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How Much Worse Could Things Get in Chicago?

Chicago isn’t Detroit yet, but, gosh darn it, they’re trying. The president of the Chicago Teacher’s Union is considering a run for mayor, and according to polls, she would probably win.

The current mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, is a standard issue corrupt Chicago Democrat; Lewis is a straight-up radical. Lewis’s main beef with him is that, in response to the fact that the population of Chicago is declining, and the population of school-age children in Chicago is declining even more, Emanuel closed a bunch of unnecessary public schools; and of course that meant layoffs for teachers and administrators, and that meant fewer dues-payers to support Ms. Lewis’s quarter-million-dollar annual Teacher’s Union president salary.

In the Chicago Public Schools’ run by Ms. Lewis’s Teacher’s Union:

  • Four out of 10 freshmen don’t graduate
  • 91 percent of graduates must take remedial courses in college because they do not know how to do basic math and other schoolwork
  • Only 26 percent of high school students are college-ready, according to results from ACT subject-matter tests.

And the average salary for a Chicago Public School teacher was $76,000 per year in 2012 when teachers went on strike to demand more money, which was not only the highest in the country, but $3000 more than teachers in New York City.



She also obviously has not been participating in Michelle Obama’s school lunch program.

What Democrats and Republican Elites Really Think

Item No. 1: The establishment GOP National Republican Senate Committee paid for a radio ad and printed flyers in Mississippi that called fiscal, small Government conservatives racists.

Item No. 2: The Democrats’ central argument in opposing voter ID boils down to this: “Our voters are too lazy and stupid to go out and get a Government ID.

It fascinates me that, when push comes to shove, both parties privately embrace and promote the worst stereotypes of the people said to vote for them.

It’s also revealing what political aristocrats really think of the people who cast votes for them.

Where Are the Occupy Candidates?

The Occupy Movement was conceived and executed as a response to the Tea Party movement. It was said that both movements opposed crony capitalism; the Tea Party opposed cronyism, and Occupy opposed capitalism.

The Tea Party, though reviled across the political spectrum from far-left to center-left (i.e., the Democrats, the media, low-info voters, and Republicans threatened by the loss of power), managed to elect quite a few candidates at the local, state, and Congressional level. And even those Republicans who didn’t formally align with the Tea Party at least paid lip service to the Tea Party agenda of limited Government, reductions in Government spending, and reform of taxes and regulation.

But when you look for Democrats championing the Occupy Agenda… student loan forgiveness, redistribution of income, expansion of the welfare state, rape tents … there don’t seem to be any who willingly identify themselves as “Occupy” candidates.

There’s Senator Elizabeth Warren, the blonde-haired Cherokee from Massachusetts, who claims to be the founder of the Occupy movement. (She claims a lot of things.) But that’s really it.

I kind of think it’s because the Occupy Agenda is baked into the Democrat Party already; (“We’ll take money away from people you don’t like and spend it on you.”) Also because Occupy was always more of a Democrat PR stunt than an actual movement; they all sort of melted away after the 2012 elections. Also, what politician outside of the San Francisco Bay Area wants to identify himself with rape tents and pooping on cop cars?

Tax Day homily

Although this story focuses on California’s abuses, it shows how government gets its revenue in general: arbitrarily and with the power and willingness to ruin people’s lives.

In 1970, a young Southern California electrical engineer and inventor named Gilbert Hyatt filed a patent application for an innovative microprocessor chip…

Twenty years later…the U.S. patent office awarded Hyatt the patent…a multimillion-dollar windfall. He moved to Las Vegas, where he said he was a full-time resident before he received the earnings.

California’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB)…decided to seek $7.4 million in back taxes, claiming that he was still a resident of California when the money came in. That sounds like a simple enough dispute that could quickly be resolved, but what followed has been an ordeal that has consumed a good bit of Hyatt’s adult life.

…[for] a sum that now tops $55 million as interest and penalties have accrued…The tax authorities have been pursuing him through its administrative process. Tired of the endless investigations, Hyatt filed suit in Nevada court in 1998. California officials said they weren’t subject to an out-of-state tort lawsuit. California lost that argument in the Nevada Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court and the high court decision sent the case back to a Nevada district court, which awarded Hyatt nearly $400 million in damages after finding that the California authorities abused their power and invaded his privacy. That case is on appeal.

