Category: Business

Hint to Obama Haters: “Obamacare” is Paid For, Year-by-year

From Paul Krugman at the NYTimes (for those of you who work for Fox News and have no degrees in economics, he has a NOBEL PRIZE in economics):

I assume that this is coming from some right-wing source. But you know, the CBO has a web site, and it’s easy to check this; there’s a convenient summary of the estimates here. .And, well, the estimates say that the reform is fully paid for:

Oh, and it’s paid for year by year, too — whatever you may have heard about 10 years of taxes paying for 6 years of coverage, or whatever, they’re basically lies.

More here.

BOOM! Obama Just Played The Bin Laden Card (Video)

From Business Insider:

President Barack Obama was just asked to respond to Republican charges that he has engaged in a foreign policy of appeasement.

Obama responded: "Ask Osama bin Laden, and the 22 out of 30 top al Qaeda leaders who have been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement — or whoever is left out there, ask them about that."

There you have it.

Read more:

Paul Krugman on Things to Tax

Let me start with the end, and then you go read the entire piece: “The point I’m making here isn’t that taxes are all we need; it is that they could and should be a significant part of the solution.”

Gotta love Krugman. From the New York Times:

The supercommittee was a superdud — and we should be glad. Nonetheless, at some point we’ll have to rein in budget deficits. And when we do, here’s a thought: How about making increased revenue an important part of the deal?

And I don’t just mean a return to Clinton-era tax rates. Why should 1990s taxes be considered the outer limit of revenue collection? Think about it: The long-run budget outlook has darkened, which means that some hard choices must be made. Why should those choices only involve spending cuts? Why not also push some taxes above their levels in the 1990s?

I hope the President is listening to this man. When I met David Plouffe at a book signing a couple of years ago, I mentioned Paul Krugman. David responded, “He certainly has his opinions.”

Yes, David, he does. But they’re informed opinions and the man has a Nobel Prize in ECONOMICS.

Someone at the White House, someone in Congress, PLEASE! Page Paul Krugman! We need the conscience of a liberal today, not narrow ideologies!

This Liberal Is Quite Pleased With President Obama

Barack Obama

We are not a patient people.

Liberals, conservatives, moderates: we want our pudding, and we want it now.

These past two years, I have been impatient, watching and waiting while my liberal dreams for the United States were postponed — or so I thought. Why did President Obama channel former President George W. Bush and simply push a liberal agenda through the United States Congress and let the conservatives be damned?

I held back, however, and refused to play along with the liberal cacophony screaming for everything and anything to happen yesterday. They collectively screamed "I told you so!" when Democrats lost seats in Congress, losing the House of Representatives. All this screaming in spite of the fact that such losses had long been predicted, indeed, from the moment President Obama was sworn in. That was an easy call. We may be impatient, but we Americans are quite predictable.

A wee bit more than two years into the Obama presidency, I have to say, I’m quite pleased with what the president has done.

Health insurance reform was a start. No, it did not go far enough. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: the best reform for the health of the country would be to simply forbid health insurance companies operating on a for-profit basis. Let them insure all the widgets they want to for profit, but hands off human lives.

Still, health insurance reform was long, long overdue. And over the past few weeks, we’ve seen some wonderful things happen. For one, "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is on its way out. Next, today saw the near ratification of the START treaty, with a vote likely this week.

There’s more.

What do I appreciate most about President Obama?

His patience, a quality many of us in the media lack. From the insipid "Round Table" on ABC’s "This Week" to the endless drone of CNN, the media is so full of prognosticators who get it all wrong 99% of the time and more.

I’ve often said this in my elected life, and I’ll say it again here, "I don’t make predictions. I just work hard to achieve results."

President Obama is patient, looking, I’m convinced, two or three decades down the road. This is not a man likely to bark, "F— Saddam. We’re taking him out," as President Bush did in March 2002. If nothing else, the president is patient, weighing his decisions carefully because he knows — he knows — that everything he does has global repercussions.

I don’t know that he’s doing everything right, or wrong. I still remain careful. I remain critical. I still read Paul Krugman and hope for a Keynesian revolution in Washington.

