Three Members of the EBT Card Commission going Rogue, Try to Ban EBT Card use for Strip Clubs, Booze, Cigarettes and Scratch Tickets

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 7th, 2012

Week in Review

When it comes to battles between conservatives and liberals the battle lines they draw often concern welfare benefits.  The conservatives want to take away milk for children while liberals want to make sure welfare recipients still have their dignity.  And can enjoy strip clubs, booze, cigarettes and scratch tickets (see Pundit: EBT card overhaul puts Hill bigs ‘in the hot seat’ by Chris Cassidy posted 4/5/2012 on the Boston Herald).

Outraged lawmakers trying to prevent taxpayer-funded EBT card abuse are putting the political screws on House and Senate leaders, who will face election-year pressure to place real reforms on the floor for an up-or-down vote, a GOP pundit told the Herald…

Three members of the state’s EBT Card Commission, formed to clean up the program, yesterday announced details of a bill to crack down on abuses, after last week slamming the commission’s failure to come down hard enough.  The rogue group’s bill would ban the use of EBT cards at such places as strip clubs, rent-a-centers, gyms and gun shops; banning card use outside New England states; and restrict how much cash can be drawn. The reform efforts followed Herald reports of welfare recipients spending benefits on booze, cigarettes and scratch tickets.

This is politics.  And, sadly, politics as usual.  Buying votes versus responsible governing.  For both conservatives and liberals know of these welfare abuses.  The difference is that conservatives want to reform the system to stop the abuses.  And liberals want to allow the abuses for the votes these abuses buy.  For they need those votes as few people will vote to raise their taxes to pay for poorly run welfare programs.  But if you’re the recipient of those welfare programs, well then, that’s a different story.  Your votes are for sale.  Which is why liberals fight to make sure welfare recipients can enjoy strip clubs, booze, cigarettes and scratch tickets.  As long as these people remember who it was that allowed them to enjoy these things in the election booth.

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The Wind Turbine Industry about to go the Way of Solar Panel Manufacturers like Solyndra

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 7th, 2012

Week in Review

Solyndra failed because of the Chinese.  Solyndra was working on a tubular technology to avoid using a silicon-based flat panel design.  At the time of product launch silicon was a costly commodity giving Solyndra a cost advantage.  And that cost advantage lasted until the Chinese brought so much silicon to market that the price for silicon imploded.  As did the price of flat-panel solar panels.  Which the Chinese also flooded the market with.  Good for people wanting to install solar panels.  Bad for people wanting to manufacture solar panels.  And now it’s happening with wind turbines (see Wind power market to lose puff this year by Liu Yiyu posted 4/5/2012 on China Daily USA).

China’s wind market bubble will deflate as the industry enters the worst year in its history, said the Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa.

“The first half of 2012 is the worst time in the last four years, triggering a faster industry consolidation,” said Jorge Calvet, chairman of the company…

China’s wind industry has excessive capacity, going from 10 to 12 manufacturers in 2005 to more than 85 in 2011, according to Calvet.

Jobs of the future?  I think not.  Installing them, perhaps.  But this technology won’t do a thing for our manufacturing base.  What President Obama was going to revitalize with the technology of the future.  Green technology.  Smart technology.  Instead of those high-paying jobs of the past in the oil industry.  Which, incidentally, is something the Chinese can’t take away from us.  Only our president can.  By pursuing his jobs of the future.  Those manufacturing jobs the Chinese are taking away from us left and right.

Perhaps it would be better to pursue those jobs of the past.  There is a demand for fossil fuels.  We have fossil fuels buried within our American borders.  Which means only Americans can bring these fossil fuels to market.  And build and maintain the infrastructure that bring these fossil fuels to market.  All of those good, high-paying, benefit-laden jobs of the past.  In other words, the jobs people want.  The kind that don’t disappear when the Chinese ramp up protection.  The kind that will improve the employment picture.  Bring the cost of gasoline down.  And make America more energy independent.  All good things for the American people.  And things we should do for the American people.  Especially when it’s your job to look out for the American people.

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Al Gore’s Current TV about to become another Liberal News Outlet Failure

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 7th, 2012

Week in Review

A lot of people on the Left hate Rush Limbaugh.  And Sean Hannity.  Because they have a lot of people listening to their radio shows.  Numbers one and two in the market.  Something liberal talk radio could never do.  Which is why the Left hates these two guys.  Because the Left always fails going up against conservatives.  Even on cable TV (see Exclusive: Low ratings could end cable deal for Gore’s Current TV by Peter Lauria posted 4/5/2012 on Reuters).

Al Gore’s Current TV has bigger problems to deal with than a potential lawsuit from fired news anchor Keith Olbermann – namely not getting kicked off Time Warner Cable for low ratings.