Hyatt believes that California officials are purposefully delaying. “Specifically, because of the 20 year delay Hyatt can no longer obtain a fair and full adjudication of whether he owes state taxes to California,” according to his lawsuit. “During this time, material witnesses have passed away, memories of witnesses have faded, and documents relevant and important to Hyatt are no longer available.” The board keeps assessing penalties…He suspects the tax board is waiting for him to die so that it can go after his estate.

Under California law, the Franchise Tax Board has the “presumption of correctness,” meaning that the onus always is on Hyatt to disprove what the tax officials say. And, he argues, they keep changing their stories and their allegations, thus resulting in more years of legal expenses and disputes…

To sum up – When dealing with the tax man in America today, you have:

  • No “innocent until proven guilty”.
  • No real “right to a speedy trial”.
  • Kafka-esque complexity and situations rigged for you to lose.

To anyone who wants to claim that our tax system is “voluntary”, or that government somehow isn’t a gun, or that taxation somehow isn’t a use of force on people (many conscientious tax-objectors are given long jail sentences): You’re just lying.

So, it’s not obstruction when a Democrat does it?

Brit Hume just made my job a lot easier:*

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 11.17.56 AM

Yesterday, Anderson Cooper all but drooled over the Texas Democrat.  And my left-of-center Facebook friends are making her a hero.  Should remind them of their support for this woman blocking a bill with majority support in the Texas Senate the next time a Republican blocks a bill with similar support in the U.S. Senate.

*I had planned a post wondering if Democrats’ love for Davis signaled a change of heart on the filibuster.

Rhode Island recognizes gay marriages the right way

After several tries, the Ocean State will start recognizing same-sex marriages on August 1.   Both houses of the legislature voted in favor of such recognition and the elected governor signed the bill into law.

And this legislation, like that in New Hampshire, addresses the concerns of those who contend such recognition would force churches (and other religious institutions) to perform weddings at odd with their faith’s doctrine.  According to the Associated Press’s David Klepper:

The bill that passed the House stated that religious institutions may set their own rules regarding who is eligible to marry within the faith and specifies that no religious leader is obligated to officiate at any marriage ceremony. The Senate added language to ensure that groups like the Knights of Columbus aren’t legally obligated to provide facilities for same-sex weddings.

With such provisions, the Ocean State not only recognizes same-sex marriages, but also protects religious freedom.


FROM THE COMMENTS:  Jayne contends that “union of 2 males or 2 females is, biologically, historically and culturally so vastly different from the union between a male and female that to define it with the same term renders the definition meaningless.”

I would agree that same-sex unions are different from different-sex ones merely because of the differences between men and women, but is she right, are they “vastly different”? (Emphasis added.)

The only black man in the 113th Senate . . .

. . . will be the only man ever appointed to the Senate by an Indian American woman.  South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, reports, Ed Morrissey

will appoint Rep. Tim Scott to replace Senator Jim DeMint in the US Senate, making Scott the upper chamber’s only African-American member, and give him a boost in the 2014 special election for the rest of DeMint’s term. ..

(Via Instapundit.)  Oh, and Scott is a Republican.  Just as there are no African-American Democratic Senators, there are no Indian-American or Hispanic Democratic governors.  Two of the three Senators of Hispanic background are Republican.

Some news reports notwithstanding, Scott will not occupy the Senate seat once held by Strom Thurmond.  Lindsay Graham sits in that chair.

Media cover imaginary Tea Party violence, ignore real union violence

With the enactment yesterday in the Wolverine State of right-to-work legislation, freeing individual workers from the obligation to pay union dues, the unions have not reacted in a, well, dignified manner.

Take a gander at how union activists treated one conservative blogger outside the Michigan state capitol:

Via Hot Air.  The same folks knocked down a tent that Americans for Prosperity (with a permit) put up on the state capitol grounds, cheering as it collapsed with people in it.

Yet, neither AOL, Yahoo! nor the Washington Post cover this on their front pages this morning.  Here are some screen-captures of the Post’s front page:

Screen shot 2012-12-12 at 9.49.21 AMScreen shot 2012-12-12 at 9.49.47 AMScreen shot 2012-12-12 at 9.50.24 AM (more…)

Obama’s remarks in Michigan & his partisan nature

The decision that President Obama, the head of the federal government, made yesterday to wade into the politics in one state seemed a defining one.

