Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
You can read it here.
But, here's a little piece that I found interesting:
True, Palin made some embarrassing gaffes.Interesting, ain't it? Yet, Palin's been called every variation of "stupid" that liberals could think of, just like they did to Bush over his Yale grades ... never mentioning that their pick, John Kerry, did even worse in school.
She complained that we didn’t have enough “Arabic translators” in Afghanistan -- not realizing the natives don’t speak Arabic in Afghanistan, but rather a variety of regional dialects, the most common of which is Pashtun.
Speaking to military veterans one time, Palin said, “Our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today.”
She bragged about passing a law regulating the nuclear industry that it turned out never became a law at all.
Some days Palin said Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chavez should suffer "regional isolation" -- but then on others she’d say she supported the president’s meeting with Chavez.
She told one audience about recent tornados in Kansas that had killed 10,000 people. In fact, a dozen people were killed in the tornados.
She referred to the “57 states” that make up the U.S.
Speaking of her eldest daughter’s pregnancy, she said Bristol was being “punished” with a baby.
As you probably know -- or guessed by now -- none of these gaffes were uttered by Palin. They are all Obama gaffes. Luckily, he made them to a star-struck press that managed not to ask him a difficult question for two years.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Here's the story:
A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince lawmakers to freeze their own pay.
Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase, amounting to an additional $2.5 million that taxpayers will spend on congressional salaries, and watchdog groups are not happy about it.
“As lawmakers make a big show of forcing auto executives to accept just $1 a year in salary, they are quietly raiding the vault for their own personal gain,” said Daniel O’Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a non-partisan group. “This money would be much better spent helping the millions of seniors who are living below the poverty line and struggling to keep their heat on this winter.”
However, at 2.8 percent, the automatic raise that lawmakers receive is only half as large as the 2009 cost of living adjustment of Social Security recipients.
Still, Steve Ellis, vice president of the budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, said Congress should have taken the rare step of freezing its pay, as lawmakers did in 2000.
“Look at the way the economy is and how most people aren’t counting on a holiday bonus or a pay raise — they’re just happy to have gainful employment,” said Ellis. “But you have the lawmakers who are set up and ready to get their next installment of a pay raise and go happily along their way.”
Member raises are often characterized as examples of wasteful spending, especially when many constituents and businesses in members’ districts are in financial despair.
Rep. Harry Mitchell, a first-term Democrat from Arizona, sponsored legislation earlier this year that would have prevented the automatic pay adjustments from kicking in for members next year. But the bill, which attracted 34 cosponsors, failed to make it out of committee.
“They don’t even go through the front door. They have it set up so that it’s wired so that you actually have to undo the pay raise rather than vote for a pay raise,” Ellis said.
Freezing congressional salaries is hardly a new idea on Capitol Hill.
Lawmakers have floated similar proposals in every year dating back to 1995, and long before that. Though the concept of forgoing a raise has attracted some support from more senior members, it is most popular with freshman lawmakers, who are often most vulnerable.
In 2006, after the Republican-led Senate rejected an increase to the minimum wage, Democrats, who had just come to power in the House with a slew of freshmen, vowed to block their own pay raise until the wage increase was passed. The minimum wage was eventually increased and lawmakers received their automatic pay hike.
In the beginning days of 1789, Congress was paid only $6 a day, which would be about $75 daily by modern standards. But by 1965 members were receiving $30,000 a year, which is the modern equivalent of about $195,000.
Currently the average lawmaker makes $169,300 a year, with leadership making slightly more. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) makes $217,400, while the minority and majority leaders in the House and Senate make $188,100.
Ellis said that while freezing the pay increase would be a step in the right direction, it would be better to have it set up so that members would have to take action, and vote, for a pay raise and deal with the consequences, rather than get one automatically.
“It is probably never going to be politically popular to raise Congress’s salary,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to find taxpayers saying, ‘Yeah I think I should pay my congressman more’.”