy, and it ain’t pretty


Recently I was asked to give a presentation on the current state of the global economy to a local group of concerned citizens here in Northwest Montana.  I was happy to oblige but when composing my bullet points I realized that, in truth, there were no legitimate economic numbers to examine anymore.  You see, financial analysts have traditionally used multiple indicators of employment, profit, savings, credit, supply, and demand in their efforts to divine the often obscured facts of our financial system.  The problem is, nearly every index we used in the past, every measure of capital flow and industry, is absolutely useless today.

We now live in an entirely fabricated fiscal environment.  Every aspect of it is filtered, muddled, molded, and manipulated before our eyes ever get to study the stats.  The metaphor may be overused, but our economic system has become an absolute “matrix”.  All that we see and hear has been homogenized and all truth has been sterilized away.  There is nothing to investigate anymore.  It is like awaking in the middle of a vast and hallucinatory live action theater production, complete with performers, props, and sound effects, all designed to confuse us and do us harm.  In the end, trying to make sense of the illusion is a waste of time.  All we can do is look for the exits…

There is some tangible reality out there, but it is difficult to find, and there are few if any mainstream numbers to verify.  One has to remember always that the fundamental world of money and trade revolves around real people and real circumstances.  No matter how corrupt our economic system is, as long as there are human beings, there will always be supply and demand that cannot be hidden.  We have to look past the “official numbers” and look at the roots of trade.  Where has demand fallen?  Where has supply diminished?  Where are the tangible goods and needs and how have they changed?

Let’s first start with the mainstream version of our system, looking at each aspect of the economy that no longer represents the truth of our situation…


Continue reading The U.S. Economy Is Now Dangerously Detached From Reality | Brandon Smith via ZeroHedge « The Grey Enigma and fasten your seat belts.


Truth to Power


And then there is good news to end the post. I suspect you’ve seen this floating around, but you need to watch it.



That’s a great video but, the speaker is much more impressive, he is Dr. Benjamin Carson, this is from his biography at the Academy of Achievement


Benjamin Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan. His mother Sonya had dropped out of school in the third grade, and married when she was only 13. When Benjamin Carson was only eight, his parents divorced, and Mrs. Carson was left to raise Benjamin and his older brother Curtis on her own. She worked at two, sometimes three, jobs at a time to provide for her boys.

Benjamin and his brother fell farther and farther behind in school. In fifth grade, Carson was at the bottom of his class. His classmates called him “dummy” and he developed a violent, uncontrollable temper.

When Mrs. Carson saw Benjamin’s failing grades, she determined to turn her sons’ lives around. She sharply limited the boys’ television watching and refused to let them outside to play until they had finished their homework each day. She required them to read two library books a week and to give her written reports on their reading even though, with her own poor education, she could barely read what they had written.

Within a few weeks, Carson astonished his classmates by identifying rock samples his teacher had brought to class. He recognized them from one of the books he had read. “It was at that moment that I realized I wasn’t stupid,” he recalled later. Carson continued to amaze his classmates with his newfound knowledge and within a year he was at the top of his class.

The hunger for knowledge had taken hold of him, and he began to read voraciously on all subjects. He determined to become a physician, and he learned to control the violent temper that still threatened his future. After graduating with honors from his high school, he attended Yale University, where he earned a degree in Psychology.

From Yale, he went to the Medical School of the University of Michigan, where his interest shifted from psychiatry to neurosurgery. His excellent hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills made him a superior surgeon. After medical school he became a neurosurgery resident at the world-famous Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. At age 32, he became the hospital’s Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery.


Continue reading Benjamin Carson Biography


He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008. We need many more like him, and even more like his mother.


Have a good day



Obama=Green Energy=Failure


Yingli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well. it’s been an interesting week. But the drumbeat of inane, not to say insane, ‘investments in green energy (not to say the administration’s fundraisers) goes on. Marita Noon has pulled these together for our convenience. Yes people, there’s a lot beyond Solyndra. Here’s Marita

If he succeeds in his run for a second term, President Obama doesn’t intend to tone down his efforts to push for green energy. Instead of learning from his mistakes, he plans to “do more.”

During his recent sit down with Steve Kroft for the interview that aired on 60 Minutes, the President was asked about green energy—though the clip was omitted from the program that the American public saw.

