The 2010 Aftermath

Not total victory, but all in all, it was a very good day for Republicans.

After GOP landslide of Election 2010, what next for Obama?

The Republican Party has swept the Democrats out of power in the House and gained seats in the Senate, sending a strong message of voter discontent to President Obama on the economy.

Republicans scored at least a 60-seat gain in the House, the biggest partisan shift since the Democrats lost 75 House seats in 1948. In the Senate, the Republicans fell short of the 10 they needed to take control, and failed to capture their most-hoped-for quarry: the seat of Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada, who defeated tea partyer Sharron Angle by five percentage points. It is the first time in 80 years that the House has changed hands without the Senate following.

The historic wave that makes Rep. John Boehner (R) of Ohio the expected next speaker of the House also hands Mr. Obama the biggest challenge of his political career. Suddenly, the president has no choice but to work toward his unfulfilled 2008 campaign promise of greater bipartisanship. The alternative is gridlock and the appearance of ineffectiveness. But if Obama concedes too much to the Republicans, he risks losing the support of his Democratic base when he runs for reelection in 2012, as expected.

Maybe even more impressive and certainly just as important was the Republican near sweep at the state level. Republicans will now be in charge of redistricting in the majority of states, which will set legislative boundaries for the next ten years.

Forget D.C., look what Republicans won in state legislatures

This is especially important in years ending in ’00 because these newly elected governors and state legislators will (with the exception of California) be the ones redrawing legislative and congressional district lines that will stand for the next decade until the 2020 census. And occupying the governor’s mansion puts that party in control of an immense statewide political apparatus to help its presidential ticket two years hence.

Come January, Republicans will now run crucial governors’ offices in….

…major presidential battleground states like Florida (Rick Scott), Ohio (John Kasich), Pennsylvania (Tom Corbett) and Iowa, where former Gov. Terry Branstad returns. New Mexico voters elected their first female governor, Republican Susana Martinez, a Latino. Sometimes-maligned South Carolina voters chose Nikki Haley, who is not only the state’s first female governor but only the nation’s second of Indian American descent (Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal being the other.) Oklahoma also picked its first female governor, Republican Mary Fallin.

According to the authoritative Stateline.org, the country’s contests for governor and lieutenant governor cost $850 million. Heading into 2012, the GOP will control at least 29 of the 50 governor’s suites.
Perhaps more importantly, the Republican wave at the national level was also felt at the grass-roots level, where Republicans gained control of at least 19 more state legislative chambers, possibly two dozen as vote-counting continues.

The GOP will have a majority in at least 54 of the 99 state legislative chambers, including a minimum of 53% of state legislature seats (about 3,900). That’s the most the party has controlled in 82 years — and up about 700 seats from Monday.

Of course, we didn’t win them all and this one personally sticks in my craw. If it wasn’t for third party spoiler candidate Tom Horner (former Republican), Republican Tom Emmer would already easily be the next Governor of Minnesota. Mark Dayton should send Horner some flowers or candy or a tip or something.

Guv’s race: Long ride, no end in sight

A seismic shift in Minnesota’s political landscape unfolded Wednesday as the most game-changing election in a generation sent Republicans and the DFL scrambling for the last undecided prize — the governor’s office.

DFLer Mark Dayton unofficially leads Republican Tom Emmer by 8,856 votes — a margin so slight that it could trigger a hand-ballot recount for the second election cycle in a row.

Officials began the tedious, nerve-wracking task of locking up ballots, which both parties may guard around the clock.

The day’s events placed the state, yet again, in political suspended animation, awaiting the prospect of another recount brawl that could take months to resolve and get tangled in the courts.

See also:
2010 Elections Exit Poll Analysis: The Political Price of Economic Pain
Election Day 2010 and its aftermath
Exit polls Election 2010
Karl Rove, U.S. Chamber Amass Winning Record in 2010 Elections
Tea Party Top 10 biggest winners and losers
Statehouse wins put GOP in redistricting driver’s seat
Vote 2010 Elections: What’s Your Reaction to Republicans’ Big Win?
With 2010 Behind Us, A Look Ahead To 2012
Republicans celebrate, outline legislative goals
In Social Media Election, The GOP Capitalizes
How will Obama react to GOP gains?

