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Archive for August, 2011

Green Jobs are ‘Fiscal Black Hole’

Great editorial on the colossal waste which filled the so-called “Stimulus” from the Orange County Register.

The faddish obsession with “green jobs” is being revealed as a massive waste of taxpayer money.

Pipe dreams eventually are revealed for what they are – unrealistic, wishful thinking. It didn’t take long for Spain’s touted green-job revolution to be revealed as a financial disaster, siphoning taxpayer subsidies and destroying 2.2 real jobs for every green job created.

Domestic green-job pipe dreams similarly drain U.S. taxpayers’ money into economic sink holes. The millions of so-called green jobs promised by President Barack Obama and other champions of taxpayer-subsidized energy schemes not only haven’t materialized, many that did, already are disappearing.

It’s truly a bad sign for the green-job revolution when failure becomes obvious even to acolytes.

“All this talk about the green jobs never materialized,” liberal Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of Los Angeles recently complained.

The New York Times rubbed salt in the wound when it reported in July that the nonpartisan Brookings Institution found clean-technology jobs accounted for only 2 percent of jobs nationwide. “Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show,” according to a Times article from a San Francisco news outlet.

I sort of chuckle about how the only reason the NYT even mentioned the failure of green jobs after the left-leaning Brookings Institution reported only 2 percent of jobs nationally are “clean-technology jobs.”  That data’s been readily available from the federal government since 2010.  In fact, it’s from the Obama Commerce Department.

Commerce Department itself said last April, the entirety of the “Green Economy” in the U.S. was 1 to 2 percent.  The “stimulus” sent somewhere around 25 percent of its funds to that small portion of economy.

Is it any other reason why it failed?

So, as the President sits down to give us his next great speech after Labor Day on how he will save the U.S. Economy from his last bit of handwork, I’m hoping this time he stays away from the rhetoric about “green jobs.”  Because at the first mention of them, I’m turning the channel.

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Wausau-Area Unions are Bigots

Know what you’re thinking…

“Whoa Kev, that’s some pretty loaded language there.  Explain yourself!”

Oh, I will.

Organizers of the Labor Day parade in Wausau say Republican lawmakers aren’t welcome in this year’s event.

The Marathon County Central Labor Council sponsors the Sept. 5 parade. The council includes about 30 local unions from the Marathon County area.

Council president Randy Radtke says they choose not to invite elected officials who have “openly attacked worker’s rights” or did nothing when state public workers lost most of their right to collectively bargain.

Fascinating reasoning.

I say fascinating since it makes the Marathon Co. Labor Council sound remarkably like the New York Catholic Diocese when it explains why they keep gay and lesbian groups out of the diocese-sponsored St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  And over that time — now going on two decades I believe — groups like the ACLU, civil rights groups, labor groups, and other so-called progressive groups have hammered the NYC diocese for what they call a bigoted and backwards-thinking move like barring LGBT groups from the parade.

So…if the shoe fits; wear it.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Thought This Was Supposed to be Hard?

One of the talking points, particularly out of Madison, is that getting a Voter ID for the Voter ID law is supposed to be hard.  They point to a clearly-tilted story from the Cap Times where a Dane Co. DMV took something like three hours to get an octogenarian a new ID.

My first place to lay blame…how about the Dane Co. DMV?

WITI Fox 6 out of Milwaukee did a similar story on getting a new state ID for those who don’t have one, or let their current one expire.  They seemed to scratch off a number of items on the Affirmative Action checklist.  He lives in the inner city of Milwaukee.  He has MS.  He’s black.  He doesn’t drive a car; only a motorized scooter.

It’s the perfect sort of ‘pansy’ you’d think the media would have to expose how flawed the Voter ID law is and how tough those evil, voter suppressing, Republican Nazis made it for the Black Man to vote.

Unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way.  His only discomfort, an hour and a half DMV wait.

Yeah, gonna have to do something to speed up the DMV waits.


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Weekend Quick Hits

We Have a Traveling Trophy Now?

This is definitely new.

David Esswein had a monster night for the visiting Raiders, catching four touchdown passes, kicking two field goals and booting six extra points for good measure in the Raiders’ 48-21 victory over Howards Grove to retain the Highway A traveling trophy on Friday.

