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Story #1: US House Unexpectedly Defeats Spending Bill

"The US House of Representatives unexpectedly defeated a bill that would fund the federal government past Sept. 30 on Wednesday as dozens of Republicans broke with their party to push for deeper spending cuts." When I saw this, I said, what in the name of Sam Hill is this?  Didn't we just fix this through the end of the year, barring what the super committee does?  Didn't we just raise the debt ceiling?  And, yes, we did.  But guess what?  This is another one of those continuing resolutions that exists purely because neither the Democrats nor Obama have presented a budget. 

Reuters has written this.  This is supposed to be a news article, it's more like an editorial.  At issue here is a bill that increases government spending by another $24 billion over what was agreed to five months ago.  The bill failed by a vote of 195 to 230, but somehow -- and I'm sure you've detected this -- somehow it is the 48 Republicans who voted against the bill who are the blame for this.  The conservative Republicans bashed for not compromising even though five times the number of Democrats voted against the bill as did Republicans, and Republicans want to cut spending further, the Democrats want to double it and not pay for any of it with matching spending cuts.  But they're not the problem, to Reuters and everybody, no, no, no, it's these 48 Republicans that Boehner lost control of, they're saying. 

This is a fascinating thing because what's really happened here, these 48 Tea Party Republicans have actually changed their minds since April.  In April, when Paul Ryan presented his budget, they signed on to it and were all for it.  Many of the people who were voting for the Ryan budget back in April, with this vote yesterday, have signaled that they're now abandoning the Ryan budget and running from it.  They want even more spending cuts.  Now, that tells me that these Tea Party people are damn serious and they are listening to their voters, they're listening to the people, and they understand the problem.  They're dissatisfied with their leadership.  I think Reuters is right to look at these 48 as the problem but they're totally missing why.  These 48 are dead serious about the problem.  They didn't really change their minds so much, the bill adds new spending.  But they have signaled that the Ryan budget, they didn't say this, but they've signaled the Ryan budget is no longer their cup of tea. 

There's $24 billion in new spending for FEMA, basically, for disaster spending in this thing.  And, of course, the possibility of a government shutdown is mentioned by Reuters in this story and others, and of course, if that happens, scientific research and health care and National Parks would be shutdown.  It's the same paragraph cut and pasted in every other government shutdown story that there is.  So the Democrats want to double the amount of disaster aid in the bill and make sure that there's no spending cuts associated with it, and the FEMA guys are running around saying they're out of money and this, that, and the other thing. 

But I have to tell you I was shocked when I heard this 'cause like everybody else, I thought, wait, I thought we did this.  Why are we voting on the debt limit again?  Why are we voting on anything to do with the budget?  I thought we did this through the end of the year.  We didn't.  Democrats want more spending and the House leadership was prepared to go along with it.  It's just $24 billion, and these 48 are saying, "Hey, where are the spending cuts?  Ever heard of PAYGO?"  What did happen to PAYGO, by the way? 


Story #2: Shell Gets Alaska Drilling Go-Ahead from EPA

Here's a shocker for you.  "Shell Gets Alaska Drilling Go-Ahead from EPA -- Shell Oil is set to tap Alaska's vast oil reserves now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final air quality permit to allow exploration development north of the Arctic Circle. The permit allows Shell to set up its Noble Discoverer drillship in the Chukchi Sea along with a fleet of support vessels including icebreakers and oil-spill response crafts. The company will be allowed to operate them no more than 120 days annually starting in 2012. The permit sets strict air pollution control limits on the drilling equipment."

So for an entire four month period an unelected regulatory body is allowing a private business to work.  You probably go, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, what happened? Good news here."  Yeah, but look at it a different way, the EPA, unelected regulatory bunch, "Yeah, we'll let you drill four months out of the year."  Who are they?  Well, they have immense power.  But there's a sentence in this story:  "Environmental groups are enraged at EPA's decision."  Now, the hitch always has been pollution from their boats.  That's what the EPA has used to shut this down up 'til now.  Air pollution from their boats, not the oil, not the possibility of spills, air pollution from the boats.  And the denial, the EPA's denial of the permit up to now was based on computer models.  They had a bunch of computer models which predicted what the air pollution would be from the support vessels and the actual drilling rig.  I don't know where they got the models.  I have no idea. 


