Dec 102010

H/T Bill Turner

That’s not the only piece of hilarity from Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, the Democrat who recently won more than 70% of the vote in his House re-election. Ellison suddenly discovered his inner Milton Friedman in wondering how much the tax deal cut by Barack Obama with Republicans would cost per job created, saying that the reduction in the estate tax would “give away trillions of dollars” over the next ten years. What Obama really needs to do, Ellison advised Minnesota Public Radio, was to “create a real crisis” that would force the GOP to surrender on tax hikes for those making $200,000 a year or more (via Weekly Political Review and Rhymes with Right):

Ellison, who was recently elected co-chair of the Progressive caucus in the House, voted against the compromise.

“I think that we need to create a real crisis here so that the Republicans will have to answer for denying Americans unemployment benefits on the eve of the Christmas holiday,” Ellison said. “We let them off the hook, in my opinion.”

Ellison said Democrats should have negotiated more aggressively to protect the interests of middle class and low income Americans, but he defended Obama’s effort to reach a compromise.

“I think (Republican lawmakers) exploited the president’s compassion for people who are facing a very grim holiday with no unemployment insurance extension,” Ellison said, “but I think that we should have bargained harder because what we’re doing is we’re going to fundamentally shift the income spread in this country.”

First, the reduction of the estate tax won’t “give away” trillions of dollars in the next ten years. It doesn’t “give away” anything at all. It allows families to keep a little more of the wealth that has already passed through at least one round of taxation already, either when it was earned or when it was inherited previously. The actual dollar impact in the difference between the rates before and after the deal won’t amount to trillions in any case.

However, the need to now produce a cost-benefit ratio seems rather sudden for Ellison. He backed the Porkulus plan that spent $800 billion on stimulus, which according to the White House’s ridiculously inflated calculations “saved or created” 3.5 million jobs, for a cost per job of … $228,571.42 per job. Other estimates range between 2 million and, er, zero, according to the Fed, and the best-case scenario is that it cost $400,000 per job in a short-term reprieve for bureaucrats.

As far as the “crisis” goes, Ellison is recommending that Obama do what Obama accused Republicans of doing: holding the unemployed and working class hostage to force an end to unemployment benefits and across-the-board tax hikes. That way, Ellison figures, voters will blame the side that offered a deal that a majority support. Only in Minnesota’s 5th CD would that kind of logic and political strategy be rewarded with a federal office.

Hot Air

Dec 102010

Thursday’s network newscasts and Friday’s morning shows all ignored the report that an unidentified Democratic House member muttered, “F**k the President” during a closed door meeting on a compromise over taxes. Yet, many journalists professed outrage when Congressman Joe Wilson yelled “You lie” at President Obama in 2009.

ABC’s The Note website on Thursday afternoon explained, “An unidentified Democratic lawmaker let slip his frustration at President Obama’s proposed tax compromise, apparently muttering “f**k the president,” during a heated debate this morning.”

Yet, when GMA reporter Jon Karl covered the story on Friday, he reported more sanitized details of conflict: “…Yesterday, you had the House Democrats actually chanting, ‘no, we can’t’ at a private meeting.”

On CBS’s Early Show, news reader Jeff Glor followed a similar track, allowing, “And during the meeting, some Democrats chanted ‘Just say no.’ They insist on changes to scale back tax breaks for the rich.” (This line was also quoted on Thursday’s CBS Evening News.)

Over on NBC’s Today, Kelly O’Donnell described House Democrats simply as “defiant.” She added that opposition on the left to the deal was, “a liberal rebellion against the White House over the tax cut compromise.” The only possible hint of an expletive used against the President came when O’Donnell referenced a visit by Joe Biden to Capitol Hill. According to O’Donnell, this “only stirred up emotions.”

On Thursday’s Nightly News she deemed the conflict a “family feud.”

In contrast, on September 14, 2009, five days after Congressman Wilson’s outburst in front of Congress and Obama, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer derided the Republican as “just one ugly sign of the mindless meanness that has settled over our politics.”

On the September 15 Sunday Morning, commentator Nancy Giles condemned Wilson: “That’s the voice of Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, not some drunk at open mic night, calling the President a liar.”

Obviously there’s a difference between an unidentified representative and a nationally televised embarrassing moment, but what if this mystery representative had been a Republican?

By Scott Whitlock Newsbusters

~Despite all this controversey, I agree with the Anon Rep. ~JP

Dec 102010

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) recalled more than 13 million packages of Rolaids heartburn products following consumer complaints of foreign materials in the product, including metal and wood particles.

The Rolaids recall adds to the growing list of over-the-counter products recalled by J&J over the past year, which have hurt its sales and tarnished its once-sterling reputation for product quality.

J&J’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit said Thursday it was recalling all lots of Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews, Rolaids Extra Strength plus Gas Softchews and Rolaids Multi-Symptom plus Anti-Gas Softchews distributed in the U.S.

The company said it has determined that the foreign materials were potentially introduced into the product during the manufacturing process at a third party manufacturer, which it didn’t identify. While the risk of serious adverse health consequences is remote, McNeil advises consumers who have purchased these recalled products to discontinue use.

