Monthly Archives: May 2012

Up In Smoke

From the Sacramento Bee online:

With California voters poised to vote next week on a tobacco tax hike, a new federal study concludes that the state has used relatively little of the billions of dollars in tobacco money it already takes in to prevent kids from smoking or to help smokers quit.

Between 1998 and 2010, just 6 percent of the money collected from a massive lawsuit settlement and from cigarette taxes went to tobacco interdiction and education programs, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week, far below federal spending guidelines for effectively curbing tobacco use.

And before anyone dismisses this as small potatoes, let’s look at the actual money that was squandered, shall we?

From 1998 through 2010, California collected nearly $22 billion from a lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies and from cigarette taxes, according to the federal report.

It appropriated $1.3 billion, including state funding and federal grants, for tobacco prevention and cessation programs during that period.

In 2010, California spent about $79 million on anti-tobacco efforts, about 18 percent of what federal guidelines recommend spending to have a significant impact on public behavior.

California’s experience reflects a national trend that shows states and local governments have used tobacco-related revenues for just about everything but curbing tobacco use.

You mean that most of the shakedown money that Big Tobacco has been paying for years, plus most of the tax revenue from the sales of tobacco, doesn’t actually go to programs to reduce tobacco use? Who’Da thunk that?

Now, contrary to some folks, I do not think that this is just an indictment of  government greed or inefficiency, although those are both undoubtedly true. No, I think this has more to do with the fact that the State of California is not in the best financial shape. The angle that I see missing in all of these reports is the same issue that we first looked at in ‘Soda is NOT the Enemy‘.

The issue is addiction: addiction to spending.

Think about it: an addict, a TRUE addict, will do or say ANYthing to get their next fix, their next drink, their next bet. When things are in control, there’s no problem. But when times are tough, they will make any promise, any claim, for more. What then is the difference between that addiction and this one?

With ‘Soda is NOT the Enemy‘, the addicted parties were the schools and their over-bloated budgets. This time it’s California’s State government, and they’re in the same bind: they actively campaign against the product which is funding a tremendous amount of their very own bottom line.  It’s almost the textbook definition of ‘Conflict of Interest’. It also shows that they’re addicted to the money just like a junkie is to heroin.

The ultimate lesson that I can see is that giving them more money (“…just this time, we promise. Swearsies!won’t make it all better, no matter how desperately the addict pleads for it. They can’t be trusted.

The addict needs what ALL addicts need.

So how, exactly, does one enroll an entire government in Spenders Anonymous?

All is Well??

Remember this, from Animal House?

Well, you’re gonna hear the Liberal/Democrat version of that for the next 5 months.

Gird your loins:

NEW YORK (Associated Press) — Here we go again.

Americans’ confidence in the economy suffered the biggest drop in eight months as worries about the weak jobs, housing and stock markets rattled them again. The decline comes after a few months of optimism amid some positive economic news.

The Conference Board, a private research group, said on Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 64.9, down from a revised 68.7 in April. With gas prices falling, Americans were expected to push the measure to 70, according to analysts polled by FactSet.

But the May figure, which represents the biggest drop since October 2011 when the measure fell about 6 points, shows that consumers need more encouraging economic signs before their concerns start to dissipate.

Sort of like a kid learning to eat their peas, the American consumer just needs the right ‘encouragement’ and then their irrational economic fears will be all better.

Nice spin, AP!

Compare that headline with this headline from the NY Times:

“Consumer Sentiment Rises to Highest Level in Four Years”

Doing the Associated Press one better, the Times ignores the report AP used and quotes from a different report which totally contradicts the AP’s, and says that Consumer Sentiment (sentiment…?) “rose to its highest level in more than four years in May as Americans stayed positive about the job market”.

Curiously, when you review the same report that the Times uses for its headline you find THIS fact, which actually appears prior to their data point:

“Confidence in the government’s economic policies remained relatively low, with 41% holding negative views.”