Kroft: “You said one of your big campaign themes was that green energy, the green economy, was going to be a tremendous generator of jobs and that has not turned out to be the case, yet.”

Obama: “We have tens of thousands of jobs that have been created as a consequence of wind energy alone. Is that enough? Absolutely not. Can we do more? Yes. … This is still an industry in its infancy. … Has it all paid off yet? Absolutely not. But I am not going to cede those new jobs, the jobs of the future, to countries like China or Germany that are making those same investments.”

One could argue that the $80 billion, plus, in stimulus funds that were designated for green energy projects have “paid off”—just not for the American tax payer.  During the summer, with the help of researcher Christine Lakatos, I produced a series of reports on the Obama green-energy, crony-corruption scandal. Through those reports, we profiled a series of companies and showed how people with political connections to the Obama Administration had a return on their green energy investment that “paid off” at rates greater than anything available on Wall Street. Each report detailed the players involved, their connections to the White House and/or other high-ranking Democrats, such as the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and powerful Senator Diane Feinstein—something we can expect “more” of in his green-energy, green-economy emphasis during an Obama second term.

No, President Obama is not going to “cede.” He will not admit failure; he’ll do more. We can expect more failure— à la Solyndra, which is only the most well-known green energy, stimulus fund failure.

Here, in a new series of reports, Lakatos and I will expose the various failures of Obama’s green-energy expenditures: projects that have gone bankrupt (approximately 19), those that are heading that way (approximately 20), and the jobs he says he has created (at an average cost of $6.7 million per job)—all while raising energy costs, serving as a hidden tax on all Americans.

Continue reading Obama Never Admits Green Failure – Marita Noon – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary .

Then there is trying to buy gasoline in California

Out in the land of “Nuts and Fruits” as it’s often called out here, it getting to be even more of a problem to fill your gas tank. Steven Hayward at the Power Line blog has some news on that. It will make you glad you don’t live there

5 pm yesterday; At noon, Supreme had been 4.99 at the same station

Want to give the Obama campaign even more heartburn than it has now?  How about putting California in play?

Seems farfetched, but then people outside of California might not have noticed that gasoline pump prices jumped as much as 30 cents a gallon yesterday.  That’s how much pump prices jumped between lunch and late afternoon here on the central coast; the figure is lower in the major metropolitan areas apparently.  It is not inconceivable that there could be old-fashioned shortages and gas lines by the end of the month.  Some stations are shutting down or limiting sales already.  Paging Jimmy Carter!

The sharp price spike is attributed to tight refinery capacity problems in the state (as a couple of refineries are offline), which is true, but not exhaustive, as Churchill once explained in a different context.  As I explained in “Bureaucratic Gas” in The Weekly Standarda few months ago, California has its own special blend of gasoline for environmental reasons that are now largely obsolete.  This means that California can’t use the gasoline blends sold in Oregon, Nevada, or Arizona, which means that a refinery shortage here can’t be remedied by the usual means of bringing in more supply from somewhere else.

But President Obama could order the EPA to waive the gasoline regulations, and allow out-of-state gasoline to be transported and sold in California, delivering at least 10 to 20 cents a gallon of price relief, and perhaps much more.  Oh, that’s right: Obama wants higher gasoline prices, so don’t hold your breath.  (Note: After Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration waived the EPA’s boutique gasoline regulations to assure adequate supplies and stable prices while the Gulf Coast refineries got back up and running.)

Continue reading California Gas| Power Line

I saw a picture somewhere this morning of a [Cosco, I think] gas station closed and roped off. Why? They have six that are out of gas. Whoops!!


Eye Candy For My Fellow UP Gentlemen | Sago



If you know me at all you know I’m not ever going to tell you to vote for somebody based on their looks, their skin color or any of the other externalities. You should vote for a candidate based on their character, intelligence and their qualifications.

On the other hand, I have never known a woman, who didn’t like to be told how beautiful she is either. And since I’m not a Democrat Progressive, I know that a woman can be both beautiful and smart. Eye candy and brain food, it doesn’t get any better. So here from the Unified Patriots via Sago is a group of very brainy and gorgeous women who would like your support this fall. What gentleman wouldn’t support them?

