POLITICAL: Not raising the debt ceiling doesn’t mean default

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Response from Senator Menendez

Dear Mr. Reinke:

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the federal government’s debt limit. I appreciate hearing from you on this critical issue and having the opportunity to respond.

The national debt is the total amount of money borrowed in order to fulfill the requirements imposed by current and past Congresses and Presidents, during periods when both Republicans and Democrats were in control of different branches of government. These are legal obligations, and the responsibility for meeting the Nation’s obligations must be shared by both parties.

Raising the debt limit is necessary to allow the Treasury to meet obligations of the United States that have been established, authorized, and appropriated by Congress. Also, it is important to note that increasing the debt limit does not authorize a single penny of new spending— it only allows the government to pay bills already incurred.

If Congress fails to act before the debt limit is reached, the Treasury would default on the legal obligations of the United States, causing far more devastating damage to the economy than the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. A few consequences of defaulting could be a substantial tax increase on all Americans, and the potential loss of millions of American jobs.

The Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, said that because Treasuries represent the benchmark borrowing rate for all other sectors, default would raise all borrowing costs. Interest rates for state and local government, corporate and consumer borrowing, including home mortgage interest, would all rise sharply. Equity prices and home values would decline, reducing retirement savings and hurting the economic security of all Americans, leading to reductions in spending and investment, which would cause business failures on a significant scale. Additionally, payments on a broad range of benefits and other U.S. obligations would be discontinued, limited or adversely affected, such as military salaries and retirement benefits; Social Security and Medicare benefits; veterans benefits; and unemployment benefits to states.

I share your desire to see our country headed down a more sustainable fiscal path, and I am committed to making the tough choices that will reduce the gap between our commitments and our resources. I believe that reducing our deficit will require a balanced approach to spending cuts; reforming tax policies, such as closing corporate tax breaks that allow oil companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes; and controlling health care costs. As your federal representative, I take very seriously my responsibility to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact sound fiscal policy that that invests in our future and protects the economic security our nation’s children.

Again, thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts on this important matter. Rest assured that I will keep your views in mind. I invite you to visit my website (http://menendez.senate.gov) to learn more about how I am standing up for New Jersey families in the United States Senate.

Senator Menendez

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Yea, I say don’t raise the “debt ceiling” and I get back “default”. No, not default. You have to cut the spending! Argh!

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POLITICAL: “Tax the rich”? Absurd!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

http://cafehayek.com/2011/04/money-isnt-wealth.html

Money Isn’t Wealth
by DON BOUDREAUX on APRIL 20, 2011
in MYTHS AND FALLACIES,SEEN AND UNSEEN,TAXES

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Steve Landsburg – in his armchair or out of it – is brilliant, just brilliant. This post of Steve’s is a must-read.

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http://www.thebigquestions.com/2011/04/18/the-man-who-cant-be-taxed/

The Man Who Can’t Be Taxed
Published by Steve Landsburg on April 18, 2011
in Bad Reasoning, Current Events and Economics. 64 Comments

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Nothing makes my job easier than a journalist who writes about something interesting and gets it 100% wrong.

Thanks, then, to Elizabeth Lesly Stevens for her column in yesterday’s Bay Citizen. Stevens wants to tax the “idle rich”, her Exhibit A being Robert Kendrick, heir to the $84 million Schlage Lock Company fortune. According to Ms. Stevens, Mr. Kendrick appears to do pretty much nothing but park and re-park his four cars all day long. Taxing people like Mr. Kendrick, she says, has to be part of any solution to America’s fiscal crisis.

Here’s what Ms. Stevens misses: Assuming the facts are as she states them, it is quite literally impossible to raise revenue by taxing the likes of Mr. Kendrick. We could argue about whether it’s desirable, but because it’s impossible, the discussion is moot.

Here’s why it’s impossible: For the government to consume more goods and services, somebody else must consume fewer.

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Everyone has to go back to poor old Robinson Crusoe’s island where some kind of money is created — be it pretty seashells or giant totem poles.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument it’s Confederate States of America dollar — one fiat currency is as good as another. An let’s further assume that the price level has become stable over time, one CSA dollar trade for one fish. AND Ms. Stevens, who’s economic education is sorely lacking, steals all the CSA dollars. For her to consume more fish, someone has to consume less. The amount of CSA dollars she’s stolen is irrelevant.

