Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stem Cell Boondoggle gets better and better

We told you so, but you liberal dupes just thought we were just "bigoted religious extremists".

Gee, I didn't know opposition to dubious corporate welfare was religious. But leftist dupes will be leftist dupes...some excerpts:

A performance review of California’s stem cell institute says the fledgling agency needs to improve several policies, better document how it reaches its policy decisions and further justify some salaries.

...yesterday, the agency said it would follow all of the bureau’s recommendations except one: the suggestion that it require public conflict of interest disclosures by a committee of scientists that recommends which research grants should be funded.

“It’s hard for me to determine whether this is the auditors being overly demanding or the institute continuing to do what it has done in the past – oppose all attempts to make it conduct its business in the open sunshine of the public,” said Jerry Flanagan, of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which has been keeping tabs on the institute.

The audit also revealed that the state’s Fair Political Practices Committee has concerns with the institute’s conflict of interest policy for out-of-state scientists who are members of a working group that reviews grant applications and makes recommendations on which should get funding.

The institute’s board reviews this groups’ recommendations, then votes on who should receive funding.

The board contends that the working group members serve only in an advisory capacity and are therefore not required to publicly disclose their potential conflicts of interest, as required of the institute’s staff and governing body.

Instead, the working group members file disclosures to the institute, which keeps them under wraps and available for private review by state auditors.

The Fair Political Practices Committee believes that the working group members are decision makers and therefore should be required to publicly file financial disclosure statements.

The legal stance is a threatening one for the institute.

Groups challenging the institute’s legality have also said this working group is a decision-making body, and therefore, the challengers argued, the institute is unconstitutional because the people deciding how to spend the state’s money are not accountable to the taxpayers.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Castro District in SF less gay, so gays are upset

Butch up, nancies:

But some gay and lesbian residents of the Castro are worried that the culture and history of their world-famous neighborhood could be lost in the process, and they have started a campaign to preserve its character. The city, meanwhile, is spending $100,000 on a plan aimed at keeping the area's gay identity intact.

Heterosexuals "are welcome as long as they understand this is our community," said Adam Light, a leader in the Castro Coalition, a group formed eight months ago to address the shifts in the neighborhood in recent years.

Imagine if Mr. Light (in the loafers?) had said "families of Blacks" , or "families of Chinese", or "families of Mexicans", in place of "Heterosexuals". But you can't, because I will bet the liberal media wouldn't print it.

So y'all had better stay in your places in Hunters Point, Chinatown , or the Mission District, ya hear?

Meanwhile, if an Italian American lamented that North Beach was becoming less and less Italian and more and more Chinese (or homosexual), can you just imagine the shitstorm that Italian American would face?

Indeed Dan White came to (and fell from) political office precisely because the once very family oriented Irish/Italian/Chinese American Castro District became homosexual.

And the SF Commiecle and other papers of like bias wonder why their revenues and circulation continue to decline....

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Abolish the Alternative Minimum Tax

The Wall Street Journal has a good post on this.

The Cato Institute has a more pessimistic take. Their contention is that Bush wants to do something about the AMT and he will agree to a tax increase to get it.

Assuming asuch a deal could be brokered, I would still support it, the massive raise in FICA payroll taxes on the upper income notwithstanding.

The AMT was originally intended to target 155 high-income households that were taking advantage of so many tax benefits that they wound up paying little or no income tax under the tax code of the time (1970). However, with rising nominal wages and inflation, many millions of middle class taxpayers now end up having to deal with it.

Moroever, why SHOULDN'T people take advantage of the rules to pay no taxes if they wish? They are following the rules, aren't they? If some guy so badly wants to not pay taxes that he puts all his interest earning into tax free municipal bonds, that's his business. The returns on Muni Bonds are much lower than other investments even if they are tax free, mind you.

Oh but that is unfair because he is super-rich, you say? Exactly who would you prefer to own state and local government debt? Wealthy Americans or wealthy foreigners? Wealthy Americans or the Chicom government officials? (take at look at who increasingly owns our Treasury bonds some time...)