Six Republican lady nominees are running for 23 seats that are either open or an incumbent Democrat is their opponent in the US Senate. Twenty-five Republican lady nominees are running for 157 seats that are either open or an incumbent Democrat is their opponent in the US House.

The title reflects a lighthearted mood for this piece. August is a good time to allow yourself a lighthearted moment because the next two months will be a time of vicious attacks from Democrats. They will use every opportunity to proclaim umbrage and outrage intended to divide our nation along gender, race, religion, and wealth lines. Of course this is entirely insincere on their part, but be prepared for the onslaught.

Fourteen of the Republican ladies running for the US House and Senate especially caught my eye, and I expect my fellow UP gentlemen know what I mean. You’ll also understand why the songs, California Girls and Windy kept bouncing around inside my head. Believe it or not, physical appearance is a factor for winning. These ladies are not just new pretty faces. They are Republicans whose victories would improve the results from the Senate and the House.

Senate nominee Elizabeth Emken

Prosperity doesn’t just happen by accident. And government, no matter how well intentioned, can’t produce it or protect it. Just the opposite. Government is responsible for America’s regulatory crisis and creating a climate that increases costs, handcuffs innovation and limits opportunity. To return to prosperity, it’s time to retire career politicians like Dianne Feinstein who created this red tape nightmare.

3rd District House nominee Kim Vann

Last week, President Obama told business owners across America that they ‘didn’t build that.’ But it’s clear what President Obama and his friend John Garamendi have built: a stagnant economy, a nation crippled by growing debt, and a record of failed policies that have provided no relief to the economic challenges plaguing the people of California.

It’s time for a new direction. It’s time for common sense solutions that will grow the economy—not burden our small businesses with job-killing regulations. It’s clear that John Garamendi’s out-of-touch policies haven’t worked. Californians deserve better.

11th District House nominee Virginia Fuller

The War on Terror is real! The numerous attacks by Islamic fascists on U.S. soil and against our allies are not just criminal acts or “Man made disasters”. Let’s not kid ourselves, they are acts of War.

We the PEOPLE MUST not allow our spineless legislators to make our armed forces sacrificial lambs as their price for political correctness when waging war against beheading savages.

14th District House nominee Debbie Bacigalupi

There is far, far too much regulation. It’s killing our freedom of choice, killing opportunities, and killing American business. The last few years have seen over 100,000 new laws enter the books; California is getting thousands of new ones every year. We need less regulation and less government intrusion, not more of either. Elect me, and I’ll work to enact only laws that are in concert, not in conflict, with the Constitution, and to reform laws that work against American freedoms and our founding concepts.

17th District House nominee Evelyn Li

We need to get America working again. This is done by encouraging businesses with tax relief, less regulation, and the ability to use their creativity to discover and produce better services and products. This approach will increase the number of jobs we have available for our workforce. Let the private sector lead the charge on recovering our economy, not the government. We want to cultivate an environment that supports our independent entrepreneurs in business, not stifles them. We want to innovate new products and services so we can once again lead this world in technology. We want laws that protect and propel forward and upward the very ones who bring America to the next level.

New York

Senate nominee Wendy Long

The main purpose and idea of my campaign is not original. I can’t claim authorship. An inspired group of New Yorkers and other Americans came up with the idea, about 225 years ago.

It’s called limited self-government, of the people, by the people, and for the people.

No one in this country is above the law, and no one is beneath it. The law is what protects the weak from the strong, affirms the dignity of every person, and overlooks no one in its demand of equal justice.

The principles and ideals of the American Constitution and Declaration of Independence are what give us hope for a future that is bright for businesses large and small, for jobs and free enterprise and private property in New York, for safety for our families, and for individual freedom.

More than anything else, our Constitution and its principles are what unite us, and always have.

I won’t go to Washington looking for enemies, but I won’t go there fearing anyone either. With all the troubles our country faces, we can no longer take time for granted. I know I am not the only one who sees this nation at a turning point- where things could get much worse or much better- depending on the choices we make in this election.