Kiel (2-0) quarterback Geddy Norby threw for five touchdowns and ran for another. He threw for 205 yards and rushed for 57.

Howards Grove had two big pass plays on the night, a 75-yard scoring play from Noah Steines to tight end Ashton Holzman and a 77 yard scoring pass from Steines to Donald Oneson.

Kiel 21 21 3 3 — 48

Howards Grove 7 0 7 7 — 21

Steve Biskupic Offers Services as “Prosecutor” in Ryan Removal Trial

Pro bono’s nice. Saves the city money at least on some legal costs.

Can’t be said for the entire affair though.  There’s Ryan’s lawyers and the rest of the “trial” naturally.

I’m beginning to feel recalling the guy might just be cheaper…

A special meeting of the Sheboygan Common Council where aldermen will consider hiring attorney Steven Biskupic to serve as special prosecutor in the council’s attempt to remove Mayor Bob Ryan for his alcohol- related missteps will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31 in council chambers.

The official agenda, setting the meeting for Wednesday night was posted late Friday by the City Clerk’s Office, setting the time and date of the special meeting.

The special meeting had been tentatively set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30 after Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, during which aldermen voted to recommend hiring Biskupic as the special prosecutor, but the clerk’s office said Friday that Ryan is the person responsible for setting the time of special council meetings.

Biskupic, if hired, would be responsible for investigating the citizen complaints against Ryan and determining if there is enough evidence to bring a case against him. Biskupic would then serve as prosecutor if the complaints proceed to a quasi-judicial hearing.

At the quasi-judicial hearing, the council would serve ad judge and jury and decide whether there is sufficient evidence to remove Ryan from office.

Also on the agenda will be a vote by the council to hire Sheboygan attorney Joseph Voelkner to advise the council throughout the process, and to authorize payment for Voelkner. The Committee of the Whole had voted to recommend hiring Voelkner at its Thursday meeting.

Voelkner would serve as a go-between for communication between Biskupic and the council, and if the quasi-judicial hearing is held, he would ensure it follows statutory requirements.

Biskupic, a former U.S. Attorney, has told the council he is willing to work on a pro bono basis.

Curse You Editors!

Actual line which was pulled by one of my editors from my late June column regarding the Bradley-Prosser scuffle.  It was meant to describe the relationship between Justices Abrahamson and Bradley.

“Frankly, “Igor” was never this defensive of “Master” in any of the horror films I’ve seen.”

Left -wing media description from yesterday’s release of statements to the justices to the Dane Co. Sheriff’s department.

During the court’s initial meeting with Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs, conservative Justice Patience Roggensack told Bradley that she did not condone Prosser’s actions during the altercation, but also said “Ann you do realize you goad him.” Also, in their later separate interviews with law enforcement, Prosser and his fellow conservative Justices Annette Ziegler and Michael Gableman all described Abrahamson and Bradley as having a “mother/daughter” relationship.

At least my initial phraseology of “sycophantic defense” survived…and was true.

Quote of the Day

Ann Althouse, talking about a New York Times story about schools and environmental activists joining forces against the ziploc bag.

(No, not kidding you there.)

1. Some people wash and reuse ziploc bags. So don’t presume you know that the ziploc-user is an enviro-sinner.

2. Kiddies, if you are old enough to understand environmentalism and to pressure your mother with it, you are old enough to pack your own lunch. And if you’re so hot on being saintly, start helping your mother, not making her life any harder.

Yeah, think there’s a commandment which says something close to that on point 2 as well.  Number 4 on the charts with a bullet!

Perhaps those religious hucksters were on to something thousands of years ago.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Customs Hates Rock ‘n Roll

Ah, the Lacey Act and your repercussions.  Do I not miss you from my Kohler days.

Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

It isn’t the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian’s ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name “United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.”

The question in the first raid seemed to be whether Gibson had been buying illegally harvested hardwoods from protected forests, such as the Madagascar ebony that makes for such lovely fretboards. And if Gibson did knowingly import illegally harvested ebony from Madagascar, that wouldn’t be a negligible offense. Peter Lowry, ebony and rosewood expert at the Missouri Botanical Garden, calls the Madagascar wood trade the “equivalent of Africa’s blood diamonds.” But with the new raid, the government seems to be questioning whether some wood sourced from India met every regulatory jot and tittle.

