Any opportunity to put LeBron James in his place is fine with me. This mash-up of two separate commercials–the latest Nike ad with LJ vs a Michael Jordan ad from the past–is priceless:
Hat Tip: Kottke
There’s something really disingenuous–insulting even–to say that you’re going to freeze wages on Federal workers, in order to help cut the budget deficit. Hell, even the New York Times sees through the sham:
The pay freeze will save $2 billion in the current fiscal year that ends in September 2011, $28 billion over five years and more than $60 billion over 10 years, according to Jeffrey Zients, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget and the government’s chief performance officer. That represents just a tiny dent in a $1.3 trillion annual deficit but it offers a symbolic gesture toward public anger over unemployment, the anemic economic recovery and rising national debt.
In the same vein of aggressive cost-cutting, I propose the Federal government turn off all the lights at every government building when not in use, along with the draconian Sheryl Crow-method of cost-savings: how about using only one square of toilet paper when using the toilet? Surely these suggestions will put a dent into our massive budget deficit.
All joking aside, the reason why the President’s proposal is a bust is because, like all things Obama, it’s presented under the assumption that the majority of Americans are complete morons, because Federal workers’ salaries are at their highest levels ever:
At a time when workers’ pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employees’ average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn, a USA TODAY analysis finds.Federal workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row. The compensation gap between federal and private workers has doubled in the past decade.Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Indeed, Federal employment is a booming industry in the age of Obama:
The number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office, a USA TODAY analysis finds.
Federal salaries have grown robustly in recent years, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Office of Personnel Management data. Key findings:
•Government-wide raises. Top-paid staff have increased in every department and agency. The Defense Department had nine civilians earning $170,000 or more in 2005, 214 when Obama took office and 994 in June.
•Long-time workers thrive. The biggest pay hikes have gone to employees who have been with the government for 15 to 24 years. Since 2005, average salaries for this group climbed 25% compared with a 9% inflation rate.
•Physicians rewarded. Medical doctors at veterans hospitals, prisons and elsewhere earn an average of $179,500, up from $111,000 in 2005.
Narrow the timeline from a decade to five years, and the growth is startling:
Obviously, freezing Federal wages at these levels does little to seriously reduce our budget deficit. In fact, one can reasonably assume that President Obama isn’t really serious about our fiscal problems at all. All this does is give the President the opportunity to throw the ball back in the Republicans’ court, something to the effect of: See what I proposed? If you guys have any better ideas, I’d like to see it.
This of course makes for good copy, and would have the national punditocracy tingly for POTUS again, and if there’s one thing Obama is
good consistent at is giving the media a shiny new object to play with and salivate over. Which is, of course, all this proposed salary freeze is–nothing more than a distraction, so nobody should be taking it seriously.
(Hat tip: Zero Hedge)
Fresh death threats against Christians residing in Iraq are terrorising families and inciting them to flee, according to reports from ‘al-Hayat’ newspaper, which cites interviews from Iraqi security officials.
Seven hand written messages for which Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility were found in various locations throughout the city, Abdullah al-Nawafili, a Christian community leader in the Iraqi capitol, Baghdad confirmed.
“Threats of these types have been coming in over the past few days that push us to leave the country,” he said.
The messages were delivered to the Camp Sara neighbourhoods of Baghdad which is home to a predominantly Christian population as well as the districts al-Amin and Baghdad al-Jadid and were written on white paper resembling doctors prescription pads. “Leave Iraq immediately or you will be killed by us,” the notes read.
The response from the United States? Near silence, and this only perpetuates the tragedy:
[...] without enormous pressure from his backers in the U.S., [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki] has little incentive to turn his attention to this problem. And yet the U.S. and the international community thus far have barely managed to muster the most muted response to anti-Christian violence in Iraq.
What is needed is a firm condemnation by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reacting specifically to al Qaeda’s explicit plans to rid Iraq of its Christian communities and warning the Iraqi government that there will be dire consequences to its continuing inaction on this urgent matter.
This silence cannot stand. Americans of all faiths must band together and pressure the State Department to do something about the wanton murder of Iraqi Christians before it’s too late and there are no more Christians in Iraq to protect. What is happening in Iraq is genocide, plain and simple. It must be stopped now.
