Friday, August 31, 2012

Duct tape time insanity

Outrage of the Week: School District Forces Deaf Preschooler Named Hunter to Change Name Sign

In years past, zero-tolerance weapons policies in overzealous school districts have ensnared students for "weapons" such as a Cub Scout camping utensil, a 2-inch Lego toy gun and even a misappropriated chicken finger. But last week, Grand Island Public Schools officials in Grand Island, Neb. went for the record in zero-tolerance hysteria when they sought to bar a three-year-old deaf student from using his name.

The student is Hunter Spanjer, who communicates using a modified version of American Sign Language calledSigning Exact English or S.E.E., which is often used with young children to help bolster their English skills. The registered S.E.E. sign for Hunter's name is the forefinger and middle fingers crossed and extended, slightly resembling the ASL sign for gun, or a finger gun children might make during a game of cops and robbers.

Hunter's parents were told by school administrators that the name sign would need to be changed, as it violated the school's weapons policy that forbids students "to knowingly and voluntarily possess, handle, transmit or use any instrument in school, on school grounds or at school functions that is a firearm, weapon, or looks like a weapon." Further, Grand Island Public Schools Marketing and Communication Coordinator Jack Sheard told the New York Daily News that the sign was "not an appropriate thing to do in school."

After taking their story to the local media, the Spanjers have received a nationwide outpouring of support. Thousands have taken to Facebook and online petition sites to register their disgust, and hundreds of others have contacted the school district by phone and email.

Additionally, the National Association of the Deaf came to Hunter's defense, stating, "The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) condemns the actions of Grand Island Public School in Nebraska to require that a 3-year-old deaf boy change the way he signs his name. The NAD is prepared to assist the family in responding to Grand Island Public Schools including through legal action." The NAD press release added, "The NAD is not aware of any other schools that have banned a name sign; Grand Island Public Schools is likely the first to ever to do so." The ACLU has also made clear its disapproval, raising questions about whether the school district's decision violates Hunter's right to practice his chosen form of speech.

Following the public outcry and threats of legal action, the school system appears to be backing away from its original position. In response to a media request, the school district stated, "Grand Island Public Schools is not requiring any current student with a hearing impairment to change his or her sign language name."

Hopefully this issue will be resolved so that Hunter can keep signing his name and the taxpayers of Grand Island are spared the expense of defending a mindless overreaction.

Think about it. Obama's first executive decision was choosing Biden to be his running mate.

'I'm Joe Bidenopoulos': Gaffe-prone Vice President introduces himself to Greek men during campaign stop



While on a campaign stop in Warren, Ohio on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden found a new way to appeal to the Greek Americans in attendance.

'I'm Joe Bidenopoulos,' he said as he approached a table of men 'he knew to be Greek', according to the pool reporter.

With the men no doubt dumfounded, President Barack Obama's second-in-command, who is of Irish descent, went on: 'Ask George who's the most Greek Irishman he's ever known.'

What did I say? Vice President Joe Biden introduced himself as Joe Bidenopoulos to a group of Greek men during a campaign stop in Warren, Ohio on Friday

What did I say? Vice President Joe Biden introduced himself as Joe Bidenopoulos to a group of Greek men during a campaign stop in Warren, Ohio on Friday

The pool reporter added she was not sure 'who George was, maybe someone at the table', but said it 'sounded like Biden was suggesting he is'.

Biden is not of Greek ancestry; when he decided to run with Obama in 2008, he hired a genealogist to look into his heritage and found his Irish ancestors moved to America in the early 18th century.

Biden then reportedly continued his way through the restaurant in a somewhat eyebrow-raising manner as he greeted customers and chatted about his love of rice pudding.

'Can I get some rice pudding to go?' Biden asked restaurant staff.

He posed for photographs, kissed one woman on the top of the head, met supporters - and had a chuckle when one introduced himself as Paul Newman.