It isn’t just Gibson that is sweating. Musicians who play vintage guitars and other instruments made of environmentally protected materials are worried the authorities may be coming for them next.

If you are the lucky owner of a 1920s Martin guitar, it may well be made, in part, of Brazilian rosewood. Cross an international border with an instrument made of that now-restricted wood, and you better have correct and complete documentation proving the age of the instrument. Otherwise, you could lose it to a zealous customs agent—not to mention face fines and prosecution.

John Thomas, a law professor at Quinnipiac University and a blues and ragtime guitarist, says “there’s a lot of anxiety, and it’s well justified.” Once upon a time, he would have taken one of his vintage guitars on his travels. Now, “I don’t go out of the country with a wooden guitar.”

The tangled intersection of international laws is enforced through a thicket of paperwork. Recent revisions to 1900’s Lacey Act require that anyone crossing the U.S. border declare every bit of flora or fauna being brought into the country. One is under “strict liability” to fill out the paperwork—and without any mistakes.

It’s not enough to know that the body of your old guitar is made of spruce and maple: What’s the bridge made of? If it’s ebony, do you have the paperwork to show when and where that wood was harvested and when and where it was made into a bridge? Is the nut holding the strings at the guitar’s headstock bone, or could it be ivory? “Even if you have no knowledge—despite Herculean efforts to obtain it—that some piece of your guitar, no matter how small, was obtained illegally, you lose your guitar forever,” Prof. Thomas has written. “Oh, and you’ll be fined $250 for that false (or missing) information in your Lacey Act Import Declaration.”

I see from a few blogs this is being highlighted as a DOJ case.  Seriously, it may eventually get there, but this is a Customs / Fish & Wildlife issue at its basest elements.

The Lacey Act is very strict and very precise about the type of wood and wood products you can and cannot import into the country.  And if you are importing something that’s on a watch list, you damn well have your paperwork in order or all hell is going to break loose as Customs will view you as a “poacher” of illegal or endangered materials.

Simple as that, and it’s a shame Gibson’s being sought after for only making what the market or guitar players want.

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This Just In: The Economy Still Sucks

Can’t wait to hear Obama’s post-Labor Day speech on jobs.

Because if his presidency has shown us anything, it’s that he can heal the world with just a speech.

(Enough sarcasm there?)

The U.S. economy grew much slower than previously thought in the second quarter as business inventories and exports were less robust, a government report showed on Friday, although consumer spending was revised up.

Gross domestic product growth rose at annual rate of 1.0 percent the Commerce Department said, a downward revision of its prior estimate of 1.3 percent. It also said after-tax corporate profits rose at the fastest pace in a year.

Economists had expected output growth to be revised down to 1.1 percent. In the first quarter, the economy advanced just 0.4 percent. The government’s second GDP estimate for the quarter confirmed growth almost stalled in the first six months of this year.

The United States is on a recession watch after a massive sell-off in the stock market knocked down consumer and business sentiment. The plunge in share prices followed Standard & Poor’s decision to strip the nation of its top notch AAA credit rating and a spreading sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

While sentiment has deteriorated, data such as industrial production, retail sales and employment suggest the economy could avoid an outright contraction.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is suppose to speak as well today.  So that will no doubt have some effect on the markets today…if anyone’s in Wall Street at the NYSE today.

It is Friday after all, that tends to be a slow trading day naturally.  Plus, they have a hurricane bearing down on the city.

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No Pataki Presidential Run

Yeah, I’m going to admit here that I was well-aware he was thinking about it, but honestly couldn’t have cared less about his decision.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki will not run for the Republican presidential nomination, a source close to him told CNN.

Pataki, who had been flirting with a White House bid for months, was scheduled to appear this weekend in the key early voting state of Iowa.

Speculation was that the former three-term governor would announce his candidacy Saturday at the Polk County Republican fundraiser.

But the source said that Pataki, who seriously considered running, has decided instead to forgo a run for the GOP nomination.

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Cartoon of the Day

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