As Advent approaches for Catholics, its second-nature for us to involve ourselves with the traditions of the faith and go about our business. While we deal with the stresses of the season, and conveniently and vociferously complain (myself included), let’s not forget that there are those on the other side of the world, who are literally dying to practice the tenets of Christianity.
The FBI thwarted an attempted terrorist bombing in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square before the city’s annual tree-lighting Friday night, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon.
A Corvallis man, thinking he was going to ignite a bomb, drove a van to the corner of the square at Southwest Yamhill Street and Sixth Avenue and attempted to detonate it.
However, the supposed explosive was a dummy that FBI operatives supplied to him, according to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint signed Friday night by U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a Somali-born U.S. citizen, was arrested at 5:42 p.m., 18 minutes before the tree lighting was to occur, on an accusation of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The arrest was the culmination of a long-term undercover operation, during which Mohamud had been monitored for months as his alleged bomb plot developed.
More Islamofascist tolerance:
The FBI operatives cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of his plan, noting that there would be many people, including children, at the event, and that Mohamud could abandon his plans at any time with no shame.
“You know there’s going to be a lot of children there?” an FBI operative asked Mohamud. “You know there are gonna be a lot of children there?”
Mohamud allegedly responded he was looking for a “huge mass that will … be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.”
Mohamud dismissed concerns about law enforcement, explaining that, ” … It’s in Oregon; and Oregon, like, you know, nobody ever thinks about,” according to the affidavit.
“The threat was very real,” said Oregon’s FBI Special Agent in Charge Arthur Balizan. “Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale. At the same time, I want to reassure the people of this community that, every turn, we denied him the ability to actually carry out the attack.”
But, hey, we’re not at war with this vermin right?
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the post-election reaction of the Tea Party here in New Jersey, and the importance of establishing a foothold in state and local races for 2011 and beyond.
Apparently, this is happening in other states as well:
With the November elections behind them, tea party activists are working to solidify their movement by pivoting quickly to state and local issues they think will allow them to show that theirs was not a one-time uprising tied to this year’s congressional contest.
A major focus will be Virginia – one of only four states to hold elections next November. They are also launching a political action committee to recruit, train and fund candidates, and help them drive a legislative agenda during January’s General Assembly session.
The groups see the state’s legislative contests as an opportunity to build a network of officials who someday can rise through the ranks and compete for statewide offices.
The new strategy represents something of a course correction for a movement that this year often promoted political newcomers.
FreedomWorks, a national tea party group led by former House majority leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.), and other national and local groups are working to ferment and expand their organizations in battleground states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Florida.
For the national groups, assisting activists with local elections helps sustain grass-roots enthusiasm with an eye toward the next round of congressional elections – and the presidential contest – in 2012.
And for the activists, local and state elections are opportunities to nurture candidates who share their political beliefs and to win offices the activists say hold the most influence over people’s lives. After all, they say, their movement is built on the premise that power should be concentrated locally instead of in Washington.
“The tea parties are growing momentum every day,” said Fran Telarico, a tea party organizer near Fort Collins, Colo., who is helping build a communications network among other local groups in Colorado to look ahead to 2012 as well as local races. “There are more people joining tea parties now than ever.”
As I alluded to in my earlier post, complacency is easy and contagious. It’s good to see the momentum and determination stay alive all throughout the country.
Yeah, things are looking real great on the other side of the pond:
A teenager has been arrested on suspicion of inciting religious hatred after allegedly burning an English language version of the Koran.
The 15-year-old, who lives in the West Midlands, allegedly posted the video, filmed two weeks ago on her school premises, on Facebook.
The video was reported to the school and subsequently removed, police said.
A 14-year-old boy was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of making threats. Both have been released on police bail.
It is thought the girl, who lives in the Sandwell Council area, was allegedly filmed setting the booklet alight while other pupils watched.
Two Facebook profiles have also been removed from the site, police added.
It is understood that the group who published that version of the Koran have since been to the school to talk to pupils.
Good lord. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that England has been headed to the crapper for some time, with their subjugation to radical Islam. I just never realized it was this severe.
Everyone has some sort of tradition for the Thanksgiving Day holiday. My personal tradition involves watching March of the Wooden Soldiers starring Laurel and Hardy on WPIX (Channel 11 here in Jersey) first thing in the morning. The film has been on at the same time on Thanksgiving morning, and on the same channel as long as I can remember. Here is the original trailer:
After the movie’s over, my fiance and I start cooking for family who will be over around three, but I’ll try to get in as much football as possible. Clearly, it doesn’t take much for me to be content.