The company suspended production of the recalled products and won’t restart production until corrective actions have been implemented.

J&J has issued a series of recalls of medicines including Tylenol, Benadryl and Motrin, for various quality lapses such as excessive concentrations of active ingredients and musty odors. J&J’s handling of the recalls has sparked investigations by government entities, including a criminal probe by the Justice Department.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform also has probed the recalls. The incoming chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) issued a statement Thursday saying the “most recent recall reinforces the Committee’s ongoing investigation surrounding the safety protocols in place at J&J’s facilities and how the [Food and Drug Administration] is managing food and drug safety.” The committee will continue to seek answers from J&J and the FDA, the statement said.

Earlier Thursday, Wells Fargo downgraded its rating for J&J shares, citing the potential for further regulatory action on J&J that could shut down a manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico where quality problems have been detected.

J&J shares fell 48 cents to $61.97.

–Peter Loftus, Dow Jones Newswires

Dec 102010

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Dec 102010

The sweeping tax cut bill introduced Thursday night by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is chock-full of sweeteners which could serve as a legislative pacifier for Democrats outraged over the concessions President Obama has handed to Republicans.

The stimulus-sized package includes about $55 billion worth of short-term tax extensions for businesses and individuals. They cover a host of alternative energy credits, a potential salve for environmentally conscious lawmakers, as well as targeted benefits for everything from the film and television industry to mining companies to rum producers.

Reid has set up a test vote on the package for Monday, which could clear the way for a final vote as early as Wednesday. The bill stands a good chance of passage in the Senate, but the House is less predictable as rebellious Democrats accuse the president of caving and clamor for changes.

Obama, in an interview with NPR News, predicted Congress would ultimately approve the tax-cut compromise, though he would not rule out more changes in the bill.

“Here’s what I’m confident about — that nobody, Democrat or Republican, wants to see people’s paychecks smaller on Jan. 1 because Congress didn’t act,” Obama said.

The compromise package extends the Bush tax cuts for everybody for two years. It extends long-term unemployment aid for one year, as well as implements a one-year reduction in the Social Security payroll tax on employees.

Democrats have objected that the bill is too generous to the rich, especially its provisions cutting estate taxes for the wealthiest Americans. House Democrats voted in a closed-door meeting Thursday not to allow the package to reach the floor for a vote without changes to scale back tax relief for the rich.

It’s unclear how the sweeteners in the Senate bill will affect the debate on the House side.

Among the extra provisions are a tax credit for biodiesel, a tax credit for ethanol, extensions of tax credits for energy-efficient homes and appliances, and credits for training mine rescue teams.

It would allow millions of dollars worth of expensing for film and production companies doing work in the United States, give breaks for the rum trade in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, provide incentives for investment in the District of Columbia and provide other benefits for the battered Gulf coast.

The 45-cent-per-gallon ethanol subsidy alone, extended through 2011, was estimated to cost about $5 billion. The issue is of particular interest to lawmakers from Midwestern states with grain crops.

“This bill is not perfect, but it provides the economic boost middle-class families and small businesses in Nevada and across America need,” Reid said. “Middle-class families and small businesses will see their taxes go down.”

At the insistence of Republicans, the measure includes a more generous estate tax provision. That infuriated Democrats already unhappy with Obama for agreeing to extend tax cuts at incomes of more than $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.

In all, the package would cost about $855 billion, according to a preliminary congressional estimate.

Vice President Joe Biden has told Democrats in closed-door meetings this week that they are free to oppose the agreement but it might unravel if they do.

“If it’s take it or leave it, we’ll leave it,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, after a closed-door meeting in which rank-and-file Democrats chanted, “Just say no.”

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has said he expects most Senate Republicans to support the tax bill. Prominent House Republicans back it, too, though some conservatives have balked over the sheer size of the package and particularly over the unemployment aid.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dec 102010
Ron Santo

Chicago – Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts recalled Ron Santo the “beating heart of Cubs fans everywhere” Friday for a packed house at Holy Name Cathedral for Santo’s funeral.

Ricketts, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Santo’s radio partner Pat Hughes were present to speak at the funeral.

“Ron was the fan’s broadcaster, he was the fan in the booth. And at times, Ron was so in touch with the fan base that he could describe exactly what was happening on the field without using words at all,” Ricketts said. “He was truly the beating heart of Cubs fans everywhere. And he wore that beating heart, our beating heart, on his sleeve everyday.”

“Ron Santo was as fine and passionate a man as you will ever know. He made an immediate and lasting impact on my life, just as he did on all those who knew him personally and on the millions of fans who listened to his broadcast of his beloved Cubs,” Selig said.

“He lost both legs, but he never lost heart,” Selig said, praising his work fundraising for juvenile diabetes.

Selig recalled watching Santo and the Cubs after the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta. He said his mother once bumped into Santo on a golf course and told him her granddaughter was a huge fan of his. He took the hat off his head, signed it and told her to give the hat to the girl.

Please finish this tribute

Fans at Wrigley: Santo ‘was always good to the fans’

We Will SO Miss You Ron!!!

Dec 102010


Dec 102010