The AMT is grossly unfair, in that it penalizes people who in good faith obeyed the tax laws and went into tax shelters only to discover that at a certain level of wage income, or capital gains (which are always hard to predict, and capital losses from prior years are not allowed to offset), or even if the moon isn't quite right (just kidding, but just barely), suddenly their tax shelter is no longer valid, the previously understood tax laws no longer apply and the AMT shark comes in to take a bite.

The AMT is also utterly arcane and cumbersome. Even most people who prepare taxes FOR A LIVING don't fully understand it, or exactly where and when it kicks in.

While greatly increasing the 6.2% FICA "wage cap", which is now at $94,200 of wages for tax year 2006 and is indexed for cost of living adjustments, or even eliminating the cap and taxing FICA just like Medicare (which is taxed at 1.45% with no wage limit) would amount to a huge tax increase for high income earners, I have to admit that getting rid of the AMT in return would also amount to a huge tax cut for most of these same wage earners, and more importantly the tax code would be fairer, simpler and more easy to understand!!!

Getting rid of the FICA cap would also end the farce that "Social Security" (sic) was intended to "provide for everyone" and make people more aware that it is REALLY just income redistribution and "welfare for the old" plain and simple.

(Of course, that assumes that a fair political deal would be brokered, and given deceptive Demunists of the Evil Party and gullible Republicans of the Stupid Or Gutless Party, I'm not confident of that.)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Democrat Wants State To Own Part Of Stem Cell Research Firms

Dance with the devil and you get what you deserve:
A bill expected to be introduced as early as today would require companies doing business with California’s $3 billion stem-cell institute to give the state a larger portion of their revenues than the institute has proposed.
Some members of the institute previously have resisted forcing businesses to pay the state significant amounts, arguing that such a requirement could deter companies from having anything to do with the research effort. That’s a worry shared by Ken Taymor, a lawyer and researcher with Stanford University’s Program on Stem Cells and Society.

"I’m concerned that it would discourage the most promising businesses from participating," he said. Taymor added that the bill seems premature, since it is unlikely any products will be developed from the institute’s grants for at least a decade.
Private firms were drooling at the prospect of using our tax dollars to do their research. No need to go to venture capitalists or the private equity markets and take a risk. Instead they donated large sums of money (actually a meager amount compared to the contracts they are now getting) to a cynical ballot measure that played on false hype to justify corporate welfare. Of course they failed to mention 25 years of failures in promoting the $3 billion bond measure.

Now a radical Commiecrat, Senator Sheila Kuehl, wants a larger share of the revenues of these companies. In the real language that is called a tax, not revenue sharing. Kuehl is just like any other Demunist, she does not like private business; she just tolerates it.

Bolshevik bulldyke and Soviet sapphic Sheila Kuehl’s move is predictable, but that’s the price of corporate welfare. All the pro-business biotechies who signed onto what they thought was a free giveaway should have known better than to deal with the Quisling Quimlicker and her Commiecrat Cabal.

But the story gets better. "We were tricked", says the Bolshie bulldyke:
Under Proposition 71, bills affecting the institute’s operations can only be passed with a 70 percent majority, which could make it tough to get the measure enacted. Nonetheless, Kuehl said voters were promised the program would generate significant financial returns to the state when they passed Proposition 71 in 2004. The measure authorizes the institute to spend about $300 million a year for 10 years on stem-cell studies. Moreover, she noted that the institute last week awarded its first stem-cell research grants.
I am saddened that so many people bought into the stem-cell sob story snake oil, given that there has never been any actual breakthrough using aborted embryonic or fetal material. Never mind moral objections to abortion; this was such blatant corporate welfare for something with dubious returns.

There was no justification for this boondoggle. There was no demonstrable health benefit, as there was with the polio vaccine. There was no race with Nazi scientists, as there was for the atomic bomb. This was not a "space race" with the Soviets so we wouldn’t go to bed by the light of a Soviet occupied moon.

There was only (1) a cynical play on the hopes and dreams of crippled people without any demonstrable proof of progress, and (2) a spiteful move by the Left against moral and religious objections of any sort, to subsidize killing fetuses in any way possible.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More Fraud From Death Penalty Opponents

I am never surprised at the lengths the anti-death penalty Left will go to in order to change the law. They will lie, cheat and steal. This explains why those who are guilty beyond any doubt, like Stanley "Tookie" Williams and "Mumia-Abu Jamal" (a.k.a., Wesley Cook) suddenly develop a whole mythology about them.