His Greek introduction is just the latest in a string of questionable comments. During a campaign stop earlier this month, the vice president declared that Mitt Romney wanted to 'put ya'll back in chains'.

Having a laugh: Biden, with Obama in July, is known for his often outlandish remarks on the campaign trail

Having a laugh: Biden, with Obama in July, is known for his often outlandish remarks on the campaign trail

Hours after the comments hit the airwaves, Republicans came out in force to suggest that they highlighted it might be time for the president to put the 69-year-old Biden out to pasture.

Among them was former Alaska Gov Sarah Palin, who went so far as to propose that Biden should be replaced with Hillary Clinton if Obama wants to be re-elected.

Despite his troublesome introduction with the Greek men, lawmakers embracing other cultures is nothing new.

During his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, former Senator Rick Santorum told voters in Puerto Rico that Pennsylvanians called him Senadore Puertoriqueno due to his unwavering support for the island.

Despite this attempt to connect with voters in March, Mitt Romney won the Puerto Rico primary there.


August 2012: During a campaign rally in Danville, Virgina, Biden attempted to talk about the House GOP budget and suggested their plans are 'going to put y’all back in chains', in a poorly-judged comment branded racist by some commentators and Republicans.

January 2012: During a speech at a manufacturing plant in New Hampshire the vice president spoke about outsourcing to India and put on a bad Indian accent while asking 'How many times do you get the call, 'I like to talk to you about your credit card.'

December 2010: During the swearing in of a Republican Senator Mark Kirk in Congress, Biden told the Capitol Hill newcomer to put that hand on the Bible and raise his left. According to the congressional rulebook, it should have been the other way round.

March 2010: He dropped the F-bomb during the signing of the administration’s historic health reforms, apparently unaware that the microphones would catch him out when he whispered into the President’s ear immediately before the announcement, declaring: 'This is a big f****** deal!'

March 2010: Mr Biden said 'God rest her soul' in reference to the mother of Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen. Mr Cowen's mother is alive; his father had died. Realising his misstep, he corrected with: 'God bless her soul'.

October 2008: Speaking in Athens, Ohio about John McCain's economic strategy, he said: 'Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.'

September 2008: During a political rally in Missouri, he urged wheelchair-bound state senator Chuck Graham to rise and be recognised, saying: 'Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya.' Realizing his mistake, he said: ‘Oh, God love you… what am I talking about?’

September 2008: After he was named the vice presidential nominee, he addressed a crowd in Nashua, New Hampshire, questioning how he beat out Hillary Clinton: 'Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America,' he said in New Hampshire. 'Quite frankly it might have been a better pick than me.'

August 2008: He also mixed up Barack Obama’s name at his first campaign rally with the president, introducing him as: 'A man I'm proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next President of the United States - Barack America!'

Obama and the military

Obama speech to soldiers met with silence

President Barack Obama was greeted with fleeting applause and extended periods of silence as he offered profuse praise to soldiers and their families during an Aug. 31 speech in Fort Bliss, Texas.

His praise for the soldiers — and for his own national-security policies — won cheers from only a small proportion of the soldiers and families in the cavernous aircraft-hanger.

The audience remains quiet even when the commander-in-chief thanked the soldiers’ families, and cited the 198 deaths of their comrades in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The audience’s reaction was so flat that the president tried twice to elicit a reaction from the crowd.

“Hey, I hear you,” he said amid silence.

The selected soldiers who were arrayed behind the president sat quietly throughout the speech.

CNN and MSNBC ended their coverage of the speech before it was half-over.

The president’s speech to the soldiers is part of his constitutional duties as commander-in-chief.

