Representative Adam Smith is 84% Pork
And sadly, he is the least-pork addicted member of the collection of hogs the state of Washington has sent to the House of Representatives. (Scroll to the last page to find the Evergreen delegation.)
Brought to you by the Club for Growth:
Thanks to Congressman Jeff Flake's 19 anti-pork amendments, we now have every House member on record regarding their positions on earmarks. Before now, House members have been able to avoid scrutiny because their pork was co-mingled with other projects and tucked into the dark corners of big spending bills. Or they were able to withstand the scrutiny because they were attacked as a whole chamber and not directly attacked themselves.
But because of Flake's amendments, they were recently forced to cast up-or-down votes on specific projects. They could no longer deflect attention. ... A "YES" vote on any of the Flake amendments is a good, anti-pork vote. A "NO" vote is a bad, pro-pork vote. Therefore a score of 19-for-19 is a perfect, pro-taxpayer record. A 0-for-19 record means hostility to taxpayers.
What exactly did Rep. Adam "84% The Other White Meat" Smith vote to spend those taxpayer supplied dollars on?
House Vote 204 - Virginia Science Museum ($250,000)
House Vote 205 - Juniata Locomotive Demonstration ($1,000,000)
House Vote 277 - Swimming pool in Banning, CA ($500,000)
House Vote 278 - “Facilities” in Weirton, West Virginia ($100,000)
House Vote 279 - Multipurpose facility in Yucaipa, California ($500,000)
House Vote 280 - Strand Theater Arts Center in Plattsburgh, New York ($250,000)
House Vote 298 - Mystic Aquarium in New London, Conn. ($1,000,000)
House Vote 299 - The Jason Foundation in Ashburn, VA ($1,000,000)
House Vote 302 - Northwest Manufacturing Initiative ($2,500,000)
House Vote 303 - Lewis Center for Education Research ($4,000,000)
House Vote 304 - Leonard Wood Research Institute ($20,000,000)
House Vote 334 - Arthur Avenue Retail Market ($150,000)
House Vote 335 - Bronx Council for the Arts in Bronx, N.Y. ($300,000)
House Vote 336 - Johnstown Area Regional Industries ($800,000)
House Vote 337 - Fairmont State University ($900,000)
House Vote 338 - Tourism Development Association in Kentucky ($1,000,000)
Altogether, $34,250,000 worth of pork.
Oh, the rankings for the rest of the Evergreen State Pork Assocition?
Leading the way to the trough, voting against all 19 amendments, 100% pork:
Actually voting for one of 19, removing one pork item, leaving them at 95% pork:
And voting to remove two of 19 slices of bacon, 90% pork:
So my home state's delegation has at least one thing they can be bi-partisan about: spending your money on pork.
Is This Hezbollah's Tet Offensive
Not sure why, but this post at Instapundit made me think of parallels between the Hezbollah-Israel fight. There's a 'resistance force,' Hezbollah, which fills the VC niche despite the fact that they're not really indigenous to Israel. Playing the role of North Vietnam, supporting the 'resistance,' is Iran, funnelling weapons and advisors via yet a third country, Syria.
And just as the VC did at Tet in 1968, Hezbollah has picked a fight that should, if Israel is allowed to finish the fight, result in the destruction of Hezbollah as a viable fighting force.
The question is, what happens then? In Vietnam, after the near anihilation of the VC, the NVA assumed the task of fighting the ARVN and US forces. I don't think replacing Hezbollah fighters with Iranian troops-even Iranian troops dressed as Hezbollah-is a viable option for Iran. For one thing, Farsi-speaking ethnic Persians won't exactly fit in to Arabic-speaking ethnic Arab Lebanon.
However, Syrian troops-masquerading as 'Palestinian resistance fighters'-moving in to replace Hezbollah wouldn't be out of the question. The Syrian Army was forced to leave Lebanon last year, but Syrian intelligence remains. The Assad regime would love to be able to regain some of their lost control over Lebanon, and if they can do it while gaining the ability to launch attacks against Israel, that's a huge bonus.
There are two ways to prevent this. One is for Israel to reoccupy southern Lebanon as they did from 1982-2000. This is not the preferred option.