In this case, one Ms. Kathleen Culhane, 40, of Petaluma was arraigned Wednesday on 45 felony counts of perjury, forgery and counterfeiting documents in front of Sacramento Superior Court Judge David Abbott.

You know, Saddam Hussein may have had one good idea: Rape Rooms.

Can this bitch Culhane be put into a chamber with some of the prisoners she tries to acquit? Or perhaps those prisoners who have behaved well deserve a special kind of conjugal visit, if you know what I mean and I think you do...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Restore Hetch Hetchy: A Modest Proposal

Courtesy of the Amazing Tom McClintock:

Within George Bush’s latest budget is $7 million to explore the benefits of destroying the Hetch Hetchy dam that provides water for 2.4 million Californians. Destroying the Hetch Hetchy has been a dream of the most radical fringe of environmental extremists for many years, and now has official backing – or at least interest -- from the “Republican” White House. Interestingly, the study is only to explore the “benefits” of destroying one of the most important water resources in California – and not the $10 billion cost or what 2.4 million people are supposed to do without drinking water or electricity.

Fortunately, rational voices among Democrats include Diane Feinstein who vowed, “"I will do all I can to make sure it isn't included in the final bill."

You know, normally I loathe the Watermelon ("green" outside, commie red inside) people who want to rip out dams, but here they may have a point. Yosemite IS a National Park, after all.
How about this trade off: Hetch Hetchy Dam is torn down AFTER:

(1) Auburn Dam is built.

(2) The North Coast rivers (Eel, Mad, Hayfork, Van Duzen, southern forks of the Trinity) are dammed and diverted. In a state prone to alternating cycles of drought and flood, and badly in need of clean renewable hydroelectric power, anyone who gets mushy about a "wild and scenic river" needs a mental examination and then commitment to the Agnews, Napa, or Patton State Mental Hospitals. Yes, this can be done without flooding out the Round Valley Indian Reservation (the fatal flaw in the original Dos Rios project plan), and yes, enough flow can be left over and hatcheries can be created for the salmon and other fishies.

(3) At least 260 base-load megawatts of electricity are generated from (1) and (2) above, and double that peak-load, making up for the lost Hetch Hetchy hydropower. If not, then we must build a nuclear power plant! Redesigning and rebuilding Rancho Seco could work here. (That will put the Watermelons' panties in a bunch)

(4) Additional San Luis type storage reservoirs are built. (Orestimba, Panoche)

(5) any necessary water storage dams on the Tuolumne River downstream from Hetch Hetchy are built below the National Park (Poopenaut Valley, or anywhere else upstream from Lake Don Pedro)

(6) The number of Yosemite Valley campsites are restored to 1960’s levels, and finally

(7) The restored Hetch Hetchy Valley gets an equivalent number of campsites! Seriously, what good is a national park if hardly anyone can ever enjoy it?

Anybody think the eco-fiends will go for this? Probably not, their Watermelon agenda is simply to reduce us "back to the Pleistocene" in the words of the "Earth First" Luddite savages.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Global Warming": Common Sense vs hysteria

Some common sense about the "global warming" hysteria, coming from a layman armed only with common sense and empirical history:

(1) Man-made-global-warming (MMGW) is dubious. Overwhelming consensus of scientists? Oh puh-leeze. Some of us remember when the overwhelming consensus was a "new ice age". Some of us remember when we were told how polyunsaturated oils were GOOD for us (now margarine is recognized as being far worse than REAL butter). Some of us also remember when there was an overwhelming consensus that there would be a massive heterosexual AIDS epidemic (It's been 25 years now and I'm still waiting for it).

(2) Much of what is called "science" today is speculation and conjecture at best, agenda-driven alarmism at worst. Empirical history is a far better predictor than anyone's theorizing.

(3) Even if MMGW is in fact occurring, it will take CENTURIES to unfold at the very fastest. The ice ages took eons to unfold with or without us, and yes we will adapt. Ocean levels rising? Dig canals to flood useless desert depressions around the world and divert some major rivers.