But Obama and his wife are also trying to reach out to military families in several critical swing-states, including Virginia and Florida. (RELATED: Obama warm to scientists, cold to soldiers)

That outreach, however, has been damaged by repeated flubs from the White House, including its public emphasis on soldiers’ wounds rather than on their accomplishments, and Obama’s effort to distance himself from the anti-jihad campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For example, Obama gave Vice President Joe Biden the task of developing a post-war agreement with Iraq’s government in 2009. The effort failed, reducing U.S. gains from the campaign that killed almost 4,500 troops, and as well as thousands of jihadis and Sunni insurgents seeking to regain power. The subsequent withdrawal of nearly all U..S. troops has allowed Iran to increase its influence in Iraq. In turn, that influence helps it support Syria’s dictatorship against Sunni insurgents.

White House officials are trying to avoid additional flubs. On Friday, for example, White House officials rushed to debunk a report that the president had used an autopen to sign condolence letters to soldiers’ families.

Throughout Friday’s speech, the loudest reactions came when the president name-checked the nicknames of the soldiers’ brigades. Major military units have their own rival cheers, and those could be heard from portions of the audience when he referred to individual units.

The troops’ silence continued through several obvious applause-lines.

There was isolated cheers when Obama said his withdrawal policy would ensure “fewer deployments … more time to prepare for the future, and it means more time on the home front, with your families, your home and kids.”

The silence deepened when the president lauded his strategy of withdrawal from the war. “Make no mistake, ending the wars responsibly makes us safer and our military even stronger, and ending these wars is letting us do something else; restoring American leadership,” he said amid complete silence.

When he said demobilized soldiers would find jobs because “all of you have the skills America needs,” he got little reaction.

There was no reaction when he promised stepped-up recruitment of soldiers for police jobs.

He won some applause when he announced his support for soldiers injured in combat.

The most enthusiastic applause came when he lauded the soldiers’ military mission, and promised continued support for that professional task.

An anecdote about his meeting with a wounded soldier was met with a tepid response, until he described the soldier’s determination to recover and return to his unit. “He’s where every soldier wants to be – back with his unit,” Obama said, generating applause.

Similarly, his declaration that “around the world there’s a new attitude toward America, a new confidence in our leadership” yielded only silence, while his next sentence — “When people are asked ‘Which country do you admire most?’ one nation always comes out on top, the United States of America” — prompted relative enthusiasm.

The White House’s video-feed cut off 10 seconds after the president finished his speech, before the audience’s reaction overall could be gauged by viewers.

Posted by Steven Chavez


Ft. Bliss is in El Paso, Texas across the Rio Grande River from Juarez, Mexico, the murder capital of the world where decapitated bodies hang from bridges, heads in sacks are thrown at police stations, and shoot-outs in the streets. (I'm in Albuquerque, 250 from El Paso and was a frequent visitor to Juarez where I have many friends.) The soldiers, in the old days, like three years ago, went to Juarez to party like they have done since WW II. Now they are ordered not to go since being captured, or KILLED, by a drug lord would result in a MAJOR INCIDENT. This is all tied to FAST AND FURIOUS and weapons killing tens of thousands of innocents.

OBAMA WENT TO EL PASO last year and spoke to those who wanted open borders, or his ILLEGAL AMIGOS which came to cheer him on including calling Republican "racists."

QUOTE FROM OBAMA: "They (Republicans) said we need to triple the border patrol. Or now they’ll say we need to quadruple the border patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they want ALLIGATORS in the moat!" That means that those of us that want a secure border want Mexican's to be EATEN ALIVE while swimming across the Rio Grande. They cheered but if they think about it, they would realize that OBAMA'S/HOLDER'S FAST AND FURIOUS IS ACTUALLY KILLING MEXICANS and they should really be angry at Obama instead of cheering him.

FT. BLISS SOLDIERS are probably trained to stop an influx of ANYONE INVADING OUR COUNTRY! THAT'S THEIR JOB and the person who WOULD NOT GIVE THE ORDER to stop that INVASION of our homeland, that he took an oath to protect against "enemies foreign and domestic," IS STANDING A FEW FEET AWAY!

Hypocrites in the media.