Economics is the “dismal science” because it can’t make more fish. It does tell us that when any good is limited, that is fish, there are several ways the fish can be divided. Argh! The free market will, if allowed, “fairly” allocate that poor fish, but the money used to vote on it ain’t the fish.

Argh!

It’s so simple and yet so hard for liberals and some conservatives to grasp.

Money has real world consequences. Gooferment is the problem. And, politicians and bureaucrats are today’s high priests. At least, in the Aztec days, they had human sacrifice. But, I’ll be they didn’t use the politicians and bureaucrats!

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SERVICE: GOOGLE APPS FREE is getting “smaller”

Saturday, April 30, 2011

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From: Google Apps Team <apps-noreply@google.com>
Date: April 28, 2011 6:41 PM
To: @reinke.cc
Subject: Update on changes to Google Apps

Hello,

We recently announced upcoming changes to the maximum number of users for Google Apps. We want to let you know that, as a current customer, the changes will not affect you.

As of May 10, any organization that signs up for a new account will be required to use the paid Google Apps for Business product in order to create more than 10 users. We honor our commitment to all existing customers and will allow you to add more than 10 users to your account for reinkefaceslife.com at no additional charge, based on the limit in place when you joined us.

Sincerely,
The Google Apps Team

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It would seem that anyone with a domain should register it with Google Apps to preserve future flexibility.

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INTERESTING: Wednesday, I made a presentation …

Friday, April 29, 2011

http://goo.gl/ntMIR

Wednesday, I made a presentation …

… to some young ladies of Holy Family Academy. (Frau Reinke’s alma mater) Two groups 40 minutes each. 25 in group 1; 40 in group 2. Each group had two teachers as chaperones and the Library Lady listened to both. (Guess that was to monitor discipline. If you’ve read my book, you know there is always “discipline”.)

In exchanging emails with the powers that be, it became apparent that they wanted “guest speakers” and the topic of my book was of interest to them.

So, hey, I’m always up for some “fun”.

The essence of the spiel was “I did it. I published a book. And, you can do it too.”

I connected them to Frau Reinke by their school. I told how Frau Reinke told me to “do it or shudup!” Lovingly. I related about a day dreaming grade schooler. Early mornings, 5k words/day, and some of the challenges. Went thru the technology, step by step. (The second group actually wanted that repeated during the Q&A.) Riffed off the line about 197X FireFox kids doing it WITHOUT technology. And, challenged them to some things they could do.

It was interesting that three of the TEACHERS got really excited about the possibilities.

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After action report:

It wasn’t “fun”. It was tough. I guess it’s part of learning to deal with the “ouchie”.

It was difficult because I’ve never “performed” in front of an audience this young. And, as you know, I’m an ITSJ. So, that’s ALWAYS a problem. (Had to be extra careful that any “injineering” language didn’t slip out.)

It was interesting in that the children as NOT as “computer literate” as I would have expected. Most had never heard of an RSS feed out of FACEBOOK.

First group (high school freshman), I needed the filler: SFYG and the Burqa. Second group (English honors juniors and seniors), were more into “novel” and how to do it. We got into Burqa, “digital dirt”, and, then, into a repeat of the EXACT steps to move data from FACEBOOK to a book. The Principal had to call time because they were getting into the gory details.

(The Principal complemented my on my ability to take them as deep as they wanted to go and explaining it such that she could understand it. :-) The essence of a fat old white guy injineer is to make sure you use little words and speak slowly.)

In retrospect, I gave them the rough stats on copies published. Last time I checked. To one significant digit. I could have given them the exact numbers but I didn’t think that was a big deal. In retrospect, I probably should have given them exact. The zeros make a bad impression. Argh! Now I feel bad.

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The library had “brag books”. Evidently, each student had to put together a book of what they accomplished at HFA.

(I call it a “brag book” because I recommended something similar to my “turkeys” when they were doing “job search”.)

A lot of it was format stuff and some filler. But, in the forms they had, there was a self assessment. Leadership, speaking ability, yada, yada, yada. Rows of the stuff; maybe 20 rows? With four columns for grading. “Outstanding”, “excellent”, “good”, and “needs improvement”. I looked at more than 20 of them — I was killing a half hour — there was no one who “needs improvement”. I thought that was funny. Funny ha ha!