Someone once told me that Thanksgiving is the most stressful holiday of the year, and I have to say that probably the best Thanksgiving I ever had was about four years ago, when I blew off every family invitation, and spent the day alone, giving thanks on my own. But then again, I’m a hopeless misanthrope, and this is probably not for everyone.
The Wall Street Journal runs a great editorial called “The Desolate Wilderness” which is very well worth a read, and puts things in perspective, as we complain about important things like our iPhones not operating fast enough, that there’s too much food around the holidays, or that our favorite football team never plays on Thanksgiving.
That is to say, if by “holiday greetings” you mean some rancid turkey and a serious case of heartburn:
Unemployment is set to remain higher for longer than previously thought, according to new projections from the Federal Reserve that would mean more than 10 million Americans remain jobless through the 2012 elections – even as a separate report shows corporate profits reaching their highest levels ever.
Top Federal Reserve officials project that the unemployment rate, now 9.6 percent, will fall only to about 9 percent at the end of 2011 and about 8 percent when the next presidential election arrives, in late 2012. The central bankers had envisioned a more rapid decline in joblessness in their previous forecasts, prepared in June.
The sober economic forecast comes despite signs that the recovery is picking up slightly. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that gross domestic product rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the three months ending in September, not 2 percent as earlier estimated. And there have been solid readings in recent weeks on job creation, manufacturing and retail.
But wait, there’s more:
It was these diminished expectations for growth that led Fed officials this month to announce plans to buy $600 billion in Treasury bonds in a bid to drive down long-term interest rates and pump up growth.[...]
But most Fed officials expected the results of bond purchases “to help promote a somewhat stronger recovery in output and employment while also helping return inflation, over time, to levels consistent with the Committee’s mandate.” Some also thought the action would offer insurance against a further drop in inflation or against the “small probability” of persistent deflation.
But the [minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting] also leaves little doubt that several Fed officials remain uneasy with the action. Some anticipated that they would have only a “limited” effect on the pace of recovery, arguing the action should only be taken if the odds of deflation “increased materially.”
And several “noted concern” that the action “could put unwanted downward pressure on the dollar’s value in foreign exchange markets” or “an undesirably large increase inflation.”
So not only are Fed officials implicitly acknowledging that nearly two years of Obamanomics are a complete failure, but that their fiscal policy, as encapsulated in Quantitative Easings I and II, are doing little, if nothing to help it as well.
We’re in the best of hands, folks.
But you know who
must really be feeling like an idiot this really hurts? Jeff Sommer.
The Sage of Omaha thinks he should be paying more in taxes:
Billionaire Warren Buffett said that rich people should pay more in taxes and that Bush-era tax cuts for top earners should be allowed to expire at the end of December.
“If anything, taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further,” Buffett said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week With Christiane Amanpour” that is scheduled to air on Nov. 28. “But I think that people at the high end — people like myself — should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we’ve ever had it.”
Let’s bear in mind that Mr. Buffett is one of the wealthiest people in the world. So much so that he is privy to the sort of preferential business transactions that only those in the upper stratosphere of wealth can enjoy. Let us also not forget that he is a big supporter of President Obama, and was on his short list for Treasury Secretary early in the transition.
That being said, these kinds of statements by the richest of the rich, are so disingenuous, they border on insulting. Buffett can say these things, because he and everyone else knows it will never happen. People like Buffett are relatively immune from the ruinous nature of our tax codes, especially in the age of Obama.
If Buffett was really serious about what he’s saying, then I’d expect to see news that he has voluntarily mailed in a check for several hundreds of millions of dollars, payable to the US Treasury. Until then, thanks for the advice Warren, but no thanks.
UPDATE. What Fausta says.
The legend of Favre is dead, and Aaron Rodgers killed it.
Aaron Rodgers and the Pack dismantled the Vikings today, with a robust 4 TDs and 301 yards. It was the Packers’ fourth straight victory, and swept the season series with the Vikings. More importantly, it should put an effective end to the whiny soap opera that is the Brett Favre story.
As a Packers fan, it’s tough to watch. But seriously, the guy should have hung up the cleats back in 2008, because since then, he’s embarrassed himself and his legend.