Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: January 13, 2010


Yesterday, I had two dogs…

…Today, I have twelve.  Click on the pics below for hi-res versions.

Contessa and her 10 puppies

Contessa and her 10 puppies

Contessa gave birth to 10 little Cane Corsos today.  8 Male, 2 female.

They’re adorable.

We call this one "Light Green"

We call this one "Light Green"

We “named” them based on the color of bands we put around their necks.

One of the runts, "Dark Blue"

One of the runts, "Dark Blue"

Most of the puppies weighed in at between 450-480 grams, but we have two runts: Dark Blue male is 413 grams and Pink female is 400 grams.  Pink didn’t seem to want to suckle either at Contessa or at a bottle for the first couple of hours, but at about 2 o;clock, she found a nipple and went to town.  We were afraid we might lose her at first.

One of the male puppies, Lavender, weighed in at 550 grams.  I like him a lot.  He may be the one we keep, depending on how he does on temperament testing.

It was a long day, but at the moment, mother and puppies are sound alseep.

Contessa was a real trooper.  She handled all ten puppies as they were born, and needed no real assistance from us for any of them.  Considering that this was her first litter, and a very large one, she handled it like a pro, though she’s completely exhausted right now.


Health Care Reform:When Is A “Cadillac Plan” Not A “Cadillac Plan”?

Why when you’re a part of a favored special interest group of course:

Unions tentatively struck a deal Tuesday to exempt collectively bargained healthcare plans from a tax on high-cost plans expected to be used to help raise revenue for the healthcare overhaul.

The left constantly clamors for “fairness” but quickly throws such concerns under the bus when it is possible that one of their favored special interest groups may be negatively effected.

As Philip Klein notes:

If this policy is adopted, it would mean that there could be two Americans receiving the exact same benefits, but one American may be taxed and one wouldn’t, and the only difference would be one of them being a member of a union. This is unseemly and unfair, even by the standards of Obamacare. It has nothing to do with policy-making. It’s simply an outright bribe to a constituency that has contributed handily to Democratic campaigns.

Legislative favoritisim? How “progressive”.

It doesn’t get anymore blatant than this, folks.

~McQ


Naive? Dumb? Or Just Doesn’t Understand How Taxes Work?

Jake Tapper, today, asking Presidential spokesperson Robert Gibbs about the bank tax:

TAPPER: On the fee for banks, without asking for any details, how can you guarantee that this, that this fee, tax, levy, whatever it ends up being, is not passed on to consumers and they take another hit when it comes to Wall Street?

GIBBS: Yeah, well, look, obviously, Jake we’ll have a chance to go through the structure of this. The economic team has worked for quite some time on a structure that will ensure that what taxpayers gave to banks to ensure their safety and security, in a time of crisis, is paid back in full. And I can assure you that is one of the things the economic team has taken into account in the structure.

Unless the “structure” plans to ensure bank fees aren’t raised in any other area to capture the money this “fee, tax, levy, whatever” from the banks, then of course banks are going to pass it on. If the “structure” is going to prevent such a raise in fees anywhere within the bank, then this isn’t a new tax, it’s a government takeover of the banks.

~McQ


Hiding The Decline: What Is The Real Unemployment Rate?

Most likely it is much more than what is officially acknowledged.

That’s because it’s all about how you count them. Right now, for instance, the official unemployment number is 10%. If you add the underemployed, though – people working part time who want full time jobs – that number jumps to 17.3%

But is the 10% number right? Most likely not. Don Surber points to one reason:

Crudele explained: “When the Labor Department puts out the January employment figures on Feb. 4, they will include an assumption that a lot of companies went out of business.

“This is something called the birth/death model that is used by the department. Last year it caused 356,000 jobs to be subtracted from the January job count… Nobody in the media will pick up on this, but the Labor Department will also do something called a benchmark revision on Feb. 4 that will subtract around 840,000 jobs that the government thought existed, but really don’t.”

356,000 jobs here, 840,000 jobs there and pretty soon you have 1,196,000 more unemployed than advertised.

Oops.

That would change that 10.0% to 10.8%.