Tuesday’s vote was an absolute thumping repudiation of Obama and the Democrats and their big government, far left agenda. Now that the Republicans have a tight leash on the Democrats, will the Democrats learn to play ball in the poetical center? Will the Democrats learn to at least read the destructive legislation they vote to cram down the throats of the American taxpayers, over the vociferous objections and protestations of the electorate.

/because, if the Democrats don’t learn their lesson this time, they’re going to get thumped even harder in 2012, the American people have spoken and they’ve had enough of Obama and the Democrats’ progressive socialism

The New Pig Book Is Here, The New Pig Book Is Here!

It’s a bipartisan effort, Republicans are just as bad as Democrats. Take a look at who’s flushing your hard earned tax dollars down the hog trough.

Cochran Leads Congress in Earmarks, $16.5B Total Set Aside for Pet Projects in 2010

Drumroll, please.

And the king of pork is … Sen. Thad Cochran. The Mississippi Republican ranks at the top this year of the Citizens Against Government Waste’s list of congressional earmarkers.

Cochran, the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, is typically a leading pork-seeker and in 2010 had his name on 240 projects worth $490.2 million The runner-up was Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, with 151 projects worth $387.5 million.

Taken together, earmarked projects in fiscal year 2010 accounted for $16.5 billion of the federal budget. Leading the the 50 states was Hawaii, which enjoyed $251 per capita, thanks in large part to the help of Inouye. On the House side, Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., took home the gold with 50 projects worth $148.4 million.

Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz said Cochran has earned the nickname of “Thad the Impaler” for his persistent earmarking.

“Senator Cochran has been number one for three years in a row and his total exceeds $2 billion during that three-year period of time,” he said.

The good news was the number of earmarks declined — the 9,129 projects listed marked about a 10 percent decline from last year. But that’s still more than 15 times the number of projects when Citizens Against Government Waste first started tracking in 1991.

And according to the annual “Congressional Pig Book” released Wednesday by the watchdog group, some oddball projects were on the receiving end. Shrimp research, local museums and military projects that even the Pentagon didn’t want were among the beneficiaries this year of billions of dollars in pork-barrel spending, according to the guide.

Here’s a look at some of the more peculiar projects on the extensive “Pig Book” list:

— Shrimp must be in vogue this year. The budget set aside $2.9 million in seven states for shrimp aquaculture research. Elsewhere in the budget was $700,000 requested by several senators and representatives for fishing research by the Southern Shrimp Alliance.

— Five senators and four representatives across four states requested $2.6 million for potato research. Along those lines, several lawmakers also set aside $775,000 for the Institute for Food Science and Engineering, which, as CAGW notes, has a program for researching “Pickle Science and Technology.”

— The wool industry has attracted millions in funding over the past decade and 2010 was no different. Montana, Texas and Wyoming were the recipients of $206,000 for wool research.

— Talk about a war on drugs. Among the projects requested by Cochran was $500,000 for the University of Southern Mississippi for a cannabis eradication program.

— The Camden Police Department, which reportedly was not eligible for stimulus funding because of prior grant violations, was awarded $200,000 in earmarks from New Jersey’s two senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, for a Mobile Communications Center.

The Pentagon was awarded billions for programs Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke out against as unnecessary. One earmark worth $2.5 billion was for 10 C-17 cargo jets. Another was worth $465,000 for development of a Joint Strike Fighter alternative engine. Lawmakers fought administration attempts to cut those programs out of concern over lost jobs.

— Somehow, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate also made its way into the defense budget. The institute is expected to include exhibits, classrooms and a replica of the U.S. Senate chambers — at a price of $18.9 million.

— Local museum and educational center funding was also popular this past year. The budget included $100,000 for the Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs; $250,000 for the Wistariahurst Museum in Massachusetts; $500,000 for the Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and another $500,000 for the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa.

— Several educational campaigns also received funding. Among them was $250,000 for an anti-steroids awareness program at the I Won’t Cheat Foundation in Salt Lake City.

And that’s just the tip of the pork iceberg. Read The 2010 Pig Book for yourself and pick out your own favorite nauseating examples of tax money wasted on hog[expletive deleted].

The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW’s annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. The 2010 Pig Book identified 9,129 projects at a cost of $16.5 billion in the 12 Appropriations Acts for fiscal 2009. A “pork” project is a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition.

Complete Pork Database: Search all 9,129 projects by keyword, member, state, party or appropriations bill.