———————

But remember: “All is Well“.

Mary Had a Little Lamb?

Saw this over at STIX BLOG BACKUP and it made me laugh.

And I’ve had enough politics for today:

Sour Grapes up in Wisconsin

If you’ve lost track of the recall election for Governor in Wisconsin between Gov. Scott Walker and his Democrat challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, it’s not your fault. Things don’t look good for the recall backers up in cheese-land right now, so suddenly it’s “nothing to see here” time for the media. When you can locate a story about it now, they contain a very different tone than they used to have.

Maybe the best indication of things not going well for the Dems is this blurb from the LA Times, a paper which is certainly no big fan of Scott Walker:

Recent polls have pointed toward a victory for Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin’s June 5 recall election. But here’s the clearest evidence to date that national Democratic party officials believe their side is losing: Democratic officials are playing down the potential impact.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) insisted in a television interview that a loss for the Democratic candidate in the recall, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, wouldn’t have any implications for other races, such as the presidential election.

Are you sure about that, Debbie? Even when the president is having increasing trouble raising funds, and the unions are spending cash in a race that would have no “national implications”? From the startribune.com:

“…….the National Democratic Governors Association is raising large sums. So is We Are Wisconsin, which, despite its name, raises most of its money outside the state, McCabe said. The organization spent $10.7 million on last summer’s senate recall races, with $10.1 million coming from three national unions — the AFL-CIO, AFSCME and the Service Employees International Union.”

And, although I hate to link to the Huffington Post, for the sake of accuracy:

“”Walker has become a national hero to many Republicans and conservatives and is a hot ticket on the fundraising and speaking circuit. But he is the top target for unions and Democrats as he became the face of the anti-union movement this year with his proposal that took away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most public workers.”

Top target?

The face of the anti-union movement?

Over $10 million coming from three NATIONAL unions?

Don’t let anyone kid you: this was ground zero for the Left’s power grab in 2011-2012. Unions and Occupodos joined forces to take down Walker. It was unbelievably important for months and months, and months……until it  recently began to look likely that they’d lose.

And now they are just giving an indifferent shrug and trying to convince everyone that it was never that big a deal in the first place, before this election is even in the books.

Ya know, that reminds me of an old fable concerning a fox and some grapes, but I’m sure I don’t know why…..

With their Fingers in their Ears

Did ya ever have a discussion with someone who ignored your side completely? Where you were each explaining why you felt a certain way and the other person, for whatever reason, seemed to not even acknowledge what you said and never answered your concerns? Basically, they listened sorta like this:

Well, I’ve got a real world example of this that didn’t get much, if any, press.

And it needs to.

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Recently, Kathleen Sebelius was invited to speak at the Georgetown’s School for Public Policy. Seeing as Georgetown is ostensibly a Catholic university, and when you take into account Sebelius’ role in implementing Obamacare as HHS Secretary, you may be able to understand why some folks were a bit miffed at her appearance.

However, the super-smart cognoscenti on the Left immediately castigated us: “you over-religious types are getting worked up into a lather for nothing, dontcha know”!

Consider this opinion from Chris Matthews, from MSNBC:

“….And now a word about Secretary Sebelius. It could be argued  that this one person has done more to reduce the number of unwanted  pregnancies than anyone in our country. She’s behind the policy of  requiring insurance companies to cover birth control. Making birth  control free, which is what she has done, will do more to reduce  unwanted pregnancies than anything I can imagine.

—–

Rather than protesting what she’s doing, pro-lifers and pro-choicers might think about giving her a  little credit, or at least let her speak.”

Ummm, ..what? Hey, Chris, did you just say, “Making birth  control free, which is what she has done, will do more to reduce  unwanted pregnancies than anything I can imagine“? Really, Chris? So, all we need to do is to give stuff away “free” from the government (or under a government mandate) and all will be better? Really? Why am I having a hard time buying that? Has it worked for food stamps, Chris? Housing? Or anything else that we give away for “free”?