(4) Frankly, MMGW might be a downright boon, with plant growth stimulated, by warmer and moister air and more carbon dioxide used by plants for photosynthesis. I'd enjoy a return to the mideval climate optimum, when Greenland had forests and Vikings grew grapes in the vicinity of Oslo! Think of it--the timberline moving higher and further north and the deserts blooming! But above all:

(5) Muslim fanatics getting and using A-bombs, or even lots of chemical munitions, are a far greater threat to the environment and humanity than the sum total of all of our vehicular activities.

The Business and Media Institute have a great report documenting that for the last 100 years, the media has gone from claiming a new ice age was coming, to claiming global warming was coming:
--Global Cooling: 1895-1932
--Global Warming: 1929-1969
--Global Cooling--AGAIN: 1954-1976
--Global Warming--AGAIN: 1981 to now

British amateur meteorologist G. S. Callendar made a bold claim....that many would recognize now. He argued that man was responsible for heating up the planet with carbon dioxide emissions – in 1938.

It wasn’t a common notion at the time, but he published an article in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society on the subject. “In the following paper I hope to show that such influence is not only possible, but is actually occurring at the present time,” Callendar wrote. He went on the lecture circuit describing carbon-dioxide-induced global warming.

But Callendar didn’t conclude his article with an apocalyptic forecast, as happens in today’s global warming stories. Instead he said the change “is likely to prove beneficial to mankind in several ways, besides the provision of heat and power.” Furthermore, it would allow for greater agriculture production and hold off the return of glaciers “indefinitely.”

Monday, February 05, 2007

Global warming fraud: disaster relief for record cold

"Global warming", my ass.

Much of this is due to lack of moisture as well, a drought caused by RECORD COLD AND DRY AIR. Personally, I'd like some warmer and moister air to come, for local air quality as well as for the rain and snowfall.

Heck, I'm looking forward to a return to the "mideval climate optimum", a time when written historical records indicate Vikings could grow grapes and Greenland had forests. Let's get OUT of the "Little Ice Age" we have been living in! MORE GLOBAL WARMING -- NOW!

It amazes me that people take "research studies" that examine a few decades and try to speculate about milennia of climatology. Research studies diven by hysteria grants, the more hysterical the better. Some of us are old enough to remember when we were told that we we heading for a New Ice Age, never mind the Little One!

It amazes me further than when I actually talk with these people, and they state that the greatest threat to humanity is either (1) overpopulation or (2) the internal combustion engine, in the words of Al Gore and his Goreon followers. NOT the danger of the Moon-god Murdering Mohammadans getting hold of atom bombs, but people owning cars and trucks and airplanes!

As for overpopulation, when most of the world has birth rates at or below replacement level of 2.1 per female, the Mayhem and Murder Metorite worshippers are cranking out SIX or more per enslaved woman! Does anyone think they care about the ecology?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

In Defense Of Joe Biden

As much as I hate to say it, Joe Biden is RIGHT ON about Barack Obama. For the only time in my life, I rise to Joe Biden’s defense.

Cheaply attacking him for some ill-chosen but essentially true words simply reinforces the lunatic liberal definition of "racism." That definition: anything that makes some people in a "protected class" feel bad.

Biden is a notably garrulous and artless communicator. He simply said that previous black presidential candidates have not been particularly respectable people. Generally speaking, this is true. It is certainly true of the ones people know about, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Biden is right; for the first time there is an African American candidate who is polished. While a good many ideas Barack Obama has are just plain wrong, he is not a leftover communist un-American traitor like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.

Update 04/08: I was wrong. Given his mentor Jeremiah Wright and other shady figures Barack Obama counts as his mentors, as well as revealing parts of his autobiography, Barack Obama IS a leftover communist, racist hypocrite and Un-American traitor. However, he is well-spoken and polished, so I think Mr. Biden's argument still stands.

Nor is Barack Obama too mercurial and tempermental for any political office (think Alan Keyes here, a guy with his heart in the right place but frankly a bit of a nut!)

Obama appears to be more respectable and will therefore get a different reception from non-leftist white voters — is getting — than Jackson or Sharpton got. That is simply reality.

Whatever racism exists among white public figures is no longer openly shown. And again, all of these cheap attacks simply reinforce the Politically Communist Left's stupid definition of "racism". Republicans ought not to be joining in the attack, even if it is fun to hoist a lefty like Biden up on his own phony "racism" petard.

The Democratic party’s sins are as scarlet. It is complicit in reverse racism, or, put more directly, anti-white racism. Its leaders routinely accuse conservatives, with no or virtually no evidence, of racism. It panders to the racist instincts of dangerous fringe separatist and frankly un-American elements in the black and Hispanic communities. To the extent there is a racial problem in American politics, THAT is the problem.

All that said, frankly, I am not impressed by the Cult of Obama, because frankly he is just too new in politics.

Let’s face it, Barack Obama hasn’t even served out one full senate term yet, and the reason he won office is because: (1) his Republican opponent Jack Ryan blew it. (You should have kept your trophy wife and not flaunted her, Jack). (2)The Illinois Republican Party, in a true moment of stupidity, thought it a good idea to carpet-bag in the mercurial and tempermental Alan Keyes rather than seek out another Illinois Republican.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Two ideas for a better presidential primary system

Primaries, which used to gradually unfold across the nation, have become too front loaded, making the conventions into "coronation ceremonies".

To his credit, Stephen Frank discusses this problem.

The old and now nearly gone Southern Democrats created "Super Tuesday" in the hope of restoring some conservatism into their party (no such luck). Then California chose to move it’s primary from June to February, followed by other states moving their primaries forward as well. Now the whole process is ridiculously front loaded.

What to do? Two different ideas:

(1) A "national primary day". I would set such a day on the First Tuesday in June of the election year. The incumbent president’s party convention could follow in the month of July, the challenger’s party convention in the month of August, debates and campaigning all through September and October.

In such a system, the party conventions would start to REALLY matter, and not just be "coronation ceremonies" for the wanna-be king. Deals would have to be brokered, losing candidates offered Veep or Cabinet slots, etc. There might be real fights over the party platforms. It would at least be interesting.

(2) I also have an alternative "Modest Proposal", which would alas probably require a constitutional amendment to make it so, alas. My idea is that 2 states per week, over a 26 week process from January to June, would hold their primaries (or perhaps caucuses should the state choose that method instead; maybe this can be debated here). As in the first option, the incumbent president’s party convention could follow in the month of July, the challenger’s party convention in the month of August, debates and campaigning all through September and October.

How to determine which state holds its primary election when? Simple: By the order in which the states were admitted into the Union.

This method would make the whole process interesting, in terms of strategy and tactics. Would a candidate try to be in every state, or would he concentrate on only certain states and regions? As the field of candidates narrows, to whom would the failed candidates throw their support, and how much would it help? Now THAT is real excitement for the political junkies.

This method would make Pennsylvania the first important primary to watch, as it is a fairly sizeable state and second into the Union. This method would give the NH people hissy fits, but tough. We need some method to determine who goes first and who follows, and order of admission into the Union is the best concrete and constitutional method I can think of.

This method would mean a gradual unfolding from East to West more or less, alternating between northern and southern states at first, then going to the West Coast, then back to the Rockies and the Prairies. AK and HI last. Well, actually the PR, GU, VI, and Samoa territories would be last, (26th week) since non-state territories can vote for President, but you get the idea.

Other rules I would put in place:

— delegates would be won proportionately in the primary elections for each party, not "winner take all". This would give the race some ferment, and make the party conventions at the end have some real political horse trading and not just be coronation ceremonies.

— CLOSED PRIMARIES ONLY. "Open Primaries" are gateways to political chicanery, with sabotage voters from one party going to urinate in the other party’s voting pool. Anyone who knows the story of what happened in the Louisiana governor’s race a decade and a half ago, of the crooked Evan Edwards using David Duke to annilhate Buddy Roemer (sp?) will understand what I am talking about here. In large part, McCain’s campaign in 2000 relied on the "political urination" factor in SC and other open primary states, one reason why I lost respect for McCain.

— Should caucuses be allowed, or primaries be mandatory? I’m not sure, but I am inclined to go toward the latter. Caucuses are not who actually votes in a state so much as they are who busses in their political operatives.

Let me know what you think.