Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Are “budget cuts” to blame for the CDC’s inept handling of Ebola?

Investors Business Daily tells the truth.

Excerpt:

There haven’t been any real cuts to those budgets at all. At least not in the sense that any American household would recognize.

The CDC’s budget today is 25% bigger than it was in 2008 and 188% bigger than in 2000. The NIH budget has been flat for the past few years, but at a level that’s more than double what it was 14 years ago.

Plus, spending at both of these agencies has actually been higher than President Obama himself proposed (see chart). The 2014 NIH budget, in fact, is almost $1 billion bigger than Obama sought in his budget plan, released in early 2010.

True, the heads of these agencies are decrying cuts. But that’s what government officials always do, even as their budgets continue to grow. Besides, the CDC and NIH are desperate to point the finger of blame somewhere other than their own incompetence.

Even if there has been some cutting here and there at these agencies, it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of fat to trim.

If the NIH was really so concerned about developing an Ebola vaccine, for example, it could have directed more grant money to that effort, rather than wasting it researching such things as diseases among male sex workers in Peru ($400,000), why chimps throw feces ($600,000) and sexual attraction among fruit flies (nearly $1 million).

The CDC isn’t much better at husbanding its resources. A few years ago, it dumped $106 million into a swanky visitors’ center in Atlanta, even though it already had one. It bought $10 million worth of furniture for its lavish new headquarters and spent $1.7 million to advise Hollywood on medical plots.

Yes, the federal government has blown it on Ebola. But that’s not because the relevant agencies have too little money to spend. It’s the result of unfocused missions, bureaucratic bloat and a shameful lack of accountability.

I think that this Ebola crisis is an excellent reminder to us why we should not trust government to be accountable to people. We were told that the government was going to handle this, and there was nothing to worry about. But now we know that there has been mistake after mistake. We were told that Ebola could not spread, but now two nurses have it. It’s another case of the government saying one thing, but the opposite is actually true. If we’re going to have government, we should at least have competent government, and that certainly is not a Democrat government.

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Conservative Party of Canada on track to deliver budget surplus in 2015

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Conservative Party)

Story from Yahoo News about the results delivered by the Conservative Party of Canada.

Note: To understand the numbers in the article, simply multiple the numbers by 10 to compare with American numbers – Canada’s economy is about 1/10 the size of ours. For example, our GDP is $15.7 trillion and theirs is $1.8 trillion. Our national debt is $17 trillion, while their’s is $1.2 trillion.

Excerpt:

Canada’s Conservative government looks set to comfortably balance its books in 2015 or even sooner, its latest budget showed on Tuesday, with cuts in spending on the public service more than offsetting a series of modest new expenditures.

The low-key spending plan leaves Prime Minister Stephen Harper well-positioned to offer tax breaks and other initiatives in the runup to an election scheduled for October next year.

“Some people will say this budget is boring,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters ahead of the budget speech. “Boring is good.”

The budget shows a deficit of C$2.9 billion ($2.63 billion)in the 2014-15 fiscal year, up from the previous estimate of C$5.5 billion. That balance includes a C$3 billion contingency fund, which in fact reveals an underlying surplus that year.

Flaherty acknowledged the budget would be narrowly balanced this coming year without the contingency fund, but said he preferred to have a “nice clean surplus next year”.

The government estimates a bigger-than-expected C$6.4 billion surplus in 2015-16. In the year ending March 31 of this year, the deficit is pegged at C$16.6 billion.

[...]Flaherty, who is 64 and battling a rare skin disease, has staked his reputation on eliminating Canada’ small deficit, equivalent to about 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and restoring the reputation the country had before the global financial crisis as having the strongest fiscal record in the Group of Seven major economies.

Germany is currently the only G7 country running a surplus, but Canada’s ratio of debt to GDP is substantially less and it is one of a handful of countries with a triple-A rating from rating agencies.

Canada is beating us in debt to GDP:

G7 Debt to GDP as of 2013

G7 % Debt to GDP as of 2012 (lower is better)

Canada is beating us in economic growth:

G7 GDP growth for 2013

G7 % GDP growth from 2007 to 2012 (higher is better)

Source: BBC Business

The next Canadian election is in 2015. I know that the Liberal Party is currently leading in the polls, but I found some good news. The Canadians just redistricted after their census, and there are 30 new electoral districts. If the same turnout occurs in 2015 which occurred in the 2011 election, then the Conservative Party of Canada would get 22 out of 30 of those new seats. However, I am concerned. I want Harper to keep his majority, as he and Tony Abbott (Australia) are two bright conservative stars who show people what conservatives can do. 

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State department: not building the Keystone XL pipeline could increase greenhouse gas emissions

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

Not building the 875-mile Keystone XL Pipeline could result in the release of up to 42 percent more greenhouse gases than would be released by building it, according to the State Department.

Not building the pipeline “is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the [Canadian] oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States,” the department noted in a long-awaited environmental report released January 31st.

But the “No Build” option is likely to result in an increased number of oil spills, six more deaths annually, and up to 42 percent higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the State Department concluded.

The proposed 36-inch pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil each day from western Canada through the Bakken oil fields of Montana and South Dakota before connecting to an existing pipeline in Nebraska on its way to Gulf Coast refineries.

The project will create an estimated 42,100 jobs and add $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy.

This report follows last week’s report showing that the pipeline would have no major environmental impact.

Excerpt:

The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a major hurdle toward approval Friday, a serious blow to environmentalists’ hopes that President Barack Obama will block the controversial project running more than 1,000 miles from Canada through the heart of the U.S.

The State Department reported no major environmental objections to the proposed $7 billion pipeline, which has become a symbol of the political debate over climate change. Republicans and some oil- and gas-producing states in the U.S. — as well as Canada’s minister of natural resources — cheered the report, but it further rankled environmentalists already at odds with Obama and his energy policy.

Now the State Department is one of the most liberal departments in the government. Unfortunately, this has not appeased the great climate science experts in Hollywood, who donate so much money to Democrat election campaigns. So long as the money keeps flowing from the high school drop-out celebrities, don’t expect this pipeline to get built. For the Democrats, it’s all about staying in power.

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Solar energy firm leaves behind toxic mess after wasting millions in stimulus funding

Dad sent me this article about the Democrat energy policy from Fox News.

Excerpt:

A Colorado-based solar company that got hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loan guarantees before going belly-up didn’t just empty taxpayers’ wallets – it left behind a toxic mess of carcinogens, broken glass and contaminated water, according to a new report.

The Abound Solar plant, which got $400 million in federal loan guarantees in 2010, when the Obama administration sought to use stimulus funds to promote green energy, filed for bankruptcy two years later. Now its Longmont, Colo., facility sits unoccupied, its 37,000 square feet littered with hazardous waste, broken glass and contaminated water. The Northern Colorado Business Report estimates it will cost up to $3.7 million to clean and repair the building so it can again be leased.

“As lawyers, regulators, bankruptcy officials and the landlord spar over the case, the building lies in disrepair, too contaminated to lease,” the report stated.

[...]One of the hazards is the presence of cadmium, a cancer-causing agent that is used to produce the film on the solar panels, the report said.

[...]“If a coal, oil or gas company pulled something like that the EPA would send out SWAT teams and the U.S. Marshals to track down the offenders, bankrupt or not,” the center said in a report of its own.

President Obama touted Abound in a July 3, 2010 announcement of a $2 billion “investment” in green energy projects.

Here’s another trustworthy promise from Dear Leader:

“The second company is Abound Solar Manufacturing, which will manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs,” Obama said. “A Colorado plant is already underway, and an Indiana plant will be built in what’s now an empty Chrysler factory. When fully operational, these plants will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year.”

But less than two years later, the company laid off half of its 400 workers, and then, in the summer of 2012, filed for bankruptcy. It became the third clean-energy company to seek bankruptcy protection after receiving a loan from the Energy Department under the economic stimulus law. California solar panel maker Solyndra and Beacon Power, a Massachusetts energy-storage firm, also declared bankruptcy. Solyndra received a $528 million federal loan, while Beacon Power got a $43 million loan guarantee.

Why did Abound Solar get these loans? Because they had connections in the Democrat Party – that’s why.

Excerpt:

Abound Solar further claims $260 million in private investments, part of which came from billionaire medical heiress Pat Stryker’s Bohemian Companies.  This is where the story gets interesting.

Thanks to Independence Institute investigative reporter Todd Shepherd, we still have access to the Web page that lists Bohemian as an investor even though it does not appear on the company’s current Web site. The exact amount that Stryker has given is not public at this time.

[...]Forbes lists medical heiress and founder of Bohemian Companies/Foundation Pat Stryker as number 331 of its top “400 Richest People in America.” Worth $1.3 billion, the Fort Collins resident could single-handedly fund Abound Solar and still be well above the poverty line.

While some of her fortune has gone to Abound Solar, she also has chosen to donate more than $2.2 million (probably a low figure) to Democrats and their causes over the last several election cycles. Beneficiaries include Barack Obama, one-term Congresswoman and Fort Collins resident Betsy Markey, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar when he successfully ran for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

The Washington Examiner published e-mails showing that the White House was directly involved in granting loans.

Excerpt:

Previously undisclosed emails made public today by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee describe multiple instances of White House pressure on career Department of Energy officials to speed up approval of government loans to clean energy firms like Solyndra and Abound Solar.

President Obama is described in one of the emails as having personally approved “moving it ahead,” thus reversing a prior decision by DOE career officials not to extend $2 billion in tax-funded help to AREVA, a French nuclear power company, on an Idaho project.

[...]In another email made public today by the House panel, Silver instructed McCrea to tell a Treasury Department official of White House support for DOE help to Abound Solar.

“You better let him know that WH wants to move Abound forward. Policy will have to wait unless they have a specific policy problem with abound,” Silver said in the June 25, 2010, email.

Abound Solar is a Colorado-based solar panel manufacturer that had used $68 million of a $400 million DOE loan guarantee before filing for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Obama had to pay back his friends who got him elected. He used YOUR MONEY and YOUR CHILDREN’S MONEY to do it. Doesn’t that cause you any alarm? And this was done under the rubric of “stimulating” the economy.

You can see a list of other Obama administration green energy failures here.

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Wisconsin abortions decline again by 4.4% after Governor Walker’s pro-life laws

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Life News reports.

Excerpt:

Abortion are on the decline in Wisconsin and they are poised to drop further thanks to new pro-life laws signed by Governor Scott Walker. Abortions dropped 7.4 percent in Wisconsin in the prior report.

Last year, Walker added to his pro-life list of accomplishments today by signing bills the pro-life movement supported, including measures to stop abortion funding in Obamacare and webcam abortions.

Wisconsin Right to Life officials told LifeNews Wisconsin abortions have decreased 68% from their all-time high in 1980 and 60% since Wisconsin began requiring abortion reporting in 1987.

[...]According to an AP report, abortions declined 4.4 percent from 2011-2012:

The Department of Health Services reported Monday that there were 6,927 abortions in 2012. That is down from 7,249 in 2011 for a drop of 4.4 percent.

It marks the third year in a row that abortions have gone down. Prior to an increase between 2008 and 2009, abortions had dropped for five straight years.

The rate of women aged 15-44 who had an abortion in 2012 was 6.1 per 1,000, down from 6.3 per 1,000 the year before. That is well below the national rate of 15.1 per 1,000 as of the most recent data available from 2009.

State law requires any facility that provides abortions to report statistics to the state.

In July, Walker signed Senate Bill 206 (Sonya’s Law) into law.  This important new law requires that women seeking abortions in Wisconsin be given the opportunity to see their unborn children through ultrasound.

Just hours before Walker signed the law, the Planned Parenthood abortion business announced it would file a lawsuit seeking to stop women from seeing these ultrasounds.

[...]After Walker signed the bill, the Planned Parenthood abortion business shut down one clinic in Appleton and another facility end abortions at another center in Green Bay.

But he’s not just a social conservative, but a fiscal conservative, too.

Excerpt:

Wisconsin is living proof that elections have consequences. The last 10 years of public policy in the state proves this, providing a sharp contrast between Republicans and Democrats and highlighting the positive results of Republican leadership.

The previous Governor left Wisconsin with a $3.6 billion budget deficit and a bleak economic outlook. In fact, during Governor Jim Doyle’s last term, Wisconsin lost over 133,000 jobs, and only 10% of employers thought our state was headed in the right direction.

At the polls in 2010, Wisconsinites elected Scott Walker and Republican majorities in the Assembly and Senate. Since taking office, Republicans have turned things around. Unlike the Democrats, who in 2009 were debating over $3 billion in tax hikes, State Republicans have been cutting taxes and eliminating regulations to foster a pro-growth environment in Wisconsin. In fact, the current budget provides nearly $1 billion in tax relief for hard-working middle class families.

In a stunning reversal of Doyle-era job loss, Wisconsin created over 14,000 jobs in June alone. The budget is balanced, and 94% of employers say our state is headed in the right direction. Furthermore, a leading economic indicator from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia just ranked Wisconsin second in the nation in jobs outlook for the next six months.

What if he were to run in 2016? Well, Scott Walker is a favorite of social conservatives, but remember that this is the same Scott Walker who took on the labor unions to limit collective bargaining and he won. His law, which has produced an economic boom in Wisconsin, is still standing. He’s showing leadership on social AND fiscal issues. It’s not just talk, it’s action. I think he should be considered in 2016, along with governors Bobby Jindal (LA), Rick Perry (TX), John Kasich (OH), and Mike Pence (IN).

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