Story #3: Netflix CEO Apologizes for Price Structure Change

Snerdley, are you a Netflix customer?  Dawn?  Brian?  I'm not, either.  There's a story about Netflix in big trouble here because they changed their pricing structure, and I don't use it, so when I saw the story and the original controversy erupt, I was, "I don't care, I don't use the product," but I looked into it, and this is a teachable moment here.  The founder of Netflix is now running around apologizing for not realizing how his customers would react to a major price increase and change in subscription plans.  Apparently 600,000 customers have said "no" to the change, and the stock price of Netflix took a nosedive. 

Now, the founder of Netflix is a guy named Reed Hastings.  He's got a successful company here, but he admits to not realizing how his customers would react to a major price increase and change in subscription plans.  I guess he didn't do any market research in advance, just came out with a decision.  There are people out there who believe that central planners like this Elizabeth Warren babe, or Barack Obama, many members of the Obama regime, ought to make winners, pick the winners and losers, figure out who the winners ought to be, who the losers ought to be, what the price of anything ought to be, the supply, demand, all of that should be done by central planners, people in government.  These are the people that know best. 

Here's an example of it.  Here's a guy in the private sector who is actually acting like a central planner, just dictating his own business, his own company.  But what an astounding mistake here to make.  "Taken to task for splitting the formerly unlimited DVD and streaming options into two categories and bumping the price by 60 percent, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings offered a very public mea culpa in a missive to nearly 25 million subscribers and with an open letter on the company's website.  With thousands of members taking to the blogosphere in outrage, the stock price tanking and third-quarter guidance revised downward by 1 million subscribers, Hastings apologized for his 'arrogance' in fumbling communication of the plan when it was announced in July."
Now, this is a classic example of central planning in the private sector. It's exactly how central planning happens, a bunch of people who think they know what they're doing.  The difference here is that the customers of the company were able to raise hell and get out of it if they didn't like the price.  Central planners in government make a mistake like this with every winner or loser they pick.  Hello, Solyndra, and we are stuck with the bill and we can't do anything about it. 


Story #4: Breitbart Uncovers E-Mail from Palin Author

Andrew Breitbart has a piece today on one of his websites.  This book that's out about Sarah Palin by Joe McGinniss, McGinnis has sent e-mails to people admitting he has no proof for anything that he's asserted, or some of the most explosive things.  And Breitbart publishes one of the e-mails.

"In the email below, sent in January of 2011, McGinniss reveals that his manuscript, then under legal review at Crown/Random House, could not prove its most headline-grabbing allegations. And yet, many of these 'salacious stories' that lacked 'proof' (in McGinniss’s own words) ended up in the book, and on televisions everywhere during the author’s current media tour … without proper sourcing, and without any apparent new evidence to support them."

Now, this looks like the makings of a very lucrative lawsuit, and Breitbart says, "Was Random House aware that its prized author was making a desperate overtime bid to save face? And, if so, why did it allow him to come forth with most of those tawdry accusations without proof or proper sourcing?" And the e-mail from McGinniss is to a guy named Jesse Griffin, who is the author of another low-rent anti-Palin blog that's now defunct who was obsessed over the paternity of Trig Palin.  So McGinniss is writing e-mails to this guy. 

"Dear Jesse:  Legal review of my manuscript is underway and here’s my problem: no one has ever offered documentation of any of the lurid stories about the Palins." And this is the guy that rented a house next door to 'em and the book gets published and there's no sourcing, there is no solid backup for any of the salacious allegations in the book.  I'm not surprised.  You can get ticked off about stuff like this, but it's just desperation.  These people are telling us who they are afraid of, and they'll stoop to anything. They'll even sacrifice their own integrity and character if it requires it.


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