According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, Time Warner Cable Inc’s carriage agreement with Current TV stipulates that, if the left-leaning political news network fails to meet a minimum threshold for overall viewers in a given quarter, financial penalties such as Current TV being required to increase marketing and promotion spending on the cable operator’s systems are triggered.

If Current TV misses the audience benchmark in two consecutive quarters, another clause is triggered that would allow Time Warner Cable to drop the channel. The condition was built into the most recent distribution pact between the two parties, which was signed in 2010…

If it was not for Olbermann’s show, which averaged a total of 177,000 viewers per night, Current TV likely would have missed Time Warner Cable’s viewership benchmark, said one of the sources.

When you’re the party of decriminalizing drugs and providing birth control and abortion you’re appealing to the baser instincts of people.  People who enjoy pleasure more than deep philosophical thought.  Which is who the Left appeals to.  Especially in their courtship of the youth vote.  And these people who want to party and enjoy the now to the fullest aren’t going to tune into any program talking politics.  They’ll participate in the Occupy Wall Street and other protests because protesting is fun.  As is the sex and drugs in their little tent cities.  Just like it was back in the Sixties when the hippies created the sex and drugs scene.  But they don’t want to hear their parents or people who may be friends of their parents talking politics.

This is the consequence of dumbing down society.  It’s easier to buy votes.  But a large portion of your political base will be uninformed and unaware.  And not get involved in politics.  Unlike the conservative opposition.  Who take great offense of the dumbing down of society.  And the societal decay.  And they will tune into programs talking politics.  Especially the ones in opposition to the thing they blame for that dumbing down and societal decay.  Liberalism.

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Electric Car Sales and Range are Still Anemic but their Prices are Not

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 7th, 2012

Week in Review

Electric cars are the technology of tomorrow.  The savior of the planet.  Especially the all-electric ones.  For they don’t pollute when they drive.  Of course, they pollute more when they charge thanks to those fossil fuel-fired electrical power plants.  But they’re here.  And we’re saved.  Thanks to the new electric cars sweeping the nation.  Here’s a look at 7 of those cars (see 7 electric cars for the future by Anne VanderMey posted 4/2/2012 on CNN Money).

Expensive cars.  And some pretty sad stats.  Number sold.  For all two cars.  And those range numbers.  The Nissan Leaf delivers a whopping 73 miles on a single charge.  Which is about an hour’s drive on a freeway.  Maybe.  Without headlights, heat or air conditioning no doubt.  Or a loud sound system.  Not very useful.  Or enjoyable.  Unless you like freezing or sweating (depending on the time of year) while driving blind in the dark with nothing to listen to but the sound of your battery draining.  And the kicker is you just can’t pull off the freeway and top off your battery.  Depending on the voltage of the charging system you could be stopped from 20 minutes to an hour.  Even overnight.  No wonder no one is buying these cars.

Now contrast that with the Chevy Impala.  A full-size four-door sedan with a V-6 engine that burns gasoline at a rate of about 30 miles per gallon.  With the 17 gallon tank that gives a range of about 510 miles on a full tank.  Or about 7 hours of driving on the freeway.  And And when you run low on gas all you have to do is pull off the road and top off the tank at a conveniently located gas station.  Which shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes if you pay at the pump.  And then you have another 510 miles to go.  With, I might add, headlights, heat, air conditioning and a kick-ass sound system.

Which kind of makes the choice between all-electric and gasoline-power easy.  Which is why they sell about 18,000 Impalas.  Each month.  And you can get a pretty nice one for under $30,000 that can seat six.  And a huge trunk.  A car just made for cruising down the highway with the family.  Going where the road takes you.  And bringing home a lot of souvenirs.  Something you just can’t do in your all-electric car.

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Australians raising electricity rates by 23 percent, Includes Carbon Tax to Save the Planet

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 7th, 2012

Week in Review

Utility prices are always a political hot potato.  No matter where you are.  Currently in Australia they’re talking about eliminating pricing measures in place that have been keeping rates below actual costs.  Doing so, though, will hit consumers with a huge increase in electricity rates which isn’t going to make anyone happy (see Power prices to rise more than 23 per cent by Daniel Mercer posted 4/5/2012 on The West Australian).

Electricity prices are likely to rise much further than the 23 per cent hike flagged by WA’s economic regulator after Premier Colin Barnett dismissed calls for cross-subsidies for country towns to be scrapped.

The Economic Regulation Authority released a long-awaited report yesterday into the tariffs of State-owned electricity retailer Synergy, showing households were still paying significantly less for power than it cost to provide.

According to the ERA, consumers would have to pay 23.1 per cent more power before prices reached “cost-reflective” levels, driving primarily by the need to remove the discount applying to prices and the incoming carbon tax.

What’s really interesting, of course, is that last bit about a carbon tax.  A 23.1 percent increase in utility rates won’t help any elected government at the next election.  So they’re going through political gymnastics about who not to anger.  Those receiving the subsidies.  Or those paying the subsidies.  And while they’re trying to keep the cost of electricity down so people can use it without going broke the federal government is implementing a carbon tax to make it more expensive so people do go broke if they use it.  To save the planet.