Instead of being the postpartisan political healer he claimed to be in the 2008 election, he seems to feel that he just has to interject himself into contentious political issues, not as the mediator, but as the combatant.

He seems more interested in playing partisan politics than in working with the opposing party to effect a consensus.

RELATED:  Michigan Seems Like A Dream To Me Now. (Via Instapundit.)

ALSO SORT OF RELATED: Protesters to march on Michigan capitol over “right-to-work” vote  (Note how Yahoo!’s editors put right-to-work in quotation marks.  Did they ever so reference the “Affordable Care Act”?

UPDATE: How civil:  Democrats threaten violence on Michigan House floor.  The article includes this interesting factoid, “Michigan has both the highest unionization and unemployment rates in the Midwest.”

ADDENDUM:  I had meant this to be a longer post, addressing the frustration we Republicans feel in the wake of Obama’s victory that we’ll be subject to four more years of his divisive rhetoric, but by the time I got to this post, I had little energy to write.  I have been working a great deal on my fantasy epic and have now completed (and am busy editing) the second chapter of the epic and finding myself scribbling notes for the third chapter. (more…)

Does Obama ever stop campaigning? Has he (or any other top Democrat) made a “Fiscal Cliff” counteroffer?

The day after meeting with House Speaker John Boehner to “talk about avoiding the fiscal cliff”, he jetted off to  Michigan to criticize right-to-work legislation that both houses of the elected legislature of the Wolverine State passed.  The elected governor, Rick Snyder, has pledge to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

Obama win in Michigan to “pressure Republicans in Congress to raise taxes on the nation’s top earners“.  Funny way to pressure Republicans—attacking a policy that Republicans in the legislature overwhelmingly support.

(Do wonder if Mr. Obama’s predecessor ever traveled to a state to criticize legislation based by Democratic legislatures in that jurisdiction.)

Instead of weighing in on state policies in a campaign-style event, the president should instead do the job to which he was elected, that of chief executive of the federal government.  Attacking the GOP in a state which just voted to send nine Republicans to the House of Representatives (out of a fourteen member delegation) won’t help him reach a compromise with the Republican-majority chamber.

Seems Mr. Obama would rather speak to friendly crowds than work with his partisan adversaries, even when the latter work is part of his job description.

New Jersey’s Chris Christie Backs Away from the Cliff

[S]hortly after a face-to-face meeting with President Obama at the White House to discuss Hurricane Sandy aid”, New Jersey Governor Chris Christievetoed legislation that would have established a state-run health care insurance exchange in New Jersey pursuant to the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act.”  (Bold in original.)

“Oh,” quips Hot Air’s Mary Katharine Ham, “the fall from Beltway media grace shall be sharp and swift for the country’s most popular Republican.”

Read the whole thing.

Republican Pennsylvania legislator comes out

A Republican becomes the first first openly gay state representative in the KeyStone State:

State Rep. Mike Fleck (R-Huntingdon) publicly acknowledged Saturday that he is gay, making him the first openly gay lawmaker in Pa. and the only* currently sitting openly gay Republican state legislator in the entire country.

. . . .

“Coming out is hard enough, but doing it in the public eye is definitely something I never anticipated,” he said. “I’m still the exact same person and I’m still a Republican and, most importantly, I’m still a person of faith trying to live life as a servant of God and the public. The only difference now is that I will also be doing so as honestly as I know how.”

He said his party affiliation remains strong.

“The Republican party is all about the government needing to stay out of people’s lives,” Fleck said. “I’m not a one-issue person and it’s not a one-issue party.”

Well said, Representative Fleck. Wish more people understood this about gay Republicans. Our political calculus doesn’t revolve around our sexuality nor does the agenda of our party.

Folks at the Advocate would be wise to learn from this gay elected official — and to watch how his party receives him.

Right-to-work states account for most of nation’s job growth

Seems laws President Obama opposes may have helped secure the Democrat’s reelection.  At his American Enterprise Institute blog, Carpe Diem, University of Michigan economics professor Mark J. Perry reminds us that the incumbent opposes right-to-work laws, legislation which “protect employees from being fired for refusal to pay union dues or fees”.