What's Whiter Than the GOP? The Media

Ah, to be a member of Big Media when the white Republicans gather to nominate their white ticket for the White House. It's like shooting white elephants in a white convention center, what with their unbearable whiteness of being -- so "non-diverse," as Big Media strenuously signal their audiences.

Gallup tells us Republicans are 87 percent white and Democrats are 63 percent white. But even when Republicans are not white -- which occurs despite Big Media efforts to fool viewers (conservative websites observed that NBC failed to post speeches by non-white Republicans at its website, while MSNBC cut to its pundits on such non-white occasions) -- they might as well be white. That's because "white" is the media's slam on the GOP, their hectoring, subtle-as-a-sledgehammer message: Republicans are too "white" to deserve any decent person's vote. Perhaps veteran ABC and PBS political editor turned Yahoo! News Washington bureau chief David Chalian blurted out the storyline best: "(The Romneys) are happy to have a party with black people drowning."

This, it turned out, was a race-bait too far. Chalian lost his job after his comment went viral. But who will take his place? Someone just like him. Probably someone who looks like him, too -- and those dread, white Republicans.

That's the dirty secret. Big Media are castigating the party of Lincoln and Reagan for displaying, as the Los Angeles Times put it, "a distinctly pale hue" while "the United States has become an increasingly more diverse country," but the newsrooms of America are just as pale if not actually more so. According to 2012 figures from the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), minorities make up 12.32 percent of newsroom employees. That leaves 87.68 percent of the writing and editing jobs in white hands. That means newsrooms are lily-whiter than the GOP!

Some news organizations take this to the limit. While Time magazine dings the GOP for being "a mostly white, aging party (doing) its best to avoid looking like it," the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) gave Time its 2012 Thumbs Down Award for, among other grievances, not having a single full-time black correspondent.

The media also hold a slim white edge over the GOP in the racial composition of television newsroom managers. According to a 2011 NABJ study, white people -- mainly white men -- hold 88 percent of these decision-making jobs, leaving 12 percent to minorities. As for news anchors and presidential debate moderators? To build on a title of a piece about the GOP convention, welcome to the "Heart of Whiteness."

Stunningly, these same Caucasian newsies are blind to their own skins. How else, for instance, could "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams in July have asked Mitt Romney "to confirm or deny" whether he was looking for a running mate who is "an incredibly boring white guy"?

"You told me you were not available," quipped Romney.

But Williams and the rest of his mainly white media brethren (also sistren) seem to regard their core liberalism as their camouflage. It is the shield and spear they carry in the Left's push to demonize people of one color (white) and a particular sex (male) in order to delegitimize a glorious political philosophy -- small-government, low-tax, anti-statist conservatism. This philosophy is what draws together Republicans and their delegates, not their "whiteness."

What the Left and its media acolytes are trying to do is poison the wider appeal of the Republican message by depicting it as race-based and retrograde. This is a dirty operation. It is also the height of hypocrisy, given that it is being led by a bunch of truly "angry white men" against what is purported to be another.

GOP membership is 53 percent male and 47 percent female. (The Democrats are 45 percent male and 55 percent female.) But take the perfectly liberal New York Times. While it perseverates on the GOP becoming "a smaller, older, whiter and more male party" from the confines of its mainly white and male newsroom, it publishes 80 percent male-written op-eds, according to a recent byline survey cited in the Columbia Journalism Review. Meanwhile, the newspaper's own "party" of readers, according to the Pew Research Center in 2010, is 59 percent men and 41 percent women. Call in the "gender gap" police!

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert -- a major "news" source for young adults -- sarcastically razzes Mitt Romney for his "bold" choice of a running mate who is "white, Christian and male." But with an audience that is largely white, likely majority-Christian and, says Pew, 65 percent male, how does Colbert rate as "bolder"?

The answer is that "The Colbert Report," like the rest of what passes for news media, is much, much further to the left. They are so far to the left they can't imagine anyone can see their acid hypocrisy and ideological warfare play out in living color.