The preferred option is to put the Lebanese government, and the Lebanese army, into a position to be able to control their own territory. But the key to this is the destruction of Hezbollah's military forces-the Lebanese aren't strong enough to destroy them, and probably aren't even strong enough to occupy the territory unless Hezbollah is gone. So Hezbollah must be destroyed-and only the Israelis can do it. This is not to say that the Lebanese army can't help-if they were able to seal off the Hezbollah occupied zone and prevent Hezbollah fighters from escaping, acting as the anvil to Israel's hammer-they would assist measurably in Hezbollah's destruction and thus hasten the central government's ability to assert control over the area.
So to all those who wail for Israel to stop and clamor for 'peace': the destruction of Hezbollah will do much more to bring long-lasting peace to the region than will an immediate cease-fire. And Hezbollah will only be destroyed by continued fighting. You can't plant a flower garden without first getting rid of the weeds. And the IDF is the Weed-B-Gone.
A Bump Up
This blog will soon be upgraded to a Field Grade blog. Any changes will be transparent to the end user.
That is all.
Corporate Welfare Queens
Human Events Online brings us a list of the Top 10 Corporate Welfare Queens. (HT: RNS)
Now, the Left does a good bit of complaining about 'corporate welfare' and government giveaways to Big Business, so I find it quite interesting that, of the groups on the list, 4 are government programs and 3 are traditional Democrat constituencies.
Now, the list, with my commentary:
Government employees, now the biggest component of Big Labor. The Constitution assigns mail delivery as one of the .fedgov's functions, but there's no requirement to do it inefficiently.
10. United States Postal Service (USPS)
The USPS is a monopoly more interested in job protection than efficiency or innovation. Labor costs consume 80% of USPS revenue, while UPS and FedEx spend only 56% and 42% of their revenue on labor, respectively. Reform would allow competition for mailbox and first-class mail service.
Again with the unions. Now, I'll grant that we need to fix whatever laws there are that cause US companies to put Panamanian and Liberian flags on their ships, but requiring US ships to haul cargo between US ports isn't the solution.
9. Maritime Shippers and Unions
The Jones Act mandates that all cargo shipped between U.S. ports—including deep-water shipping to Hawaii and Alaska—must be carried on U.S.-built and flagged vessels. That protectionism costs the economy $1.3 billion a year in higher shipping prices, according to a 1999 study by the International Trade Commission. It’s time to repeal the Jones Act restrictions.
8. National Education Association (NEA)A solution I proposed over 18 months ago. And part of my platform when I run for state legislature after my wife and I are done with the Army in a couple of decades.
The ultimate monopoly is America’s K-12 government schools, and the NEA is the gatekeeper that opposes almost any reform. Sheltered from competition, public schools continue to decline despite dramatic increases in per-student spending. States should give all students a voucher that allows them to attend the school of their choice.
7. FreddieMac and FannieMaeAnother set of government programs. Last I checked, the Constitution didn't authorize Uncle Sam to be guaranteeing anyone's home mortgage. Dump 'em.
These are quasi-government companies that purchase wholesale mortgages, but unlike most investment banks, they get special government loans and are backed by an implicit federal guarantee. If the real estate market tanks today, taxpayers could be on the hook for billions. It’s time for Freddie and Fannie to grow up and cut the cord.
Big Agriculture tends to buy influence on both sides of the aisle, most especially the home state Congress Critters of the states they operate in. This not only hurts American consumers, it hurts American workers-Brach's moved their largest factory to Canada because the sugar is cheaper there. It also hurts poor countries that export sugar by keeping them out of the US market.
6. Big Sugar
Uncle Sam gives sugar special status and protects growers from competition through import quotas and marketing allotments. A handful of industrial growers dominate the industry and receive more than $1 billion a year in subsidies from rigged prices, according to the GAO. Congress should end sugar’s sweet deal.
When most people think of cotton, they think of the states of the old Confederacy, but cotton is also a major crop in California. Behaves like other parts of Big Ag. Can someone please explain to me why agriculture is so special that it deserves to be sheltered from competition at the expense of American consumers and taxpayers?
5. Big Cotton
U.S. taxpayers and consumers provide billions of dollars to cotton growers through a numbingly complicated array of programs that violate U.S. trade agreements. One company, Allenberg Cotton of Cordova, Tenn., collected more than $186 million from 1995-2004 just in cash payments, according to the Environmental Working Group. Congress should terminate the cotton program.
4. Asbestos lawyersTrial lawyers. Do I really need to say more? They've been milking this particular cash cow for decades.
While trial lawyers of all stripes abuse the legal and political system for personal gain, the asbestos litigation attorneys are a special breed. Runaway asbestos lawsuits have already bankrupted more than 70 American manufacturers, destroying 60,000 jobs and costing billions. Yet most of the litigants aren’t sick. Congress should pass medical criteria legislation to stop asbestos pillaging.
3. AmtrakAmerica is far too big for passenger rail service to be economically viable in most parts of the country since the dawn of the jet age. There are places where high high population density and relatively short distances-such as the Boston-NYC-DC corridor-where it can work. But the whole of Amtrak should be sold off. The parts that can turn a profit will be kept in operation, the rest won't.
Passenger railroads are a failure in America, and the Amtrak monopoly is the reason. Feather-bedding union rules and money-losing routes to nowhere are the hallmarks of this national embarrassment, which burns through more than $1 billion a year from federal taxpayers. Amtrak should be completely privatized and opened to competition.
Though I would miss the oppotunity to ride the Coast Starlight, I won't miss it enough to keep sinking tax dollars into it.
2. Corporation for Public Broadcasting (NPR/PBS)PBS is redundant in the age of cable. But NPR is sacred to Liberals, because not enough people would be willing to listen to their BS to keep it on the air otherwise.
Big Bird is on welfare, to the tune of about $347 million a year. While taxpayers foot the bills, Sesame Street’s owners make millions from licensing toys and videos. With massive budget deficits and plenty of new channels on cable and satellite radio, it’s time for Big Bird and his buddies to get off the dole.
Big Ag yet again. Jefferson idealized a nation of independant, self-sufficient yeoman farmers. Independant. Self-sufficient. So how the hell did food producers get a death clamp on the public teat?
1. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)
From ethanol mandates to sugar subsidies, ADM is a case study in corporate welfare. New studies show that it takes more fossil energy to create corn ethanol than the fuel provides, but Congress is doubling the amount we have to buy anyway.
And ethanol mandates are vote buying in the corn-growning states, pure and simple. Brazil makes ethanol from cane sugar, and it's apparently more efficient that making it from corn. But we can't import Brazilian sugar ethanol, and Big Sugar (see above) keeps us from being able to import more cane sugar to make our own. If ethanol were really as great as it's advocates say, why aren't they advocating bringing in either sugar ethanol from Brazil or cane sugar to make it here?
Reasons to Buy SGN
Any gun nuts out there who haven't bought the 20 July 2006 issue of the Shotgun News, I highly recomend picking up a copy. There are three good articles for the AR-series black rifle enthusiast. If you want to read them, you'll have to buy the magazine, since the content isn't available online.
The first article is a look at the 6.8 SPC by Zak Smith. He's making my decision between 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel for my next AR a tough one.
The next article covers POF's gas piston uppers in three calibers: the currently available .223, and the soon-to-be-available 6.5 Grendel and .308.
But the most interesting, at least to me, is on a new DIY lower receiver. Unlike the currently available 80% lower receivers, which are solid aluminum pieces which require further machine work, this kit consists of 4 aluminum pieces which join together with tongue and groove joints. The homebuilder, instead of doing more complicated machining, in only required to do less difficult drilling and tapping of the holes for the screws which hold the lower together.
But the best part about this DIY lower is the sellers and manufacturers: the kit will be marketed by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO), and a share of the purchase price will go toward protecting gun owner rights. And they'll be manufacturer by KT Ordnance, who are currently being targeted for harassment by the ATF.
I'm not generally one for building my own receivers-I'm lazy, and don't have the free time-but I might just have to get myself one or three of these, just to piss off the ATF. A check through both JPFO and KT Ordnance's sites didn't find them, however, but I'll keep my eyes open and post here when they become available.
Fair Tax vs Flat Tax vs The Current Giant Stinking Mess
An excellent summary at Cao's Blog of the three flavors of taxation. If you have any doubts as to why a consumption tax is better, read this.
Of course, getting Congress to give up their ability to do special favors for special groups under the current system isn't going to happen, not without complete replacement of, not only the current crop of Congresscritters, but pretty most of the politicians, at every level, in the country.