States which such laws on the books

were responsible for 72% of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.  If these states’ job increase had been no better than the 0.85% experienced by forced-unionism states as a group, the nationwide job increase would have been less than half as great.  And the President wouldn’t have been able even to pretend the economy was in recovery.

Aggregate household employment grew by 1.86 million jobs in the 22 states with right-to-work laws.  2.59 million jobs created in the nation during that period.  And that number is even more impressive when you consider that the states without right-to-work laws include some with the largest population like California, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. (more…)

Republicans control state government in 23 states
(Dems in 14)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:00 pm - November 11, 2012.
Filed under: Politics & Government in the States

Hardly the sign of a party in decline:

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which tracks party representation in the country’s 50 state governments, Democrats now control all three bases of power — the governorship and both houses of the state legislature — in 14 states and Republicans in 23, with only 12 states sharing power. (Nebraska’s unicameral legislature is considered nonpartisan.)

Even in Democratic year, Republicans demonstrate strength in Congressional Elections & at State Level

Today, in his statement on the fiscal cliff and tax rates, President Obama said that “on Tuesday night we found out that the the majority of Americans agree” with his plan for people “making over $250,000” to pay more in his taxes.  Now, to be sure, that was one of the few concrete proposals he did make in the campaign.

If the American people really did agree with him, how come the majority of Americans voted for legislators opposed to this approach?[*]  “Republicans“, reports Michael Barone in the Wall Street Journal

. . . won or are leading in 236 of the 435 House seats, down just six from the 2010 midterm. And they achieved this despite losing five seats because of partisan redistricting in Illinois and another five in California thanks to a supposedly nonpartisan redistricting commission that the Democrats successfully gamed.

And it’s not just the federal legislature where Republicans made a strong showing.  In state legislative races, Republicans also held their own, meaning that Democrats are, as I noted earlier today, are “even further behind” their post-2008 standing at the state level.Right after President Obama’s election, in twelve swing (or near-swing) states, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, Democrats had complete control (Governor, both houses of the legislature) in five, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin, Republicans in just one Florida.

Today, Democrats only have complete control in two, Colorado and Minnesota, and hold both houses of the legislature in Nevada while a Republican sits in the governor’s chair.  Republicans have complete control in six, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, almost complete control in Virginia, holding the governor’s chair, the state House and with a split state Senate.

Since 2009, in those twelve swing (or near-swing) states, Republicans have lost only the governor’s chair in Minnesota.   (more…)

Election news isn’t as bleak in the states

Tuesday night may have represented a defeat for America’s more conservative political party at the federal level, but the American people did not repudiate conservative ideals.

Although Republicans lost seats in the United States Senate and House, they did relatively well in state legislative races. Indeed, “Even as Midwesterners voted to reelect Obama,” wrote James Sherk yesterday in the National Review,

they also voted against the union-backed candidates. Michigan voters rejected making collective-bargaining powers a “right” by a 58–42 margin. Michigan Republicans also held onto their majorities in the legislature. In Wisconsin, Republicans aligned with Governor Walker’s agenda retook the state senate. Republicans expanded their margins in Indiana to better than two-thirds of the legislature. Ohio Republicans also expanded their legislative majority.

They did suffer some losses, losing, for example, the House in Colorado and New Hampshire and losing both chambers in Maine as well as Minnesota, but, in addition to Wisconsin, Republicans flipped the Senate in Alaska and, for the first time since Reconstruction, won both chambers of the Arkansas legislature.

Mitt Romney may have lost Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but Republicans control the legislature (both houses) and hold the governor’s chair in all five states.

Not just that, Tom Maguire teased out an interesting data point buried in The New York Times report on the exit polls:

In November 2008, when the country was floundering in the worst recession since the Depression, Election Day surveys of voters found that 51 percent of them wanted government to do more to intervene while 43 percent said it was doing too many things better left to businesses. Now, after four years of government activism, those numbers have flipped.

This corresponds with other surveys showing that Americans prefer a smaller government with fewer services to larger government with more services. (more…)

Chris Christie, like Paul Ryan, reminds us that the Republican is the party of real reform

Last night, after having dinner with a friend, we ended up, pursuant to part of our conversation, watching the first half of Excalibur, a flawed, but very (very, very) watchable movie.  As a result, I missed the two “big” speeches at the Republican National Convention last night.

