Words of the Week

Lots of interesting turns of phrase this week.
For example, did you know there is an “anxiety index?” Perhaps it is related to the misery index we all experienced under Jimmy Carter. Pollster Frank Luntz asks questions to determine this, connecting it to the right track/wrong track measurements. Seems like it is high and climbing.
The Weiner saga continues to be a fertile linguistics field. Greta Van Susteren, Fox host, concluded he “sexted himself out of the mayoral race.” Maybe she said “sexed”; either would be appropriate.
Neil Cavuto on his show referred to the “fess up” four days after the Weiner denial. “Fess up” has a good feel to it and probably should always follow a mess up.
“Cyber harem” was another phrase spawned by Weiner’s peccadilloes. Hasn’t twitter and facebook brought a whole new dimension to politics?
Second to Weiner, Newt Gingrich had his own linguistics tango. Particularly good: “Newtiny” when his entire staff up and left him and “Newtered” what he did to his own campaign. National Review’s “Newt Is Moot” good, too.
Our biggest trouble spot, the economy, lead to “screwflation.” Hedge Fund expert Doug Kass explains it’s like stagflation with a dash of inflation. Lower interest rates hurt savers like the retired and elderly and then combine with the high cost of food and energy, screwing the average American. Sounds about right.

Weiner Relished Other Scandals

Before he had a scandal of his own, Congressman Weiner went on the Imus program and commented on others’ indiscretions. I bet he feels a little differently about it now.

Before he had a scandal of his own, Congressman Weiner went on the Imus program and commented on others’ indiscretions. I bet he feels a little differently about it now.

Watergate Type Scandal Brewing?

On Monday, Congressman Darrel Issa (R-CA) will begin hearings on a very important program that has ramifications all the way to the White House.

The Chairman of the House Government Affairs and Oversight Committee wants answers from the Justice Department concerning Operation Fast and Furious, aka Project Gunrunner, run in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. It was this undercover program that has left a trail of blood from Mexico to Washington, D.C. It was implicated in the murder of American Border Agent Brian Terry in December. One of the guns used in this program was found at the murder scene.

Here’s a brief overview of what this is all about:

Darrel Issa explained his concerns to radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt last week:

“It was really about knowingly, deliberately letting guns be sold to straw purchasers who were going to supply them to the narco-terorist groups on both sides of the border, and they did. And even at our discovery, our investigation which is now 20 subpoenas, incredible amounts of depositions, leading up to the office of the Attorney General, has shown us that this was authorized at the highest level. They regret that it went badly, that two American agents are now dead, and countless Mexicans are dead and 2,000 weapons, 1,600 of them are still unaccounted for. They regret it, but they’re probably still doing similar programs. And that’s why this is such a big thing. If you think you can let guns walk in order to ‘lead to the bad guys’ you’re missing the whole point of law enforcement. You don’t let drugs walk, you don’t let the money walk, you don’t let guns walk. You do that, you’re part of the crime.”

Issa believes people in the DOJ are behind it and they have used all kinds of delaying tactics, stonewalling and they have refused voluntary depositions. He has been forced to issue subpoenas for testimony.

Fox News reports that “Justice officials are in panic mode as hearing nears on failed anti-gun trafficking program.” Aside from the two agents’ deaths, reporter William La Jeunesse writes that “the casualties are coming in. Mexican officials estimate 150 of their people have been shot by Fast and Furious guns…A high powered sniper rifle was used to shoot down a Mexican military helicopter. Two other Romanian made AK-47s were found in a shoot-out that left 11 dead in the state of Jalisco three weeks ago. The guns were traced to the Lone Wolf Gun Store in Glendale, Ariz., and were sold only after the store employees were told to do so by the ATF. Arizona gun store owners say they were explicitly told by the ATF to sell the guns, sometimes 20, 30 even up to 40 in a single day to a single person. And those orders, from at least one ATF case agent, are on audio recording.”

Issa believes the trail of this fiasco could lead to Attorney General Eric Holder and perhaps all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Get up to speed with this story and keep an eye out for it. Watergate took almost two years to unravel. This time the media might not be so eager to out the players. Issa, however, seems determined to do just that.

Still a Bumpy Ride

Today’s jobless report was – again – unexpected by analysts. These “experts” wishcast a decline in the weekly claims, but they got an increase of 1,000 to 427,000. However, that’s not really true either. After the data was announced last week it was later revised upward from 422,000 to 426,000 which means today’s number is actually 5,000 more than last Thursday.
When you think that 427,000 new people are showing up at the unemployment office it’s like an entire small city finding its occupants without jobs. This has been happening week after week for years now. That is a very sobering number.
Another bad economic sign today is the announcement by the USDA that the corn crop suffered more than they thought with the cold, rain and flooding. “It will keep U.S. corn supplies at their tightest level in 15 years, through the fall of 2012,” the government says. Surging China demand doesn’t help either.
In the housing market, Robert Shiller of the Case Shiller index sees a 10-25% decline in home prices possible.
President Obama said we are experiencing a few bumps in the road, but this seems more like boulders in the road.

Summer Reading List

A very important book came out a week ago. It’s called “Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon.” The authors are New York Times writer Gretchen Morgenson and housing analyst Joshua Rosner.
If you’ve wondered how we got to the financial situation we now find ourselves in, this book purports to explain it. The authors lay the blame on Fannie Mae and the Federal Reserve plus the politicians and Wall Street executives. They do not hold back on who’s at fault. Jim Johnson, CEO at Fannie Mae, Congressman Barney Frank, ACORN and “see no bubble mentality” Tim Geithner are major players. Former Treasury Secretary John Snow and the Bush administration aligned with Fannie’s opponents, but were unable to stop the slide. If you recall, President Bush tried five times to reign in and overhaul Fannie, but never got cooperation.
Democrat Pollster Pat Caddell has said so damning is this book for Democrats that if the public realizes what has been happening, that party will have difficulty ever recovering political power.
Don’t confuse this book with another “Reckless Endangerment.” One by Robert Tanenbaum pops up when googling and sadly, our public library has a copy of this mystery, but not the financial book. It’s a trend I have noticed when trying to find other new conservative books at the library.
This book is a must read and will help us all understand what happened and then vote accordingly.

Nickas Addresses Midtown Meeting

Adam Nikas
Touting the “most meaningful legislative accomplishments in the shortest amount of time,” Adam Nickas described the successful first session of the new Republican majority Tennessee legislature to members of the Midtown Republican Club last night. The executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party, Nickas elaborated on what was done.

“The budget was cut by a billion,” he said, “with 70 million put aside for a rainy day fund. They lifted the cap on charter schools, increased teacher tenure from 3 to 5 years, enacted meaningful torte reform and Governor Haslam just signed a tough new meth law.”

All this happened because “we flipped 14 seats in the state house,” Nickas said, and grew our majority in the state senate. The Tennessee Republican party played a big part in it by recruiting candidates with solid conservative credentials, helping plan campaigns, volunteering and making phone calls.

It is something they will be actively doing again next year, this time including the presidential race.

“Obama can be defeated,” Nickas said. “We will be asking, ‘are you better off than you were four years ago?’ With gas prices doubling, the housing market getting worse, a May jobs report of 9.1% unemployment and the average time it takes to find a new job at 40 weeks, the answer is no.

“The president says we hit a bump in the road, but it’s more like a dead end road,” he said.

Nickas, who helps lead seminars on campaign tactics and strategies around the state, promises that Memphis will be hosting one in the near future. “I’m working with (Shelby GOP Chair) Justin Joy to schedule a seminar here in August,” he said.

When the date is determined, our club will provide the information. As Nickas indicated it will be a helpful tool for all of us in Shelby County.

Candidate Kelly Price

A new candidate for Memphis City Council District 7 introduced himself at the Midtown Republican Club.
Kelly Price, an African American retired from a 21 year stint in the Army, will be challenging Barbara Swearengen Ware for the seat she has held for 16 years. She is currently under indictment on misconduct charges.
Mr. Price outlined his platform and detailed his love of Memphis and desire to move it forward.
“I have five children and two grandchildren and my wife and I do not want to see young people moving out of this great city,” he said.
Of his district, which includes Frayser, New Chicago, Douglass, downtown and other parts of North Memphis, Price wants to “get to know the people in the North Memphis area and have the police department back in the community. I want to bring training centers back to North Memphis to have training in green jobs, GED and job skill training.” On the economy, Price wants to “start to develop entrepreneurship with start up businesses…I want to energize the community to get involved in cleaning up, securing and creating a community for success.”
Mr. Price was an impressive speaker and will make a great Republican candidate.
You can read more about him at kellypricedistrict7.com, follow him on twitter at kpricedistrict7 and on facebook.

The Better Deal

FDR launched his New Deal, Teddy Roosevelt the Square Deal and Truman the Fair Deal. Tim Pawlenty is offering the Better Deal.
In an economic address at the University of Chicago this morning, the Republican presidential hopeful laid out his case. It is red meat for Conservatives and Republicans.
Saying that “markets work. Barack Obama’s central planning doesn’t,” Pawlenty criticized an economy that “is not even growing at 2% today and that’s what all projections say we can expect for the next decade. That’s not acceptable. It’s not the American way.” Pawlenty is aiming for 5% growth to work our way to jobs and prosperity.
How to get there?
First, he highlighted tackling D.C.’s “out of control spending.” He would cut 1% of federal spending each year for the next 6 resulting in a balanced budget by 2017.
Then, he would replace the federal tax code with a “flatter, fairer tax system.” Pawlenty would call for an income tax of 10% on the first $50,000 earned, with $100,000 for married couples. Above that he would tax 25%.
He would aim for a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, but also eliminate many of the loopholes that save a company like GE from paying any tax at all. His plan would eliminate the capital gains tax, interest in income tax, dividends and estate taxes. He would sunset many federal regulations as well.
Pawlenty says he would use a “Google test” to see if private businesses can be found on the internet that would perform the same functions government ones do. If they do, “the government doesn’t need to be doing it!” In the crosshairs would be the Postal Service, Amtrak and Freddie and Fannie.
As for entitlement spending, the former Minnesota governor would raise the Social Security retirement age for the next generation. He would cap and block grant Medicaid to the states as well.
“The president is satisfied with a second rate American economy produced by his third rate policies. I am not.”
As a successful governor, Pawlenty has a lot of experience on his side. His plan is worth a look.

The New Tone

After the Gabby Giffords shooting, President Obama called for a new, more civil tone.
Too bad some of his followers don’t want to follow his advice.
“Comedian” Christopher Titus said on the Adam Corolla show that he opposes Sarah Palin. He wants to stop her from becoming president, even if it means violence.
“”You know what, man? I am going to literally – if she gets elected president, I am going to hang out on the grassy knoll all the time, just loaded and ready – because you know what? It’s for my country. If I got to sacrifice myself, it’s for my country.”
I guess that’s the loyal opposition.