Obama's first prime-time address

What got cut from the stimulus bill?

The Senate bill is now inferior to the House's in terms of stimulative effect.

  • Out: Education and State aid: The compromise Senate bill "cuts all $16 billion from the original bill for K-12 school construction, [and] trims more than $1 billion from Head Start programs for youngsters." Of the $83 billion cut by the Nelson-Collins gang, $40 billion of it was for state stabilization funding. This is incredibly important funding meant for "helping states and localities avoid wide-scale cuts in services and layoffs of public employees."
  • In: Ineffective tax breaks: One example --- Republicans added the "house flipping subsidy", a $15,000 home-buyers credit, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy Research calls this the “flip your house to your brother” provision: it will cost a lot of money while doing nothing to help the economy.

Want to learn about what's in the stimulus package in the first place? Try Recovery and Reinvestment 101 and the 'A Guide to How the Stimulus Works' video.

Interestingly, the most criticized provisions of Obama's stimulus package comprise a very small portion (less than 2%) of the total economic recovery legislation. Read about this in 'Republicans Mount Mini-Criticisms of Stimulus in the Media'.

Here are some programs that have been cut, either entirely or partially in the latest Senate version:

Partially cut:

  • $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings (original bill $7 billion)
  • $75 million from Smithsonian (original bill $150 million)
  • $200 million from Environmental Protection Agency Superfund (original bill $800 million)
  • $100 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (original bill $427 million)
  • $100 million from law enforcement wireless (original bill $200 million)
  • $300 million from federal fleet of hybrid vehicles (original bill $600 million)
  • $100 million from FBI construction (original bill $400 million)

Fully eliminated

  • $55 million for historic preservation
  • $122 million for Coast Guard polar icebreaker/cutters
  • $100 million for Farm Service Agency modernization
  • $50 million for Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service
  • $65 million for watershed rehabilitation
  • $100 million for distance learning
  • $98 million for school nutrition
  • $50 million for aquaculture
  • $2 billion for broadband
  • $100 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • $50 million for detention trustee
  • $25 million for Marshalls Construction
  • $300 million for federal prisons
  • $300 million for BYRNE Formula grant program
  • $140 million for BYRNE Competitive grant program
  • $10 million state and local law enforcement
  • $50 million for NASA
  • $50 million for aeronautics
  • $50 million for exploration
  • $50 million for Cross Agency Support
  • $200 million for National Science Foundation
  • $100 million for science
  • $1 billion for Energy Loan Guarantees
  • $4.5 billion for General Services Administration
  • $89 million General Services Administration operations
  • $50 million from Department of Homeland Security
  • $200 million Transportation Security Administration
  • $122 million for Coast Guard Cutters, modifies use
  • $25 million for Fish and Wildlife
  • $20 million for working capital fund
  • $165 million for Forest Service capital improvement
  • $90 million for State and Private Wildlife Fire Management
  • $1 billion for Head Start/Early Start
  • $5.8 billion for Health Prevention Activity
  • $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants
  • $600 million for Title I (No Child Left Behind)
  • $16 billion for school construction
  • $3.5 billion for higher education construction
  • $1.25 billion for project based rental
  • $2.25 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization

Jym Ganahl says global warming is a media mind-control conspiracy

The Other Paper is reporting that Jym Ganahl is going public that he is a global warming denier. Jym is Columbus-based NBC 4 chief meteorologist.

NBC 4's Jym Ganahl denies the connection between CO2 levels and global temperature increases.

In a YouTube video, Jym Ganahl denies the scientific basis behind global warming backed up by the hundreds of scientific peer-reviewed articles:

"At times we are under a lot of criticism for our thinking about global warming. And they wanted to take away our credentials and shut us down as meteorologists without any scientific basis or fact behind what they are saying." [Emphasis added]

Ganahl believes that a vast mind-control conspiracy encompassing virtually every media outlet is to blame:

"Remember when 'War of the Worlds' first came out with Orson Wells with mind control and controlling people through the media and you can see how that can happen. That over the course of the years -- with swine flu, with west nile --- we panic the population and then it turns out to be false. But it's amazing to me that people believe what they see --and the Internet is another tool for that --- and they can be controlled. And it's remarkable how invasive that can be."

Ganahl's belief about the causes of global warming contradicts the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , which represents consensus in the scientific community. The IPCC concluded that the dominant causes for recent climate change result from these 3 human activities

Ganahl insists that the primarily cause of global warming is sun spots.

