Your tax dollars at work Reply


By Tom Quiner

Wendy Greuel: "I'm disappointed ..."

I’d like to introduce you to Wendy Greuel, the Los Angeles City Controller. She issued a press release on Thursday with this headline:

“City controller releases audits of how Los Angeles has used federal stimulus money.  $111 million in ARRA Funds has only created 55 jobs so far.”

ARRA  stands for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or to the layman, stimulus funds. Ms. Greuel is a Democrat. What is remarkable is her candor:

“DPW has received $70.65 million and created or retained 45.46 jobs, though they are expected to create 238 jobs overall (the fraction of a job created or retained correlates to the number of actual hours worked).  LADOT has been awarded $40.8 million and created or retained 9 jobs, though they are expected to create 26 jobs overall.  Overall, the Departments have received $111 million in federal stimulus funds out of the $594 million the City has been awarded so far and created or retained 54.46 jobs.”

Notice the precision of her numbers.  She has calculated the job creation (or lack thereof) down to the percentage of a job. Ms. Greuel should be commended for her politically-incorrect honesty:

“I’m disappointed that we’ve only created or retained 55 jobs after receiving $111 million in ARRA funds.  With our local unemployment rate over 12% we need to do a better job cutting the red tape and putting Angelenos back to work. While it doesn’t appear that any of the ARRA funds were misspent, the City needs to do a better job expediting the process and creating jobs.  We’re going to continue to audit how these funds are spent, to ensure that they are expended quickly and correctly.  I’m pleased that since our auditors completed their field work, the Departments have begun to implement the changes we identified to help get this money out the door faster.”

Nonetheless, Ms.Greuel doesn’t blame the concept of top-down stimulus dollars, only its implementation. From her perspective, the answer is to cut red tape and get the dollars out the door more quickly.

Here’s the bottom line: the Democrats took $111 million of our dollars and created 55 jobs.  That calculates out to $2 million per job.

Christine O'Donnell: "... a rowdy revolution of reason."

The goal was to create 264 jobs, which still calculates out to a ridiculous $420,454 per job.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The insanity of profligacy by our elected officials explains the “rowdy revolution of reason”, also known as the Tea Party Movement. By the way, I attribute the quote to Christine O’Donnell, the upstart primary winner in Delaware who the media and Republican establishment are so quick to dismiss.

I’m not so sure I’d be so quick to dismiss candidates with the Tea Party behind them in light of the inane waste of tax payer money in Los Angeles.

Assassination attempt on Pope Benedict XVI foiled 4


By Tom Quiner

Terrorist plot against Pope Benedict XVI?

Five men were arrested in London early this morning accused of plotting an attack on Pope Benedict XVI. This is a big, breaking story. Details will be unfolding today. What is interesting is how CNN and Fox News’ websites have treated the story.

CNN’s headline is:  “Arrests amid pope’s visit to London.”

We don’t know what the arrests are about. Are they simply rowdy protesters? The word ‘pope’ is printed in lowercase, a way of downplaying the significance of the title. Lowercase is used throughout the news report.

Fox News’ headline is:  “Five Men Arrested in UK Over Potential Threat to Pope.”

Their headline suggest violence was intended.

CNN’s report leads with a paragraph about the sex abuse scandal. The second paragraph acknowledges that five men were arrested on suspicion of terrorism. Immediately, the reader wants to know who the terrorists are?  The report doesn’t say. It immediately veers back to coverage of the sex abuse scandal.

Fox News leads with details about the arrests.  It gives the ages of the five men arrested.  It reports that the men were apparently of Arabic origin, a huge piece of news, omitted by CNN’s early coverage of this story.

The entire story in the Fox News report involved the terror threat, not the sex abuse scandal.

CNN seemed strangely disinterested in the threat on the Pope, but acutely interested in rehashing the abuse scandal.

Over at the DEBKAfile, an award-winning website recognized by Forbes Magazine as “best of the web,” their headline was stunning: “Al Qaeda threat to murder Pope foiled in London.”  This Jerusalem-based, English language website, gives even more information, that the men arrested were not British nationals, but in fact Algerians. As a side note, ‘Pope” was capitalized in their headline.

Al-Quaea plotted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1999.  As reported in the Times of London on November 11, 2002:

THE POPE has been told that the al-Qaeda terrorists who masterminded the September 11 attacks in the United States planned to assassinate him during his tour of the Philippines.

The attack never took place because the Pope [note the capitalization] called off the visit in 1999 through ill-health.

Islamic terrorists have an ongoing goal to kill the leader of the Christian world. Why does CNN downplay such a big story? In fairness, this is breaking news.  Perhaps they’re understaffed.  Perhaps their coverage will pick up as the day progresses.

Perhaps.

Watch how the various media outlets cover (or don’t cover) this story.

In the meantime, pray for the safety of Pope Benedict as he travels into hostile territory.