25th District House nominee Maggie Brooks

Today, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter voted to maintain ObamaCare and one of the largest tax hikes in American history. Like everyday taxpayers across our community, I think that Mrs. Slaughter’s vote can be described with one word – wrong. ObamaCare is wrong for our economy, because it will make it harder for small business to create jobs and hire American workers. ObamaCare is wrong for our seniors and families, because it will force millions of Americans from their current plans and end Medicare as we know it. And, after voting with entrenched partisans in her party to levy a massive new tax on the American people, it is clear that Louise Slaughter is wrong for Monroe County, too. That’s why, with the continued support of local voters, I look forward to working collaboratively in Congress to replace ObamaCare with real reform that best serves American families, while protecting taxpayers.


At-large House candidate Rose Izzo

We need to develop a strong economic environment in order to help small businesses grow. This will, in turn, create jobs and new opportunities for our fellow Delawareans. I believe we need to cut taxes on small businesses, and this will open up more jobs for prospective employees. As it stands now, the Federal Government has an extremely oppressive way of regulating taxes, restricting business startups, and hindering innovation along with prosperity.

We need to help businesses instead of penalizing them. I will fight to burn every regulation that restricts and kills entrepreneurs and small businesses from succeeding.


5th District House nominee Susan Brooks

Private businesses, not government, provide the jobs that grow our economy. Small businesses, in particular, have been the engine of our economy that has historically led the way out of a recession and economic down-turn. In order to do that, businesses need an environment of certainty and a globally competitive framework in which to succeed.

Our businesses are not failing us. Our government is failing us. And it is getting worse every day.

The proper role of government in job creation is to create an environment of certainty in which businesses in the private sector can and will invest, innovate, prosper, and profit. Jobs will follow. It is urgent that we cut wasteful and out-of-control spending; reduce taxes to create a globally competitive tax environment; remove unnecessary, burdensome and costly regulations and paperwork; speed the services required by our businesses; and foster the innovation that has and will continue to make this country great.


2nd District House nominee Ann Wagner

As a first-time candidate for Congress I do a lot of listening these days and, as a result, a lot of learning. Whether visiting at kitchen tables and coffee shops or businesses throughout Missouri’s 2nd District, I am hearing from a lot of women and they are genuinely and sincerely worried about the future of our great nation. They fear their children and grandchildren will not have the same opportunities they did, the same shot at the American Dream. I believe this new group of concerned, and politically awakened women are echoing the major concerns of this country. They will be heard and known as “Budget Moms.”

Budget Moms want an economic environment that fosters growth, encourages competition, and creates jobs and opportunities so the free enterprise system can flourish unencumbered by government over-regulation and interference.

They are tired of an Administration that seeks to divide us for political gain by class, race, age, or gender – pitting American against American. They see the impact this divisiveness has on families and the fear it creates, generating an instinctive skepticism toward an over-reaching government that wants to replace the family structure and chip away at our liberties.

Now they’re talking about a war on women, but there shouldn’t be a war on women; there should be a battle — a battle for our votes. In the St. Louis area alone, we account for nearly 53 percent of the population, making us one of the largest voting blocks in the country and we have our sights set on the 2012 election.

My grandmother always said that a mother is only as happy as her most unhappy child and I see a whole generation of unhappiness ahead if we continue down our current path. Budget Moms understand this, they know we must make a change and if you listen you’ll know change is coming.


13th District House nominee Marisha De Guzman Agana

I have developed strength from my experience in the loss of freedom in the Philippines. That same strength helps me through the sufferings of the families I see in my practice. It’s time to use that strength to join the people in restoring America.


17th District House nominee Laureen A. Cummings

Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan is a talented and experienced fiscal conservative who understands the challenges facing our country. His selection confirms that the Mitt Romney is committed to turning America around. The ‘R & R’ team promises America some badly needed “r&r” from the irresponsible, job killing policies of the Obama Administration. Paul Ryan is the right choice at the right time and I commend Mitt Romney on his selection.


34th District House nominee Jessica Puente Bradshaw

My job as your congresswoman will be to get Washington, DC out of our way, so that the Texan entrepreneurial spirit can grow, prosper and produce jobs!


4th District House nominee Mia Love

Utah is home because when I moved to Utah I found people who believed the same thing I do: in fiscal discipline, limited government, personal responsibility, The only history I’m interested in making is getting our fiscal house in order.

Eye Candy For My Fellow UP Gentlemen | Sago.


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