When I did scan the web last night, I learned that conservative bloggers andpundits, while almost unanimous in loving Ann Romney’s speech, had mixed views on Chris Christie’s.  Byron York thought the New Jersey governor’s address did not succeed. Jonah Goldberg called it “a mild disappointment.

Jennifer Rubin and John Podhoretz liked the speech, with the latter citing the governor’s failure to attack the incumbent indicated instead a suggestion

. . . that the electorate in November would turn to the Republican ticket because it understands better than politicians the depth of the country’s problems — and that only the Republicans would speak honestly about them and the need to change course before it’s too late.

Perhaps, the reason Christie highlighted his own record was to show that understanding and that even thought Republican leaders in state houses across the country face incredible obstacles to reform, but are nonetheless pushing ahead with solutions to their jurisdictions’ problems.

Christie’s goal, in short, was to warm up the audience for Paul Ryan, showing that Republicans have solutions to the nation’s fiscal problems.

In the interview with the other Republican elected to replace a Democratic governor in 2009, the National Review’s Jim Geraghty asks a question which shows not just that Republican governors have championed reforms, but that reforms has helped improve the economic situation in their states: “Completely coincidental“, he quips “that all of Obama’s national policies are only working in those Republican states, huh?”  (I.e., states where Republican governors have enacted real reforms.)

“What Paul Ryan brings to the ticket”, adds that governor, Virginia’s Bob McDonnell,

 is a seriousness about the incredible challenges facing America. (more…)

The governor of New Jersey understands what ails California

Why can’t this guy be my governor?  Well, at least I didn’t vote for Jerry:

Via Washington Free Beacon via Michael Warren.

Poll: majority believe Obama has changed country for the worse
Numbers show Unemployment Rate Drops in states with GOP gov

“A new poll for The Hill”, reports Sheldon Alberts in that journal, “found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama’s first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership.

Meanwhile “every single one” of the 17 states elected new Republican governors in November 2010 . . .

. . . has seen its unemployment rate decline since January 2011. Three of them have had unemployment drop by more than 2% (Michigan, Florida, and Nevada). The average drop in the unemployment rate in these states was 1.35%. For a comparison, in January 2011 the U.S. national unemployment rate stood at 9.1%. It is currently 8.2%, meaning that the national unemployment rate has declined by just 0.9% since then. Based on these percentages, it can be said that the job market in states with new Republican governors is improving a full 50% faster than the job market nationally.

By contrast, the “average drop in the unemployment rate in” states which elected a new Democratic governor “0.95%, approximately the same as the drop seen nationally.”  (H/t Weasel Zippers via a formerly left-leaning lesbian reader’s Facebook page.)

Wonder how much many more jobs would have been created had the president, through his big-government policies, not changed the nation for the worse.  Mr. Romney would do well to highlight some of the Republican executives’ successful policies to better contrast them with the president’s failed agenda.

With just such a contrast, the presumptive Republican nominee can help make the elecction “a referendum on the incumbent” — and his policies.  If it is just such a referendum, as Ed Morrissey writes, looking at the Hill poll, “as re-election efforts almost always are — then Obama’s going to need to keep that champagne on ice permanently.

Texas Republicans take a step in the right direction

Seems that Texas Republicans have taken a step in the right direction.  Rob Schlein, president of Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, wrote yesterday that the day marked . . .

. . . the beginning of a more inclusive Texas Republican Party that has removed several anti-gay planks about banning gay scouting and gay adoption, and linking pedophilia with our sexual orientation. The core members of Metroplex Republicans have worked for years at all levels within the party to affect this change. From seeking allies at party events, to attending conventions at precinct, senate district and state levels, we have advocated for removal of all anti-gay language for a long period.

(H/t Jimmy LaSalvia’s (on Facebook ).)  Emphasis added.  Seems Schlein’s group adopted the exact same strategy we developed when I helmed the Log Cabin Republicans of Northern Virginia, reach out to Republicans at party events rather than demand change in public fora.

The Texas GOP may not yet have advanced as far as we would like; the party still needs to make more changes.  Thanks to the efforts of groups like Schlein’s, they are moving in the right direction.

Kudos to Rob for his diligent — and painstaking work — to change minds and broaden our party’s base!