The world will be won by beauty Reply


By Tom Quiner

You’ve probably seen this video by now.  Ten year old Jackie Evancho is taking America by storm with the voice of an angel floating from the mouth of a child. What is refreshing about Ms. Evancho is that she looks like a kid.  She acts like a kid. But she sings with the pure voice of one beyond her years.

As in interesting contrast, watch the video below of Christina Aguilera at the tender age of eight. Ms. Aguilera’s persona isn’t childlike or innocent.

Let us hope Jackie Evancho’s parents can shield her from the pitfalls of American celebrity.

Sebelius vs. Gingrich 1


By Tom Quiner

Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sibelius, has issued two major threats to the healthcare industry.

Threat #1: “There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.”

Taking a cue from the Communist Party, Ms. Sibelius asked Americans to turn in their neighbor if they said something “fishy”  about the radical legislation her party was promoting.  She made this statement last August (’09) as Democrats were getting hammered in townhall meetings by constituents who had turned against the Democrats’ vision of socialized medicine.

Imagine if former President Bush had tried such a stunt.  The media would have crucified him.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that health insurance companies are being forced to raise premiums because of looming higher costs wrought by ObamaCare.  This led to her next threat.

Threat #2: Calling the increases unjustified, the HHS Secretary said, “There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases. We will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections.”

Ms. Sibelius’ holds a serious club over these private businesses.  She can run them out of business by barring them from the coming new state-run insurance exchanges. Obamacare will determine what is fair, not the CFOs of the companies.  Many Americans are okay with that until they lose their existing coverage.  Health insurance companies may be run out of business if they can’t increase rates to keep ahead of the higher costs imposed by Obamacare.

Former Speaker, Newt Gingrich commented a few weeks ago that “The new healthcare law is one of the largest pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress. It is now apparent that despite good intentions, this law will increase healthcare costs, cut Medicare for seniors and result in many people losing coverage under their current insurance plan.”

Mr. Gingrich points out three specific consequences of Obamacare:

1. It will create a new tax on prescription drugs.

2. It will create new taxes on specialty wheelchairs, pacemakers, and other medical devices.

3. It will cut Medicare benefits for seniors.

This just scratches the surface of the concerns Americans have about this overreach by the Federal Government.

Obamacare is not going to be repealed.  It us unrealistic to think that even if Republicans regain both houses of Congress that they can muster the votes to override the certain Obama veto.

Obamacare, with the support of Iowa’s own, Congressman Leonard Boswell, is an albatross we’re most likely stuck with the rest of our lives.  For this reason alone, Mr. Boswell deserves to be replaced by Brad Zaun, Republican, who is running for his seat.

A radical controls a budget larger than the Pentagon’s 1


By Tom Quiner

Donald Berwick, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The healthcare of one out of three Americans is controlled by a radical.

I wrote about this man, Donald Berwick, in my Quiner Diner’s post on May 26th.  You can read about his radical health care ideas there.  Here is the essence of his philosophy:

“I am romantic about the National Health Service; I love it.”

He was talking about Great Britain’s single payer healthcare system.  He is an advocate of healthcare rationing.  And most importantly, the President put him in charge of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The President made a “recess” appointment to put Mr. Berwick in charge of Medicare and Medicaid. His radical views wouldn’t hold up to public scrutiny if he had been properly vetted by the Senate.

Mr. Berwick’s budget is bigger than the Pentagon’s.  This is a huge job.

The American people have been anxious to question this powerful man about his socialist healthcare longings.

Will he push for a single payer healthcare system?  Americans have a right to know.

Is he going to push for rationing?  After all, here’s what he has said in the past:

“Most metropolitan areas in the United States should reduce the number of centers engaging in cardiac surgery, high-risk obstetrics, neonatal intensive care, organ transplantation, tertiary cancer care, high-level trauma care, and high-technology imaging.”

He suggests we need to cut back and ration healthcare.  Does he still advocate that as the most powerful man in healthcare today?  Americans have a right to know.

In prepared remarks at a health conference yesterday, Mr. Berwick moderated his socialist rhetoric.  He said American healthcare policy shouldn’t involve “withholding from us, or our neighbors, any care that helps” … nor should it harm “one hair on anyone’s head.”

He said that a “massive, top-down, national project is not the way” to control healthcare costs in this country.

He’s backing away from his previous rhetoric.  That’s good, but is it sincere?  After all, he left the conference without taking a single question from reporters.  He’s been in his appointed position for three months and has yet to talk to reporters and the American people about his current views on healthcare.

President Obama promised transparency.  His cynical appointment of Donald Berwick undermines his pledge.  Mr. Berwick’s refusal to engage his critics fuels our cynicism in this administration.

Until Mr. Berwick stands up and faces public scrutiny, we can only assume that he still harbors a radical vision for our healthcare system and can’t be trusted.  The President has demonstrated little respect for the American people on this critical issue.