Here are the three critical points, backed up by science:

  1. The empirical evidence that human activity has and continues to add meaningful quantities of Green House Gases to the biosphere is overwhelming.
  1. Recent observed increased global temperature and other events around the world are highly correlated to those increased Green House Gas levels.
  1. Past climate models which predicted that an increase in Green House Gases from human activity would produce defined, specific consequences have been borne out.

 

The right plan for Kingsdale?

Continental has done excellent work in other communities as evidenced by this photo from their web site. Unfortunately, the proposal they made for Kingsdale does not include the pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined streets with on-street parking, widened sidewalks, or areas for street-side cafes shown here.

by Sue Grant

[UAPA collaborated with Sue Grant to create and publish this story. Sue is a landscape architect, OSU grad and UA resident and has been doing her homework on Kingsdale.]

On January 5, 2009 the new plan for the Kingsdale Regency property was presented at the Board of Zoning and Planning meeting. There were only a handful of community members in the audience. It has been a year since the last plan was unveiled. And the plan before that? Who remembers? Talk about this property has gone on and on for so long that we are all getting tired of hearing about it. We are also getting tired of looking at it, too. And we are tired of the diminishing services that it is providing.

A pivotal point for Kingsdale

More importantly, we are now at a point at which we have never been before – a pivotal one in which we could make the difference between having just ‘something’ happen, and making something really spectacular happen. But it will take more than just a handful of people to make that a reality, more than just a handful to make it so that this is the last time we have to hear about what it is ‘going’ to be, more than just a handful to ensure that instead, in the coming years, we hear about its success.

A talented developer offers less at Kingsdale than for other communities

Make your voice heard at the Kingsdale BZAP meeting

Some very big decisions will be made soon that will impact UA and Kingsdale for many years to come. The UA Board of Zoning & Planning (BZAP) wants to hear from all citizens about Continental's Kingsdale proposal:

Special Board of Zoning & Planning for Kingsdale, Monday, February 2, 2009, 7:00 p.m., Council Chamber. This meeting will be open for public comment.

A very talented developer has come to the table to play the game of turning this crucial piece of land into something – the question is what. Although its roots are local in the Columbus area and they do work here, Continental Real Estate Companies’ expertise has been far reaching in its impact on numerous small and large communities across the country.

Continental Real Estate Companies is no normal developer. They are good and they are creative. This is evidenced on their website. The character of some of their projects is people-oriented, with tree-lined streets, wide sidewalks with sidewalk cafes, and town squares. Frank Kass, of Continental, was even voted a #1 business owner in Pittsburgh with his innovative Waterfront development in Pittsburgh years ago, at a time when others said this unique project could not be done. Upper Arlington is indeed fortunate to have them interested in Kingsdale.

So why, then, is the current proposal for Kingsdale just another version of what currently exists there: another retail strip mall? It is because, as Frank Kass put it in his presentation of the plan on January 5, this plan is all about Giant Eagle and its parking; it is the big gorilla in the room. He even admitted that it isn’t about walking or strolling. The ‘pedestrian experience’ will be walking from your car in a parking lot, to the store, then back to the your car.

Reagan wouldn't recognized this GOP

An op-ed by one of the three founding trustees of the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation that answers, among other things, how fiscal conservatives should look at the bailout:
"How, for example, should conservatives react to stimulus and bailout proposals in the face of an economic meltdown? The wall between government and the private sector is an essential feature of our democracy. At the same time, if there is a dominant identifier of conservatism -- political, social, psychological -- it is prudence.

If proposals seem unworkable or unwise (if they do not contain provisions for taxpayers to recoup their investment; if they do not allow for taxpayers, as de facto shareholders, to insist on sound management practices; if they would allow government officials to make production and pricing decisions), conservatives have a responsibility to resist. But they also have an obligation to propose alternative solutions. It is government's job -- Reagan again -- to provide opportunity and foster productivity. With the nation in financial collapse, nothing is more imprudent -- more antithetical to true conservatism -- than to do nothing."

By that measure Obama's five principles for the bailout sound pretty prudent.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-edwards24-2009jan24,0,653092.story

 

Reagan wouldn't recognized this GOP

The Gipper may be the patron saint of Limbaugh and Coulter, but he'd be amazed at what's been done in his name.

By Mickey Edwards
January 24, 2009

In my mind's eye, I can see Ronald Reagan, wearing wings and a Stetson, perched on a cloud and watching all the goings-on down here in his old earthly home. Laughing, rolling his eyes and whacking his forehead over the absurdities he sees, he's watching his old political party as it twists itself into ever more complex knots, punctuated only by pauses to invoke the Gipper's name. It's been said that God would be amazed by what his followers ascribe to him; believe me, Reagan would be similarly amazed by what his most fervent admirers cite in their desire to be seen as true-blue Reaganites.