Mr Barnett said this morning that while no decision had yet been made about the size of forthcoming utility price hikes, his Government would not be responsible for the effect of the tax.

“We are doing all that we can to keep the increase in the price of electricity to a minimum and by that I mean something around or just above inflation,” he said.

“The carbon tax – that’s a Federal Government tax.

“And remember I don’t support the carbon tax, the Liberal Government does not support the carbon tax but the whole ideas of the carbon tax – Julia Gillard’s idea – is you raise the price of electricity so people use less of it.

“So the whole purpose of a carbon tax is to raise electricity prices.

“I don’t support that, I think it’s a flawed and failed policy.”

While the local government is trying to save the people by making electricity more affordable the federal government is saying screw the people.  We need to save the planet.  Which is rather silly.  For the planet is far cleaner than it was during the Industrial Revolution.  And here we all are a century or so later.  Alive and well from the affects of the Industrial Revolution.  When smoke, soot and ash covered our cities from coal-burning steam engines powering our factories.  When some people were so filthy that they coughed soot and ash.  They may have died young.  But the planet that bore them is alive and well.  So I think it’s time to stop with some of the silliness.  And allow people to live on this planet.  Especially now that it is cleaner than ever. 

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The Murtha Airport is another Monument to the Folly of Keynesian Stimulus Spending

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 7th, 2012

Week in Review

Keynesian economists, and the current administration, strongly believe in the power of government stimulus spending.  Keynesian theory is all about the importance of consumer spending.  And everything about Keynesian stimulus should put more money into consumers’ pockets so they can spend money in the private sector economy.   For even the Keynesian will acknowledge that consumer spending in the private sector economy is the only thing that matters for real economic growth.  And anything that helps in this endeavor can and should be done.  Even if it means having the government pay people to dig a ditch.  Then fill it back in.  And then dig it out again.  And so on.  Because those people the government pays to do something completely worthless will take their paychecks and spend them in the private sector.  Thus stimulating the private sector economy.

Of course you can only pay so many people to dig a ditch.  But an airport, now that’s some real government spending (see Murtha Airport, brought to you by American taxpayers by Jonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham posted 4/3/2012 on Yahoo! News).

Three years ago, we first visited the tiny airport, and found a monument to pork barrel spending: An airport with a $7 million air traffic control tower, $14 million hanger, and $18 million runway big enough to land any airplane in North America. For most of the day, the only thing this airport doesn’t have is airplanes.

We flew there on one of three flights that arrive there daily, all of them from Washington D.C. About half the cost of every ticket, $100, is paid by American taxpayers, a subsidy Congress voted to renew just this past February.

The place had a shiny new luggage carousel, a state of the art tower, and some very bored air traffic controllers — but very few passengers. The place is a tribute to the power of its namesake; everything from the reinforced runway to the radar facility to the new terminal, are all thanks to Democratic Congressman John Murtha, who died more than a year.

You see, that’s the problem of paying people to do something worthless.  Building this airport cost a lot of taxpayer money.  Those who built the airport did well.  While they were building the airport.  But now that the work is done that airport is one expensive filled in ditch.  For it’s as useful as a filled in ditch.  But even more costly.  For a filled in ditch at least doesn’t need employees to stand around waiting for something to do.  It doesn’t consume electricity and natural gas utilities.  And it doesn’t have to be maintained.  Unlike a runway.  Even if it’s not being used.

The government went into debt paying for this.  It’s part of the reason the debt ceiling has to be increased so often.  Because of all the John Murtha pork barrel spending out there.  Worse, the airport cannot generate enough revenue to support itself.  And requires government subsidies to keep it open so people can stand around waiting for something to do.  This and all other pork barrel spending adds up to be a terrible drag on the economy as it sucks money out of the private sector (where they don’t build airports where there are no airplanes to use them).  Where the only spending that counts for real economic growth is reduced by the amount of the stimulus taxed out of it.  And servicing the debt created by this stimulus spending further reduces economic activity in the private sector.  As the interest on the debt grows to a larger and larger line item in the U.S. budget.  Forcing the government to borrow money to pay the interest on the money they borrowed previously.

The worst thing about this is that those on the Left, the Keynesians, don’t see a problem in this.  For they have no fundamental understanding of economics and believe their Keynesian follies actually help the economy.  Despite having a failing track record for close to a century.  They believe.  They have faith.  And don’t need to see results.  For their faith is enough.  Yet they won’t stand for the irresponsible ‘spending’ of a tax cut that actually stimulates economic activity in the private sector.  That place where the only spending that counts for real economic growth takes place.  And has a very successful track record of success.  As Harding/Coolidge proved.  As JFK proved.  As Reagan proved.  And as George W. Bush proved.

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