“Oops” indeed. I have an inherent distrust of estimates based on models. Maybe it’s the AGW nonsense that has turned me so against them. But still, how many “benchmark revisions” have been done in this recession and how many jobs have been shuffled off to the “do not exist anymore” bin without being added to the unemployment rate? In reality, we could easily be in the 13 or 14% area.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle had a short blurb today that gives you insight into the real size of the unemployment problem:

There are 6.4 job seekers for every job opening in the U.S., according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the highest rate since BLS began tracking such data in December 2000.

The ratio in December 2007? 1.7 to 1.

~McQ


Haiti: Let The Conspiracy Theories Begin

Lordy, lordy. While I take my shots at the government, almost on a daily basis, but there are limits to what I can and will credibly blame on the government of the United States.  The tragedy of that just occurred in Haiti is not one of them. But someone billing themselves as a “Pair A Normal Guys” has come up with the definitive explanation of what happened there:

While the loss of life and devestation [sic] in Haiti is unimaginable there may be a more hidden agenda behind this tragedy. Suppose this “natural disaster” been a weather weopan aimed at Cuba but came up short in it’s delivery? The possibility of this being true is not far fetched or out-of-this-world in theory. Weather manipulation and weather warfare are not new concepts and certainly could be the choice of the powers that be to devastate an enemy with a cloak of Mother Nature’s disguise to fall back on. The fact that there was a seemingly unnoticable quake in California recently or a possible test fire and then the Haitian quake the largest ever recorded in the region seems a little suspicious to me. The secrets of our world and the secret weopans [sic] that are harboured within our world are something we need to expose, if this was infact a targeted weather weopan [sic] at Cuba the question then remains who sent it and who’s next?

Be sure to check the video at the site out as well – must see “Truth TV”. Weather weapons from the black helicopter crowd. Now we can do earthquakes?  Then how in the world did we “miss” Cuba?

Heh … It takes all kinds doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, in the real world, watch the mobilization by the US to help Haiti. Tell me who else does it better or faster?

~McQ


UN Anti-Corruption Office Closed

Is there a more useless or corrupt organization than the UN? The famous “Third World Debating Club”, primarily supported by US tax dollars, is used as a platform for attacking the US (and the West) and squandering money. It is also famous for corruption, such as the oil for food scandal and many others.

Recently, and as quietly as they could manage, the UN shut down it’s Procurement Task Force, an anti-corruption task force set up in 2006 in the wake of the oil for food scandal. Since its establishment the anti-corruption unit has uncovered 20 more major schemes involving about 1 billion in US contracts and individual aid.

And now? Now those cases are being dropped as the PTF is dissolved:

But at the beginning of 2009, the United Nations shuttered the agency and diverted its work to the Office of Internal Oversight Services’ permanent investigation division.

Since then, the number of cases opened, pursued or completed has dropped dramatically and the division has let go most former task force investigators, the AP found in an examination of U.N. documents, audits and e-mails, along with dozens of interviews with current and former U.N. officials and diplomats.

Over the past year, not a single significant fraud or corruption case has been completed, compared with an average 150 cases a year investigated by the task force. The permanent investigation division decided not to even pursue about 95 cases left over when the task force ceased operation, while another 80 unfinished cases have languished.

What that really says, at least as I see it, is the PTF was all for show – an organization that was established in the wake of the oil-for-food scandal as an effort to placate an enraged world. But 3 years later, the UN feels safe enough that it can disband its only real anti-corruption unit, a unit that was obviously becoming a hindrance to the ability of the corrupt among the body to siphon off billions.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of the UN. It lost its way not long after its formation and has become nothing more than a vehicle for looting richer nations and providing a forum for dictators and authoritarians to condemn those who oppose them.

This development provides the US a perfect opportunity to pull out of the UN. Unfortunately we won’t and I know that as well. Making the best of a bad situation, the least we should do is insist that the PTF be rechartered as a permanent addition to the UN structure and strengthened with more investigators before we send the organization another dime of “dues”. Without that, the corruption that is apparently inherent in the organization will run rampant, and that’s simply unacceptable. No permanent PTF, no dues. And drag our erstwhile “allies” into this as well.

Yeah, I know – accountability, what a concept. Perhaps we ought to try it out here first before we demand the UN do it, huh?

~McQ