But I like the President, even as I hope and pray for patience.

NYTimes Explosive Report: Sam Zell’s Culture of Stupidity at the Tribune Company

I heard Sam Zell speak a couple of years ago at the Inland Press Association’s Annual Meeting. He was funny. Seemed full of energy, off the cuff, eccentric.

An article in today’s New York Times reveals so much more, reporting on the bizarre culture Zell and those he has brought in have created at the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere at the Tribune Company.

Clearly, Zell is steering company into the ground.

From the NYTimes:

In January 2008, soon after the venerable Tribune Company was sold for $8.2 billion, Randy Michaels, a new top executive, ran into several other senior colleagues at the InterContinental Hotel next to the Tribune Tower in Chicago.

Mr. Michaels, a former radio executive and disc jockey, had been handpicked by Sam Zell, a billionaire who was the new controlling shareholder, to run much of the media company’s vast collection of properties, including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, WGN America and The Chicago Cubs.

After Mr. Michaels arrived, according to two people at the bar that night, he sat down and said, “watch this,” and offered the waitress $100 to show him her breasts. The group sat dumbfounded.

“Here was this guy, who was responsible for all these people, getting drunk in front of senior people and saying this to a waitress who many of us knew,” said one of the Tribune executives present, who declined to be identified because he had left the company and did not want to be quoted criticizing a former employer. “I have never seen anything like it.”

The report goes downhill from there, where sexual harassment is justified as path to creative thinking, with disclaimers like this in the Tribune’s revised employee handbook:

“Working at Tribune means accepting that you might hear a word that you, personally, might not use,” the new handbook warned. “You might experience an attitude you don’t share. You might hear a joke that you don’t consider funny. That is because a loose, fun, nonlinear atmosphere is important to the creative process.” It then added, “This should be understood, should not be a surprise and not considered harassment.”

My jaw dropped several times reading this article. So sad. I don’t see how the Tribune can be taken seriously any more.

Simply Put: Google Kicks Ass

I don’t know any other way to put it: No matter what they do, Google Kicks Ass.

I just switched to GMail from Yahoo! Compared to Yahoo!, GMail is lightening fast, and Yahoo!, in comparison, looks like it was created by a bunch of Yahoos, right out of Gulliver’s Travels.

Google Docs is awesome, and may, indeed, put Microsoft Office out of business some day.

You can now make phone calls for free to anyone in the United States and Canada on Google (if you live in the USA or Canada). "Free" won’t last forever, but, for now, it’s nice.

And Mom and Dad tell me the quality is better than calls from my cell phone.

The Android operating system is awesome. I love the ability to use my phone for my calendar, then go to Google Calendar to add or delete things.

I love Google.

Everything they do on the Internet works.


I Want My Next Car To Be A Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

I want a Chevy Volt. For my next car.

The Economist took the Volt for a spin, and the review sounds promising:

So how does the Volt/Ampera drive? Overall, pretty impressively. As a well-used pre-production car, the one we road-tested still had a few rough edges. The basic architecture of the surprisingly spacious cabin was in place, but the high-quality soft mouldings that will grace the car when it goes on sale had not yet been fitted. There was also a slightly disconcerting whistle from the exhaust when the range extender engine was working hard, though this can be easily fixed. The suspension settings need a bit of fine-tuning, particularly for ragged British blacktop. But otherwise, the car was extraordinarily refined. It is whisper silent in most conditions—it is mostly hard to tell when the range extender engine is running—and unfussed even at high motorway speeds. Acceleration is strong (0-60mph takes about nine seconds) thanks to the instant torque served up by the electric motor, while the car’s handling is neat and precise thanks partly to the low centre of gravity that is created by installing the T-shaped battery pack along what would be the transmission tunnel in a conventional car.