Infrastructure: It's Job 1 to Americans

The LATimes has some interesting poll results and maybe not what you'd expect in an op-ed from Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

A poll finds near unanimous support for rebuilding.

By Frank Luntz

January 23, 2009

I'm a pollster and political consultant associated with Republican causes: the Contract with America, the "death tax" and, of course, ending wasteful Washington spending. So why am I behind the new stimulus legislation -- the biggest spending bill ever to be considered by Congress? Maybe because when it comes to some things -- crumbling schools, overcrowded highways, an ineffective energy system, clean-water facilities that don't clean water and trains and planes that are always late -- we're all on the same side.

Last month, I conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters on their attitudes toward infrastructure investment. It was commissioned by Building America's Future, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials -- chaired by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg -- formed to support infrastructure investment.

The survey's findings were unlike any other issue I have polled in more than a decade. Iraq, healthcare, taxes, education -- they all predictably divide and polarize Americans into political camps. Not infrastructure.

Consider this: A near unanimous 94% of Americans are concerned about our nation's infrastructure. And this concern cuts across all regions of the country and across urban, suburban and rural communities.

Massive outlays a necessary tonic that leaves behind painful debt

Remember this statement?
“...And we can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits, even if the economy softens. The projections for the surplus in my budget are cautious and conservative. ” [President Bush, Remarks, 3/27/2001]
Or this one?
“[O]ur budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-term.” [President Bush, 01/29/2002]
The deficit has now grown to $37,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. From an AP analysis story:
It's hard to believe that just eight years ago -- as President Bill Clinton was leaving office and Texas Gov. George W. Bush was preparing to be sworn in -- there was a projected $5.6 trillion 10-year budget surplus. Both Clinton and Bush talked of using part of it to retire the national debt by the end of the decade. Instead, the bursting of the technology bubble, big Bush tax cuts, the Sept. 11 attack, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, increased spending on homeland security, a mild recession in 2001 and the current financial meltdown intervened.

Bush has successfully defended anti-terrorism policies

Good piece of new analysis about how Bush has been quite successful at defending his torture and wiretapping policies using procedural barriers to prevent lawsuits.

Sadly, Democrats in Congress have thwarted efforts to restrain Bush's policies:
"Nonetheless, Bush's anti-terrorism policies have not been blocked by the courts or Congress. When the Supreme Court struck down Bush's use of special military trials at Guantanamo on grounds that he had no legal basis for creating them, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act to authorize the trials.

When critics claimed the National Security Agency was violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by intercepting calls without a warrant, Congress passed a law to authorize such wiretapping. The same measure also granted legal immunity to telephone companies that had cooperated with the administration.

Bush's tenure has been particularly frustrating for civil libertarians. They had believed that when the government violated the Constitution, someone could go to court and challenge it. But it's not clear that truism is still true."

http://www.latimes.com/news/la-na-bush-terror-law30-2008dec30,0,5295760.story?track=ntothtml

Cutting Worker Costs Key To Automakers' Survival

A good story netting out the domestic auto industry labor problem:
"The current per-hour employee cost for U.S. automakers is around 50 percent higher than the costs for their foreign counterparts. The difference, however, is not simply a matter of hourly wage. As it turns out, the real wage discrepancy mostly comes down to retiree benefits."
Unfortunately, it's hard to find any recent reporting about why Detroit can't build cars that people want to buy.
NPR's Talk of the Nation had a good discussion about all of this.

Traditionally Republican Columbus suburbs trending blue

From the Columbus Dispatch: 'GOP's grip on county suburbs slipping':

"Reynoldsburg went for Barack Obama on Tuesday, the first time in recent memory that the reliably Republican suburb turned to a Democrat for president.

Obama took Franklin County by winning nearly 100,000 more votes than John McCain did, powered by the huge margins piled up in Columbus precincts. But Obama also was aided by once-staunchly Republican suburbs that are becoming more politically diverse and shifting to Democrats, an analysis of Franklin County elections data shows."

Republican divisive political tactics and out-of-touch policies that we saw so much of in this election cycle are taking their toll in UA as well:

"In Upper Arlington, Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore by almost 5,000 votes in 2000. Four years later, Bush's victory margin dropped to 2,718. On Tuesday, the suburb went Republican by 886 votes.

Voters choose a candidate "more for what they see the issues are; party loyalty may be getting less firm," veteran Upper Arlington City Manager Virginia Barney said.

Barney said her city shares more similarities with Columbus neighborhoods such as Clintonville and Victorian Village, which leaned toward Obama, than with Hilliard, Grove City or Marysville, which stayed strongly Republican in Tuesday's election."

Pages

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer