Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Orleans is Ready to Brew a Little Tea (and foment just a little insurrection)

Just a reminder -- New Orleans is good to go for its Tax Day Tea Party! April 15th, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m., at the Veterans' Memorial, Causeway and Vets, by the giant flag. Bring your signs and favorite brew. Let's roll!

Mysteries of Life

My head is spinning from all the breakneck-speed hope and change going on around here, so I'm taking an attitude adjustment mental detour. From this day forward, when I get a little overwhelmed in the brain, I'm just going to ponder a small Mystery of Life. Today's topic:

Why does the smallest item of laundry always wind up in one of two places: the back of the dryer so that one must insert one's complete torso into the tumbler to reach it; or, in the very front so that it falls out when one opens the door?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Iowahawk Strikes Again: The Country's In Good Hands

This guy is a hoot. This video is 9 minutes long, but it's both humorous and strains the notion that our elected officials have any gray matter.

(I don't know how to post videos yet, so this will have to do. Sorry.)

Iowahawk's post appears here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Slinking into the Future: 1984 Here We Come

The next big government intrusion into our lives is gaining speed and young families had better be monitoring it closely: the GIVE/SHARE Bills (the Senate version -- SHARE -- now, at the initiative of allegedly conservative Orin Hatch, has been re-named the "Edward M. Kennedy National Service Law." They hugged as the name-change was announced by Sen. Hatch. Awww.).

The Law will hand over billions of dollars (yes, 6 + more billions -- in addition to the billions and trillions that Congress has already spent since January that it doesn't have) to the likes of ACORN and PUSH so they can facilitate volunteerism and civic service. As if those organizations haven't done enough to corrupt volunteerism and civic service already. New service organizations will spring to life, never to wither, such as a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps, Veterans Service Corps, and an expanded National Civilian Community Corps for disaster relief and energy conservation.

I have never opposed volunteerism, as any who know me will attest; I've been kind of a hyper-volunteer since college. Still am. I've also long advocated a year or two of paid, government-sponsored, mandatory service for everyone following high school graduation, or attaining the age of 18, whichever comes last. But the stand-alone companion bill to GIVE/SHARE, The Congressional Commission of Civic Service Act, is a very frightening thing. It is the gateway to mandatory civic service for potentially every individual in the United States of America.

Among the tasks given the new Commission are to determine and analyze (emphasis mine):

(5) The effect on the Nation, on those who serve, and on the families of those
who serve, if all individuals in the United States were expected to
perform national service
or were required to perform a certain amount
of national service.

Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all
able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be
implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation
and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic,
ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

The need for a public service academy, a 4-year institution that offers a
federally funded undergraduate education with a focus on training future public
sector leaders.

Yes sir. We're gonna train up "future public sector leaders" in the way of "Progressive-ism." And I suppose we all would have to have a federally-operated "communications monitor" installed in our homes to keep us informed about volunteer "opportunities" and "assignments." Huh, Mr. Orwell?

It may not be slavery, or even enthrallment. But it's suspiciously akin to involuntary servitude.

People -- stay on top of this.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hornets v. Nuggets: The Day After

The Hornets team that finished out the game last night was not the same team that began the game. They have to find a path to consistency or the playoffs will not go well. Chris Paul and David West are just two guys -- they can't play all five positions.

Well, maybe they can, but at least not for the whole game! CP3 - MVP!

On a happier note -- I really like it when we get tickets in the suite (a MUCH better vantage point than our regular seats in the nosebleed section!), but I usually wind up with hives on my nose from something I eat there. Last night I avoided the Caesar salad and the gumbo and I didn't get a single hive! Maybe I finally found the culprit.

I hope it's not the gumbo.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama-Speak: Constitutionality

The Young President had his cozy, little swingset-side chat with Sixty Minutes last night. He performed as if back on the campaign trail -- smooth, self-assured, witty. And a championship dodger of direct questions.

Interviewer Steve Kroft asked him, in as many words, if the YP, as a former Con Law Prof, believes the 90% tax bill on bailout-funded bonuses is constitutional. The YP's response:

"Well, I think that as a general proposition, you don't wanna be passing
laws that are just targeting a handful of individuals. You wanna pass laws
that have some broad applicability. And as a general proposition, I think
you certainly don't wanna use the tax code to punish people[.]

"I think that you've got an pretty egregious situation here that
people are understandably upset about. And so let's see if there are ways of
doing this that are both legal, that are constitutional, that upholds [sic] our
basic principles of fairness, but don't hamper us from getting the banking
system back on track." Source.