The Ampera has a range of 350 miles before it needs refuelling and a notional thirst of 175mpg on a long journey which translates to carbon dioxide emissions of about 40g/km. Most of the time, however, the car will run without any need for the petrol engine, the batteries needing only three hours’ charging from a domestic socket to deliver 40 miles of electric-only running. GM reckons that the cost of an electrically driven Ampera mile is a fifth of a petrol-driven mile in an ordinary car. Used daily for a 40-mile commute, the Ampera could save its owner more than £2,000 a year given European petrol prices. As for reliability, the battery is guaranteed against any failure for 10 years. Some of the strain is taken off it by software that stops it being depleted to less that 30% of its capacity before the generator starts working, and prevents it ever being charged to more than 80%. Apart from the battery, there’s nothing much to go wrong, and servicing will be at intervals of around 20,000 miles.

On Target: Turns Out Liberals Have Money

Target is in trouble, and would be wise to stay out of politics.

$150,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

From the Associated Press:

Protesters have been rallying outside Target Corp. or its stores almost daily since the retailer angered gay rights supporters and progressives by giving money to help a conservative Republican gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota. Liberal groups are pushing to make an example of the company, hoping its woes will deter other businesses from putting their corporate funds into elections.

A national gay rights group is negotiating with Target officials, demanding that the firm balance the scale by making comparable donations to benefit candidates it favors. Meanwhile, the controversy is threatening to complicate Target’s business plans in other urban markets. Several city officials in San Francisco, one of the cities where Target hopes to expand, have begun criticizing the company.

"Target is receiving criticism and frustration from their customers because they are doing something wrong, and that should serve absolutely as an example for other companies," said Ilyse Hogue, director of political advocacy for the liberal group, which is pressing Target to formally renounce involvement in election campaigns.

Conservatives are all in a huff and don’t want Target to back off.

As I said, Target needs to stay out of politics all together.

Media Matters Demands Advertisers Immediately Drop Dr. Laura

Press Release from Media Matters for America:

Media Matters for America President Eric Burns released the following statement in the wake of Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s racist outburst on the air:

“Dr. Laura’s offensive outburst provided listeners with a window into her true beliefs about race in America. By deliberately choosing to sponsor her program, Dr. Laura’s advertisers are not only funding her offensive radio show, but are implicitly endorsing its content. Companies must demonstrate that they won’t tolerate bigotry and immediately stop advertising on her show.”

Major companies who recently purchased ad time during Dr. Laura’s show include Pfizer, Chase Bank, Netflix, Motel 6, and Home Depot.

Yow.  I have a Netflix account, and may just have to drop it.

Home Depot?  Say it isn’t so.

Drop her now.

Violence Escalates at Taste of Chicago

If you’re going to the Taste of Chicago, be careful.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Three teens — including a 15-year-old boy who was seriously hurt, and two others who got caught in a “melee” — were stabbed near the Taste of Chicago Thursday night.

In an apparently unrelated incident around the same time and at the same Loop intersection where the boy was seriously hurt, police officers Tased a man.

The boy was walking down the street with a group of friends in the 200 block of South State Street when they encountered a group of males fighting about 9:25 p.m., according to police News Affairs Officer Ronald Gaines.

The boy felt a pain in the back and realized he had been stabbed, Gaines said.

Police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said the male stabbed is 15 years old.

That stabbing happened near the intersection of Jackson Boulevard and State Street and one person was taken in serious condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital about 9:18 p.m., Fire Media Affairs spokesman Joe Roccasalva said.

The Tribune called it a "rowdy night."

That’s an understatement:

Some people attending the Taste reported other violence, which apparently brought out a large contingent of riot-clad police to the area.

Taja Jarrett, 20, was getting out of her retail job in the Loop at 8 p.m. when she said she first noticed large crowds in the area. She and Shanice Brown, 17, were planning to check out the Taste  festivities when they saw a fight break out near one of the entrances.

The two walked west to Dearborn Street where they encountered another large brawl. They also saw an increased police presence, including officers on horses, ATVs, on foot and in cars. Dozens of helmeted on all-terrain vehicles ushered a large crowd west on Jackson Boulevard away from Grant Park.

Other reports are coming in from friends on Facebook of people getting caught in the middle of fights on Metra trains coming from the Taste.

Be careful.