Now I recognize that if I’d have had to do one in high school. It would have been very very thin with accomplishments.

But, I’d have known I needed a lot of “improvement”. (Luckily, a young lady came along in my sophomore year of college and helped me “improve”.)

SO here we have 20 or so brag books, and NO ONE needs improvement?

That’s a failure.

I saw cheerleaders, Irish Dancers, Eucharistic Ministers, Drama Queens, … …

I didn’t see any Engineers, Scientists, or such …

I didn’t see any athletes …

I did laugh that many claimed that “marching in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade” was an achievement. That sounded like filler to me.

Robert Byrnes cited “the gift to see ourselves as others see us”. Sounds like these teachers and students need some eyeglasses.

Everyone always “needs improvement”.

Even me.

That’s why I don’t take such tests.

Frau Reinke left that job unfinished!

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RANT: “Cotton Candy” wedding distracts “We, The Colonists” from our problems

Friday, April 29, 2011

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/04/29/the-royal-wedding-live-blog/?mod=djemalertNEWS

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News Alert from The Wall Street Journal

Prince William and Kate Middleton were pronounced husband and wife Friday, after five months of breathless hype and anticipation for Britain’s royal wedding, a ceremony that was expected to be watched by as many as two billion people.

As the couple said “I do,” the crowd on The Mall erupted into cheers, the ceremony coming through on loudspeakers.

About 1,900 guests were in attendance at Westminster Abbey, including soccer star David Beckham and musician Elton John.

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Everyone loves a good circus.

And maybe the era of Princess Diana is now over.

We’ll see if Kate can become ½ the power that Diana was.

I hope that Kate has a better outcome.

But it’s all just silly.

Maybe tomorrow, “We, The People” can get back to the serious issues at hand — End the Fed, Bring the Troops Home, and cut the spending.

But, today, it seems “Royal Watching” is a international delusion.

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GOVERNACIDE: American soldier has died in southern Iraq

Friday, April 29, 2011

http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2011/04/28/thursday-39-iraqis-killed-51-wounded

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110428/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq_us_casualties

– Thu Apr 28, 7:08 am ET

BAGHDAD – The U.S. military says an American soldier has died in southern Iraq in a non-combat related incident.

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TECHNOLOGY: Kindle E-book lending

Friday, April 29, 2011

http://www.macworld.com/article/159351/2011/04/kindle_lending_library.html

Amazon announces the Kindle Lending Library
by Lex Friedman, Macworld.com Apr 20, 2011 10:18 am

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E-book lending, periodicals reading in apps coming to Kindle

Amazon on Wednesday announced that later this year it will launch the Kindle Lending Library, a feature that will allow Kindle customers to borrow books from 11,000 libraries across the United States. The Kindle Lending Library—which Amazon is forming in partnership with digital media distributor OverDrive—will work with all Kindles, and all Kindle apps, including the Mac and iOS editions.

Once the feature launches, customers will be able to borrow Kindle e-books from their local libraries and start reading them instantly. If you check out a Kindle book a second time, or later purchase your own copy from Amazon, you don’t lose any notes and bookmarks you’ve added; they remain linked to your Amazon account. (And, in an advantage over old-school paper-and-binding books, you can make as many notes on your e-copy as you like without mucking up the book for the next person to borrow it.)

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The Gooferment and its “copyright” diktats have and will muddle this technology.

* Copyrights are now a centuries lock on the information. Weren’t patents and copyright supposed to expire and allow the public to benefit? Wasn’t, isn’t, that the only reason for giving an author a monopoly?

* Publishers allow books to go out of print. Disney puts stuff “back in the vault”. And, some copyrights have their ownership lost in time.

* A library, or a person, can “loan” or sell their copy. (The doctrine of “first sale” and all this “software licensing” nonsense.) Why is an ebook different?

* Libraries should be restricted to loaning out a single copy of e-books at a time as they would be with paper books. There shouldn’t be question.

* “Expiration”, like when publisher HarperCollins changed its agreement with OverDrive, dictating that its e-books should “expire” after 26 checkouts. That’s just wrong.

Did I miss anything?

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