Did you hear him give a direct, responsive answer? Did you hear him utter the word, "unconstitutional?" Nope. "Inadvisable," maybe. In the second paragraph, he even suggested that the tax-flogger bill is "illegal," "unconstitutional," and "unfair." But he very carefully crafted a response that avoided accusing Congress of falling all over themselves to enact a punitive Bill of Attainder, with Nancy Pelosi screeching all the way. He just couldn't bring himself to aver, "Nancy, you ignorant slut." The YP simply can't bring himself to embarrass his congressional toadies, even when they seriously deserve it.

As a general proposition.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Congress: Drunk on Power and Flogging the Execs

Congress is drunk on power. It's over-reacting to uninformed public outrage by throwing the Constitution out the window, under the bus, and down the river. At light speed.

I'm not exactly crazy about those bailout execs living it up on the taxpayer tab, but, for crying out loud! Tax legislation like yesterday's 90% confiscation from a targeted group is precisely why the Founders prohibited Bills of Attainder in the Constitution! Check out Article I, sec. 9. It's pretty darn specific: no laws may be passed that have a "negative effect on a single person or group."

What's even scarier is how quickly they got it done. The bill passed after only 40 minutes of debate. Did they learn nothing about "haste makes waste" (and damn bad law) after the Economic Stimulus steamroller?

I pray that at least one of the bonus recipients challenges the constitutionality of this sucker, or we'll find ourselves on a slope the slipperiness of which has never been envisioned.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Obama-Speak: Tax Non-Sequiturs

Oh, it's on now.

In yesterday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Young President is quoted in an article entitled, "Obama Zeroes in on Wealthy." He's starting to push his new tax plan that will "share the wealth."

Get this:

Obama says the tax shift, which is dependent upon congressional
approval, will “begin to restore fairness to the tax

“There is nothing wrong with people succeeding and making money,” Obama
wrote in the 2010 budget proposal he presented last month. “But there is
something wrong when the opportunity for all Americans to get ahead, to enter
the middle class, and to create a better life for their children becomes more
and more elusive.”

. . . .

“It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that
everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance at success, too,” Obama
told the man [Joe, the Plumber]. “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

. . . .
“It’s a legacy of irresponsibility,” the president wrote, “and it is our
duty to change it.”

Considering the bail-out debacle, isn't referring to previous administrations' tax cuts as a "legacy of irresponsibility" a tad bit of the pot calling the kettle black?

And, what kind of freakin' non sequitur is the rest of that nonsense?! How does he get from "restoring fairness to the tax code" to "spreading the wealth around"?! How does taking an inordinate percentage of one citizen's income improve another's "chance at success"?! Total and utter non sequitur.

But will the Obamaniacs buy it? You betcha. They'll stand in line to cash their stimulus checks to pay for it.

Here's the change.

I hope the Obama daughters ask their Daddy to read them a fable before bedtime. You know the one; the one about the goose that laid the golden eggs and croaked before she could move to the Cayman Islands.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tax Day Tea Parties!

Tea Party a Go Go!

Today I signed up with the National Tea Party Coalition to support the NATIONAL tea party events that will blanket the nation on April 15.

Yesterday, my husband received this email from American Solutions for Winning the Future and it's just irresistible:

We're happy to announce that on April 15th, American Solutions will be
sponsoring Tax Day Tea Parties all across the country. We've partnered with the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, and over 150 cities have already been confirmed.

You can find a Tea Party in your area by going to www.AmericanSolutions.com/TeaParty.

This is our opportunity to do two things.

First--to communicate our anger and opposition to the irresponsible, big
spending policies of Washington politicians who have failed to solve

Second--to clearly define a bold, new agenda and tell our elected
officials that they can either work for us, or we will vote them out of

To help do this, we've created an American Solutions Toolkit for Tea
Parties. It includes our 12 American Solutions for Jobs & Prosperity, a few
handouts about our solutions relating to spending and taxes, and a checklist so
we can begin to find out where our elected officials stand.

To download your Toolkit for Tea Parties go to www.AmericanSolutions.com/TeaParty.

Propping up and bailing out failure with our tax dollars is not a
solution for our economy. It is irresponsible, and we must not tolerate it any

We hope you'll join us on April 15th to make this clear to Washington.

Free market-ish and entrepreneur-ily, there's even a Tea Party Gear Store where you can buy some pretty funny "Tea" Shirts and bumper stickers, complete with a contest to win some of the gear. They're trying to raise some money to send info and gear to organizers across the country. Insurrection AND shopping! Now that's a way to take some of the sting out of Tax Day.

So far there's not a Tea Party scheduled for New Orleans; Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and Shreveport are all onboard in Louisiana. I'll wait a few days and, if no one has begun to brew, I just may have to put the kettle on the burner myself.

I wonder what a permit to hold a tea party in NOLA costs? Yard sales are pretty pricey!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A New Week in the Economic Identity Crisis

It's Monday.

Everybody's AIG-bashing, and an angry Chicken Little is ba-ack!

Watch out for plummeting chunks of the wild blue yonder.

And watch your back.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Obama's Economic Identity Crisis

Methinks the Young President is suffering an economic identity crisis.

When addressing the American people, he is Chicken Little and the economy's sky is falling.

But, when addressing China's growing concern over the state of the U.S. economy and frenetic stimulus spending, he is Little Orphan Annie, promising that the sun'll come out tomorrow.

I wonder whose hat he'll wear when he attends the G-20 conference?

Maybe it'll be Maxwell Smart -- "Sorry about that, Chief. Missed it by this much."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's Time for High Tea

Oh, dear God. I've gotten hooked on this Facebook and Blogosphere thing, and today we had a power outage! AAGGGHHHH!!! I believe I experienced actual withdrawal symptoms -- cravings, yearnings, going to the computer to see if, through some divine intervention, it was up and online. Nope. Fortunately the power was out for only 45 minutes. Whew.

While twiddling my thumbs, having already read the newspaper, I listened to the radio. "Talk Gumbo" on WWL featured some folks who attended the "Tea Party" in Lafayette last weekend. There were apparently between 300 and 400 participants waving hand-made signs and, according to several callers, demonstrating genuine emotion. The participants were characterized as a lot of folks pushing strollers, a lot of pre-Baby Boomers, and a whole lot of Boomers who had some serious issues with the insanity emanating from Capitol Hill.

There was also a mention of the "mail a teabag to D.C. before tax day" movement being circulated via email. The email suggests mailing tea to the White House (where, yesterday, the Young President pounded the "imperfect" Omnibus bill for its porky, overwhelming number of earmarks. Before he signed it anyway. In private.) I think Congress should receive its fair share of voter revolt, too. Let's "re-distribute" the tea! I'm thinking Pelosi and Reid should be the primary beneficiaries of the bounty.

My envelopes are addressed and stamped -- now the decision is not whether I should actually mail them, it's: bag or loose leaves? Herbal or green? Cool Brew or traditional . . . . . . . . .?

Here are some easy-reference addresses. I'm not applying the honorific "The Honorable" because there is no honor among thieves:

President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House)
235 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Senator Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader)
522 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Mary Landrieu
328 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C.

Congressman Joseph Cao (my Representative, sort of, sometimes)
2113 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's "Joust" the Employee Not-Free Coercion Act

Gauntlets have been thrown; loins have been girded. The joust is officially underway!

Congressional action filed yesterday:

H.R.1409 Title: To amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep Miller, George [CA-7] (introduced 3/10/2009) Cosponsors (222) Latest Major Action: 3/10/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor. Text of the Bill may be read HERE.

"[A]nd for other purposes." Hmmm. Good ol' legalese!

As best I could tell, no Congressmen from either Arkansas or Louisiana signed on as co-sponsors. Way to grow a set!

Corresponding action in the Senate is expected soon -- it'll be interesting to see the co-sponsors there.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Employee Not-Free Coercion Act: The Firestorm!

All right! Firestorm in cyberspace over the Employee Not-Free Coercion Act!

I've gotten a bunch of hits on my posts about the EFCA from all over the western hemisphere. One joker even pasted a voluminous blather of pro-Act talking points, obviously composed by organized labor, in his Anonymous comment. Following the advice of another Commenter, I'm deleting it to free up server space -- we don't want to crash Blogspot, after all.

Now, on to impartial, quantifiable facts.

Tomorrow, Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar of the non-partisan firm, LECG Consulting, will testify before the Senate H.E.L.P. Committee hearing on “Rebuilding Economic Security: Empowering Workers to Restore the Middle Class” about her findings in a study commissioned by The Alliance to Save Main Street Jobs. The Alliance, which is chaired by HR Policy Association, counts among its members the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the Associated Builders and Contractors, The International Council of Shopping Centers, the Real Estate Roundtable, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Layne-Farrar conducted an in-depth statistical analysis of the economic and social effects of card check and mandatory first-contract arbitration using Canada's experience as a control, and published her findings in An Empirical Assessment of the Employee Free Choice Act: The Economic Implications. The lady knows her stuff. Although I don't pretend actually to understand all that mathy regression stuff, it is apparent to me that her methodology is sound, and her conclusions are logical and telling. In a Memo announcing the study, The Alliance to Save Main Street Jobs, declares:

Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar finds that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is unlikely to
achieve proponents['] stated goal of improving overall social welfare because the
legislation will increase unemployment and reduce [...] job creation – two adverse
effects that America can ill afford, especially during this time of recession. She
conclusively states that greater unionization as a result of EFCA may provide some
with earnings growth, but it [would] likely decrease employment opportunities for others and
increase inflation for all Americans.

Specifically, her study conclusively states that increases in unionization by the card
check and mandatory binding arbitration methods employed under EFCA would lead
to a 1 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate for every 3 percentage
point increase in workers organized.

One commentator at PRNewswire projects that, extrapolating Dr. Layne-Farrar's conclusions, passage of EFCA could result in the loss of 600,000 jobs in 2010 alone.

An Abstract of Dr. Layne-Farrar's findings is available here.

Whew. This ain't your Mama's Norma Rae.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Musings on a Sunday Outing to the Park

What a lovely, restful Sunday. We took Bouie to the park to run and train, had a great catfish Po Boy at Cap'n Sal's (the little Po Boy and Cajun seafood dive run by an Asian family in the Louisiana Avenue 'Hood near the Post Office. Very little English is spoken there -- you must order a Vitamin Water by color, not flavor!), and took in the Home Show at the Ponchartrain Center (have to start planning for the Ouachita house, you know!)

Then, why am I so sad?

I think it's because City Park still depresses me.

Here we are, 3 1/2 years beyond the federal floods following Katrina, and parts of City Park still look like Armageddon. Plans are in the works to re-build and improve the golf complex, and at least one of the Park's golf courses has re-opened to golf-starved New Orleanians on a budget. The NOMA and Storyland are looking better than ever. But, just look at those pictures of a cart path and tee box. Dead trees clawing at the sky, and overgrown everything.

Bouie doesn't seem to object, though. He likes the wide open spaces to run-run-run and fetch! Even on warm days like today. Good for him! Good for us all?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Employee Not-Free Coercion Act, Part Deux

I got one response from the four Senators I emailed on Thursday -- a stock reply from Mark Pryor explaining to me how a business can come to be unionized. You know -- that stuff I taught in a state university at both undergraduate and graduate levels for 9 years. At least he replied.

After visiting with Pepper about the Bill last night, I decided to contact the Senators again about the Bill's mandatory arbitration provision -- it's probably worse than the card check measure. Here's what the Staffers will read:

Re: The Employee Free Choice Act

As a post-script to my email of March 5 expressing concern about this Bill's brutal affront to voting privacy, I would like to voice another concern.

The provision in the Bill that would require mandatory arbitration of employment contracts is about as anti-business as it can get, especially in a Right to Work state.

After a mere 60 days of negotiations, significant business decisions about the employment relationship would be removed from the hands of interested parties and placed in those of a disinterested third party. The arbitrator's decision would be binding for TWO YEARS. This is bad for the economy; this is bad for economic development -- the retention of old, and attraction of new, business enterprises -- in Louisiana. This is simply bad law in a purportedly free society.

Cooler heads prevail when given adequate time to consider a subject thoroughly, and better decisions for all stakeholders are reached as a consequence. Business leaders (and many Union leaders, I wager) know this to be true. Congress would do well to take a lesson from them.

Once again, I implore you to vote against this very, very bad Bill.

I wonder what kind of "schooling" I can expect in response to this communication. I hope it's not the bend-over-and-cough variety.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Employee Not-Free Coercion Act

I just finished writing to Louisiana's and Arkansas's senators concerning the abominable Employee Free Choice Act. We own property in both states and, as taxpayers in both states, I believe we are entitled to solicit the officials elected to represent our interests in both states. (I don't have an actual address for the New Mexico property. Rats.).

This bill is really bad news. Here's what I said to the folks on the Hill (adjusted to fit the appropriate state):

Please vote against the Employee Free Choice Act.

This is one of the worst bills to be introduced in Congress in years, and that's really saying something. And who came up with the title of this Bill? There's nothing "Free" about it.

Louisiana is a Right to Work state; it has been forever. More simply stated: Louisiana citizens believe that the choice whether to unionize -- or to join a union -- belongs to the individual, not the coercive collective. The INDIVIDUAL'S choice is expressed through his vote.

Extant federal law, the NLRA, more than adequately provides for free, fair, secret-ballot elections, closely supervised by the NLRB, for both unionization and representation. It ain't broke -- don't try to fix it.

The vote -- by secret ballot -- is among the most sacrosanct civil rights granted us by the Founders (revolutionaries, by the way, who sacrificed all for their -- and our -- right to vote) and our Constitution. Its loss would portend the downfall of our Republic. Don't be seduced onto the slippery slope that threatens to erode our individual liberties even more than they've been traumatized already.

I implore you to think long and hard.

Preserve the integrity of the secret ballot and vote against the Employee Free Choice Act.

Hopefully, someone's home to listen.