Do you think Eric Holder will sue to enforce Federal law?

Immigration bill divides California sheriffs

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — California sheriffs are divided over a bill aimed at protecting certain illegal immigrants from deportation, with some saying that if Gov. Jerry Brown signs the measure they'll be forced to choose between enforcing it or abiding by a conflicting federal mandate.

The Trust Act recently passed by the Legislature would limit the state's participation in the federal Secure Communities program, which checks the immigration status of people who are arrested. The program is touted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a vital crime-fighting tool but reviled by immigrant advocates who say it erodes immigrants' trust in police.

The legislation would prohibit local law enforcement officials from detaining arrestees while ICE checks their immigration status unless the person is convicted of or charged with a serious or violent felony. Supporters tout it as a counter to harsh state immigration laws like the one in Arizona that encouraged local law enforcement to act as immigration enforcement agents.

Brown, who supported Secure Communities when he was state attorney general, hasn't said if he will sign the legislation.

The prospect of having to choose between following state or federal law is troubling for some law enforcement officials. The California State Sheriffs' Association opposes the legislation, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is among those struggling with the issue.

"It does set up a conflict," Baca spokesman Steve Whitmore said. "He's pretty much resolved the fact that the federal law ... does take precedent."

Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas declined to say what he would do because he wanted to avoid pressuring Brown.

"I am going to break either the federal law, or the Trust Act," Freitas said. "I am not going to say which one I am going to break until the governor decides what he is going to do."

Several Northern California law enforcement officials, including Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, voiced support for the legislation, saying it would reduce the costs shouldered by local departments asked to help carry out immigration enforcement.

Under Secure Communities, arrestees' fingerprints are checked against immigration databases and criminal records. Federal authorities may ask police to hold an arrestee for possible deportation if he or she is suspected of being in the country illegally.

Over the last four years, the program has been expanded across the country and is now in place in more than 3,000 jurisdictions. Since 2009, nearly 80,000 people flagged through the program in California have been deported.

ICE officials said in a statement that immigration "detainers" are placed on arrestees "to ensure that dangerous criminal aliens and other priority individuals are not released from prisons/jails and into our communities." State and local law enforcement cooperation is a critical component of the program.

Critics say Secure Communities is too sweeping, allowing people picked up for minor infractions to face possible deportation. Some cities and counties have scaled back or stopped honoring ICE detainers.

Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said communities can do so because detainers essentially are requests from federal authorities to keep arrestees in custody, not requirements to do so.

"It would be unconstitutional otherwise," Saenz said. He anticipated that if Brown signs the bill, any sheriff who fails to comply will be sued.

"The federal government knows as much as they might want everybody to grant their requests, they cannot mandate it," he said.

Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill.

The French

Hollande’s love life in the spotlight

DOJ enforcing the tyranny of the minority. Close the libraries because it offends the illiterate

DOJ Targeted Public Library for Lending E-Books 'Inaccessible' to the Blind

The American left wants us to be just like them

Unemployment across the 17-nation eurozone hit a record 18 million in July, the EU statistics agency says.

Eurozone unemployment at new high

Some 88,000 more people were added to the jobless total, but upwardly-revised data for June meant the unemployment rate remained at 11.3%.

Eurostat said the 18,002,000 jobless total was the highest since records began in 1995.

The highest unemployment rate in the eurozone was in Spain, at 25.1%. The lowest was in Austria, at 4.5%.

Compared with a year ago, the unemployment rate fell in 10 eurozone countries, increased in 16 and remained stable in Slovenia.

The largest falls were observed in Estonia (13.2% to 10.1%), Lithuania (15.2% to 13.0%) and Latvia (17.0% to 15.9%)

Meanwhile, the highest increases were registered in Greece (16.8% to 23.1%), Spain (21.7% to 25.1%) and Cyprus (7.7% to 10.9%).