Moreover, access to contraception is not an issue in this country. That’s like saying we need to have government intervention to increase public access to chocolate. Far from the way it used to be years ago, many forms of contraception have no age restriction and they’re available in more stores than I can count. Condoms are handed out, for free, in public schools and you can get almost any form of contraception at every secular women’s health center in the country.

Chris, the reason the folks didn’t want Sec. Sebelius to speak at a Catholic college was that she, along with President Perfect, is forcing Catholics to go against the teachings of their faith, to basically endorse a sin. It is a religious freedom issue, not a contraception issue, you twit!

The guidelines issued by the HRSA mandating coverage for contraceptives includes the following: “All Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.” By definition, this will include abortifacient drugs. Most forms of contraception are not in line with Catholic teaching. That same teaching dictates such items (especially the abortifacient drugs) run counter to our faith, and it is not within the purview of the US Government to say otherwise. Catholics can agree or disagree with the Church’s teaching, but that is a religious matter, not a governmental one.

And yet, the liberal pundits and Obamacare apologists will continue to frame it as ONLY a contraception issue, while refusing to even entertain the real reason that has animated millions of people across the country: that it’s about Religious Freedom.  Truly, it’s as if they have signs & cue cards for whenever they’re confronted with an argument that runs counter to their liberal orthodoxy:

Welfare Reform…a tiny first step

This is a follow up to my post awhile back in which I lamented that welfare reform is difficult because it will negatively affect a class of people who have no say in the matter and who are not at fault:  namely, the children.

Once again, a mundane event spurs me to think about the Big Picture…my younger son and I were shopping at our local supermarket yesterday.  He’s been in the workforce some years now, buys much of his own food and is more aware than he used to be.  He was there to buy sweet corn for a pot luck that evening.  It was a good sale: 6 ears for $1.   I’m grateful that our grocery stores here have begun providing a place for shucking the corn  and disposing of the husks, right there in the produce aisle, so that one can take home ready-to-cook sweet corn.   Adam and I were husking his dozen ears when an older woman walked up.  She looked at the sign, looked at the corn, muttered something about, “Oh, you have to clean it yourself.  I’m not gonna do that.”  Then she picked up a shrink-wrapped package of already cleaned ears–which were two and a half times more expensive–and walked away.

Continue reading

Remembrance is a Sacred Act

As both of the “Heads” are off for the holiday, please enjoy this very touching article for Memorial Day.

From Lily Burana @ the NY Times:

I believe that the civilian-military gap isn’t always born of indifference, but rather, at times, a sense of helplessness on the civilian side. What can I do? If you do nothing else, you can remember those who have given their lives for their country. Our country. Remembrance, which may seem a modest contribution in the moment, is a sacred act with long-term payoff — a singularly human gift that keeps on giving, year after war-fatigued year. I don’t need to remind you that America’s sons and daughters are still dying in combat. I don’t want to browbeat you into feeling guilty for not doing more. Instead, I want to tell you that as the wife of a veteran, it is tremendously meaningful to know that on this Memorial Day, civilians will be bearing witness and remembering in their own way — that those who are gone are not forgotten. I also want to say that as you remember them, we remember you.

Read the whole thing.

America: Her Finest Hour is Yet to Come

***A positive & uplifting Memorial Day post from J.E. Dyer @ theoptimisticconservative.

Theoptimisticconservative's Blog

Did they die in vain?

As America remembers her honored dead this Memorial Day weekend – those who died in uniform defending our great cause of liberty – many hearts are troubled about what we have come to.  The idea of liberty on which our nation was founded seems to hang in tatters.  The genius of our forefathers in giving us a government that was to be limited, constitutional, and federal appears all but extinguished.  The indispensable ingredient of liberty, an independent people of good character, seems at times to be disappearing into a sorrowful sunset.

But I would like to suggest a few things about these discouraging fears.

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