This may seem petty, but I don’t like Obama’s changes to the Oval Office. While the family was on vacation, the oval office was getting a makeover. The new carpet features quotes from Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Kennedy, and MLK.
The carpet isn’t what bothers me. It’s the couches and pillows, which make the room look more like a living room than an office.
The happiest person in all of this is probably Fmr. Pres. Bush, who now gets the old carpet that Laura designed for the room. It will probably find its way into his Presidential Library.
The environmentalist wackos who fill the offices at the EPA have come up with a better way to rate automotive fuel economy and emissions. Believing that Americans are too stupid to realize that large trucks get worse fuel mileage and emit more carbon dioxide than smaller cars, the EPA has constructed a way to give vehicles a “report card” of sorts. From the Wall Street Journal:
The proposed new rules, released jointly Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department, would be the most substantial change in 30 years to the familiar price-and-mileage labels affixed to the windows of new cars at dealerships.
Currently, the labels must show how many miles per gallon a car gets and its estimated annual fuel cost. Under the proposed changes, a new label design would carry a large letter grade assigned by regulators.
Under the system, the only cars that would receive an A-plus, A or A-minus would be electrics and plug-in hybrids, the government said.
Many compact and midsize vehicles would get Bs, while bigger and more powerful models such as sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks would get Cs or C-minuses because they burn more petroleum and pump out more carbon dioxide, officials said.
Robert Gibbs is Obama’s Press Secretary. In that role, he answers questions from the media during weekday press briefings. He also goes on morning news programs every so often to reach a larger audience. The conventional wisdom in Washington is that Mr. Gibbs is a very smart man and the most influential Press Secretary in recent memory (in the sense that he, unlike many Press Secretaries, also has a larger role as a policy adviser).
However, I think he sucks at his job. His briefings are boring, he allows the front rows of the briefing room to dominate the briefings (as opposed to allowing other news organizations, which sit farther back, to ask more questions), and he is incredibly arrogant.
Here it is, the second KaibCast VideoCast. My radio show will launch soon…
This morning’s USA Today featured an alarming article which reveals a record number of Americans are receiving anti-poverty assistance.
WASHINGTON — Government anti-poverty programs that have grown to meet the needs of recession victims now serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand.
More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, the federal-state program aimed principally at the poor, a survey of state data by USA TODAY shows. That’s up at least 17% since the recession began in December 2007.
More than 40 million people get food stamps, an increase of nearly 50% during the economic downturn, according to government data through May. The program has grown steadily for three years.
Caseloads have risen as more people become eligible. The economic stimulus law signed by President Obama last year also boosted benefits.
—But wait, there’s more—
Close to 10 million receive unemployment insurance, nearly four times the number from 2007. Benefits have been extended by Congress eight times beyond the basic 26-week program, enabling the long-term unemployed to get up to 99 weeks of benefits. Caseloads peaked at nearly 12 million in January — “the highest numbers on record,” says Christine Riordan of the National Employment Law Project, which advocates for low-wage workers.
More than 4.4 million people are on welfare, an 18% increase during the recession. The program has grown slower than others, causing Brookings Institution expert Ron Haskins to question its effectiveness in the recession.
As caseloads for all the programs have soared, so have costs. The federal price tag for Medicaid has jumped 36% in two years, to $273 billion. Jobless benefits have soared from $43 billion to $160 billion. The food stamps program has risen 80%, to $70 billion. Welfare is up 24%, to $22 billion. Taken together, they cost more than Medicare.
By now, you’ve probably seen and heard a lot about Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally. You may have heard the crowd size was somewhere in the tens of thousands (It was actually at least 300,000). You also may have heard the event was more “religious revival” than political rally (since when was discussing God in public a bad thing?). And you may have heard the audience was mostly old, white, tea party goers (I saw a diverse crowd with people of all ages).
Unlike some commentators and pundits, who’ve reacted to the event without even being there, I have a first-hand account of what happened on the National Mall. Because I had never attended a rally prior to yesterday, I have the advantage of not prejudging the event based on past-experiences, although I will openly admit that I am in virtual agreement on political and moral issues with the majority of “Restoring Honor” attendees.