Spain and Greece, which are struggling to tackle sovereign debt and banking crises, recorded jobless rates of more than 50% in the under-25s age-group.

What sad incoherent group. Talk to anarchists? Huh?

Occupy RNC ends in tears, frustration

You would think that comparing SS numbers would make this impossible?

Feds fail to catch 117,000 collecting both disability, unemployment

As many as 117,000 Americans simultaneously collect unemployment benefits and federal disability each year, a form of double-dipping that investigators say costs taxpayers $850 million annually and should be ended.

The reason for the double-spending, investigators at the Government Accountability Office reported [2]this week, is good old-fashioned lack of communication.

Put simply, the Labor Department that funds unemployment benefits and the Social Security Administration that funds disability payments don't compare notes, leavings tens of thousands of Americans each month to collect two checks from a stretched-thin government treasury.

"The government is replacing a portion of their lost earnings not once, but twice. Reducing or eliminating this overlap and potential improper payments could offer substantial savings," GAO warned.

Those who take advantage can make out quite well. One double-dipper identified by the GAO, for instance, wracked up a handsome $62,000 in 2010 by tapping both programs simultaneously, even though it appears the person also held a job, investigators found. Another received $107,000 in overlapping payments between 2008 and 2011, despite working for construction companies, auditors found.

For their lack of oversight, coordination and communication, the Social Security Administration and Labor Department earn this week's Golden Hammer, a distinction awarded each week by the Washington Guardian to an egregious example of waste, fraud or abuse that hurts taxpayers.

The two agencies told the GAO they agree with the findings and are already talking to each other about how to tighten up their financial ships.

While some instances of double-dipping are allowed by current law, GAO recommends all forms of it should be ended to save money for a government chronically adding $1 trillion or more a year to its national debt. And the urgency for change is growing since both programs are running out of money.

"Both trust funds face serious fiscal sustainability challenges, prompting the need to examine opportunities for potential cost savings," the GAO said.

The report comes as federal benefit programs are looking for ways to cut their payments to avoid depleting their funds, especially as the spending cuts from last year's debt deal take increasing effect.

Disability Insurance in particular is expected to be exhausted by 2016, the report said. And funds for Unemployment Insurance "were at historically weak levels," the GAO said.

The overlap in the two programs accounts for less than one percent of the more than $270 billion given out in benefits. Overall, $281 million in double payments was handed out from disability insurance, while $575 million was from the unemployment insurance.

You can read the GAO's report here [2].

Don't they know you can't heckle a leftist

Shoving Match Between Chris Matthews' Hecklers, MSNBC Producer Investigated at RNC (Video)

7:08 AM PDT 8/31/2012 by Paul Bond

Questionable spending

House panel probing stimulus cash for MSNBC ads

  • A House panel is calling on the U.S. Department of Labor to turn over all records involving a half-million dollar contract funded through President Obama’s $831 billion stimulus program that paid for more than 100 commercials on MSNBC touting a “green jobs” initiative.

    The contract with McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations LLC in 2009 resulted in more than 100 commercials on cable shows hosted by Rachel Maddow and Keith Olberman to raise awareness about the Job Corps program’s training in environmentally-friendly career areas.

    But spending reports showed that no jobs were created through the contract. The Washington Times first reported on the contract earlier this month, quoting one taxpayer watchdog who questioned not only the lack of jobs but why the commercials aired only on MSNBC, considered the most liberal of the major cable news outlets.

    Read more: House panel probing stimulus cash for MSNBC ads - Washington Times

    Soft tyranny

    ARGENTINE TAX AGENTS TO TRACK ALL CREDIT CARD BUYBUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Argentina just made it more expensive for its people to use credit cards outside the country, and more dangerous for cardholders who aren't paying all the taxes they should.

    One measure published in Friday's official bulletin adds a 15 percent tax every time people make a purchase outside the country using a card issued by an Argentine bank. Another requires the banks to report every credit card purchase - home or abroad - to the tax agency.

    The moves target Argentines who have discovered that by using credit cards outside the country, they can get around increasingly tight currency controls and shelter their money from soaring inflation. Purchases outside Argentina using peso-denominated cards soared 48 percent in June compared to the year before, obligating the central bank to send $289 million out of the country in just one month. Overall capital flight soared to $23 billion in 2011.

    AFIP chief Ricardo Etchegaray, the government's top tax collector, presented the moves as populist measures that would only affect the wealthiest Argentines, and mainly when they travel outside the country - a reduced group of 168,000 taxpayers who charged $1.5 billion in the last 18 months.

    But a closer look shows the measures go much farther, giving the government powerful new tools to combat widespread tax evasion.

    Tax and customs agents now will be able to compare what Argentines declare to the customs and tax agencies with what their credit card bills say. If the purchases show people are living large while claiming to be paupers, they could get in big trouble.

    "From October onward, (card-issuers) must report in detail all purchases made by cardholders and their co-signers, starting in September, both within and outside the country," said AFIP chief Ricardo Etchegaray, the government's top tax-collector. "With this move, AFIP seeks to assure that taxes are paid by those contributors who are able to pay more."

    Argentines don't have to declare their income unless they are salaried and make more than $20,000 a year or self-employed and make more than $30,000, so many register with the tax authorities as if they make less than the limit, dealing in cash and trying to keep their income and purchases off the books.

    But Argentina also taxes people's accumulated wealth, giving the government license to scrutinize people's private property to an extent that foreigners are ill-accustomed to. People whose incomes don't match their lifestyles can find themselves closed out of the financial system until they come clean.

    Since November 2011, Argentina's government has sought to stem capital flight by closing down nearly every avenue people have to legally trade their inflationary pesos for U.S. dollars. The black-market peso price has spiked as a result, trading now at 6.37 pesos to the dollar, compared to the official rate of 4.65. That 37 percent gap represents what people with undeclared pesos have to lose while convert their cash to dollars inside Argentina.

    Credit cards, meanwhile, are paid at the official rate, and many cardholders have figured out ways to use them to avoid this loss. The 15 percent tax raises the effective cost of purchases to 5.35, reducing the gap by nearly half.

    The tax will be paid as part of each month's credit card bills, with the government promising to reimburse the totals each May to taxpayers whose sworn declarations show they paid more than they owed in taxes the previous year.

    But inflation will have robbed much of the reimbursement's real value by then, and for people who don't make enough income to need monthly withholdings through the year, it directly hits their pocketbooks.

    When the government thinks everything is theirs.


    Dems Giving Away Tickets to Obama's Speech

    You need to be at Manuel's Tavern by noon Friday.

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Live by the one liner die by the one liner. President Snark strikes again

    Pres. Obama Says ‘Maybe the steam engine is more Romney’s speed’ While His Own Administration Funds Steam Engine Development Thru Cyclone Power Technologies

    cyclone_engine image courtesy of Cyclone Power Technologies

    The Obama administration, through the EPA and the DOT, on Tuesday released new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that mandate a national fleet average of 54.5 MPG by the year 2025. That figure was the result of negotiations with automakers, state officials and environmental activists. Despite the industry’s apparent support, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign called them “extreme”. President Obama responded by implying that Romney was some kind of 19th century Luddite, suggesting that the former Massachusetts prefers steam engines.

    “My opponent called my position on fuel efficiency standards extreme. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem extreme to me to want to have more fuel efficient cars. Maybe the steam engine is more his speed.”

    The problem with that remark is that steam engines may indeed play an important role in America’s energy efficiency. Even curiouser, Mr. Obama’s own administration is funding steam engine research. For the past few years, Cyclone Power Technologies of Pompano Beach, Florida has been developing what they call “a Rankine Cycle heat regenerative external combustion” otherwise known as a steam engine, that can run on just about any liquid or solid fuel, or even waste heat from industrial processes or internal combustion engines. As a matter of fact, Mr. Obama’s own Department of Defense has been funding Cyclone’s development of a steam engine to power a 10KW generator for military vehicles. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also looking into using the Cyclone engine as a power source for battlefield robots that could live off the land and refuel themselves by foraging for biomass to burn. Cyclone says that their engine can run on “virtually any fuel (or combination of fuels) including today’s promising new bio fuels, while emitting far fewer pollutants than traditional gas or diesel powered internal combustion engines.”

    To be honest, though Cyclone has been pitching their engine to possibly replace the internal combustion engine as a motive force for automobiles, it seems that another application of Cyclone’s engine will likely find a market first. A Rankine cycle engine uses external sources of heat for power, which means that as long there are enough BTU available, you can use just about any heat source. That means “waste heat” can be used to run the engine. What is waste heat? Well, to give you an example, a typical gasoline engine might have a thermal efficiency of 25%. That means that 75% of the energy is wasted as heat, mostly in the form of hot exhaust gases. No process is 100% efficient so that kind of waste heat is generated in a wide variety of industrial processes. Nowadays industrial “smokestacks” aren’t really emitting much smoke, i.e. particulates and harmful gases. Environmental laws ensure that exhaust has been scrubbed fairly clean. Most of those plumes of “smoke” are really just steam, which condenses as it hits the cooler atmospheric air. That steam contains waste heat. Cyclone Power claims that their Waste Heat Engine (WHE) can run on heat as low as 500 degrees F. That means that it can recover energy, spin a dynamo and generate electricity from a variety of sources, like industrial ovens and furnaces, landfill, refinery and other industrial waste gas flares, biomass combustion, and even the exhaust of internal combustion engines, both stationary and those used to power vehicles. BMW has already more or less proven that automotive concept with their “Turbo Steamer“, a test bed that uses a Rankine engine running off exhaust and coolant heat to assist the combustion engine, claiming 10-15% improvements in fuel efficiency and power. Even if Cyclone’s steam engine proves to be impractical as an automotive power plant, wide scale use of waste heat engines could significantly improve the energy efficiency of American industry.

    After Pres. Obama reacted to the Romney campaign’s criticism by dissing Romney and steam engines, I asked Cyclone Power Technologies for their reaction. Cyclone is in an interesting position. They’d love to leverage Obama’s comments into more publicity for their company and engine and they certainly want to rebut the notion that steam engines are archaic, but since they indeed have government contracts, I’m sure they’re not eager to be seen as criticizing the president. Getting in the middle of a political campaign is not always a great idea for a business.

    Chris Nelson, Cyclone’s president sent TTAC this response:

    “We are a small U.S. business, employing talented American workers who are developing a 21st Century steam engine that is powerful, clean, fully fuel-flexible and efficient enough to beat these new CAFE standards. We are working with the U.S. military to make their power supplies more efficient, and developing other ways to turn waste into energy using our steam technology. Furthermore, we are currently building the car and engine that will attempt to break the land speed record for steam powered vehicles. We hope that President Obama and Governor Romney recognize the incredible possibilities that Cyclone’s modern steam technology present to advance our independence from foreign oil and protect our environment, while supporting American jobs.”


    New York Times Puts 'Son of Satan' Ryan on Front Page

    3:50 PM, AUG 30, 2012 • BY MICHAEL WARREN

    Here's the front page for the New York Times's national edition, the day after Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention:

    Peter Roskam, the Illinois Republican congressman and deputy majority whip, said the front page makes Ryan look like the "son of Satan."

    "It's the biggest day of his life, and this how the New York Times depicts it?" Roskam told THE WEEKLY STANDARD here in Tampa.

    The Democrats have been working at demonizing opponents for years. They have made political opposition an evil. Does this remind you of every far left government from the last century? It's how Stalin would do it, the Third Reich had it down pat. These people have no interest in unifying the country, only their own power matters.