Features: Oinker Awards | State Rankings | Historical Trends | All About Pork

See also:
2010 Pig Book Summary
Citizens Against Government Waste
Earmark Spending $16.5 Billion in CAGW’s 2010 Congressional Pig Book
“Pig Book” released today details members of congress’ pork requests
The 2010 Congressional Pig Book: 20 Years at the Trough
68M For Ind. Among Earmarks Flagged In ‘Pig Book’
Rep. Yvette Clarke Wins Award in CAGW’s 2010 Pig Book
Pig book shows earmark reduction
Watchdog group finds smaller servings of congressional pork

Okay, so $16.5 billion is hardly a drop in the overall budget bucket and it’s good that the Congressional hogs pigged out on fewer earmarks than last year. But damn it, $16.5 BILLION IS REAL MONEY, IT’S YOUR HARD EARNED TAX MONEY, OR BORROWED FROM THE CHINESE, AND THESE CORRUPT MORONIC BASTARDS ARE SPENDING IT ON RIDICULOUS, UNNECESSARY BULL[EXPLETIVE DELETED]!

/inform yourself, pay attention to who’s wastefully spending America into economic oblivion, and vote accordingly in November

So Much For The Cakewalk

Apparently, the Taliban are getting their second wind and, as usual, our rules of engagement are forcing us to fight with one hand tied behind our back.

Taliban allow US troops very little advancement in Marjah

Sniper teams attacked US Marines and Afghan troops across the Taliban haven of Marjah, as several gunbattles erupted on Monday, the third day of a major offensive to seize the extremists’ southern heartland.

Multiple firefights broke out in different neighbourhoods as US and Afghan forces worked to clear out pockets of Taliban and push slowly beyond parts of the town that they have gained control of. With gunfire coming from several directions all day long, troops managed to advance only 500 metres deeper as they fought off small squads of Taliban snipers.

“There’s still a good bit of the land still to be cleared,” said Capt Abraham Sipe, a Marine spokesman. “We’re moving at a very deliberative pace,” he added.

Troops: Strict war rules slow Afghan offensive

Some American and Afghan troops say they’re fighting the latest offensive in Afghanistan with a handicap — strict rules that routinely force them to hold their fire.

Although details of the new guidelines are classified to keep insurgents from reading them, U.S. troops say the Taliban are keenly aware of the restrictions.

“I understand the reason behind it, but it’s so hard to fight a war like this,” said Lance Cpl. Travis Anderson, 20, of Altoona, Iowa. “They’re using our rules of engagement against us,” he said, adding that his platoon had repeatedly seen men drop their guns into ditches and walk away to blend in with civilians.

If a man emerges from a Taliban hideout after shooting erupts, U.S. troops say they cannot fire at him if he is not seen carrying a weapon — or if they did not personally watch him drop one.

And, in the better lucky than good department . . .

U.S. Marine Walks Away From Shot to Helmet in Afghanistan

It is hard to know whether Monday was a very bad day or a very good day for Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig.

On the one hand, he was shot in the head. On the other, the bullet bounced off him.

In one of those rare battlefield miracles, an insurgent sniper hit Lance Cpl. Koenig dead on in the front of his helmet, and he walked away from it with a smile on his face.

“I don’t think I could be any luckier than this,” Lance Cpl. Koenig said two hours after the shooting.

Lance Cpl. Koenig’s brush with death came during a day of intense fighting for the Marines of Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Regiment.

The company had landed by helicopter in the predawn dark on Saturday, launching a major coalition offensive to take Marjah from the Taliban.

The Marines set up an outpost in a former drug lab and roadside-bomb factory and soon found themselves under near-constant attack.

Lance Cpl. Koenig, a lanky 21-year-old with jug-handle ears and a burr of sandy hair, is a designated marksman. His job is to hit the elusive Taliban fighters hiding in the tightly packed neighborhood near the base.

The insurgent sniper hit him first. The Casper, Wyo., native was kneeling on the roof of the one-story outpost, looking for targets.

He was reaching back to his left for his rifle when the sniper’s round slammed into his helmet.

The impact knocked him onto his back.

“I’m hit,” he yelled to his buddy, Lance Cpl. Scott Gabrian, a 21-year-old from St. Louis.

Lance Cpl. Gabrian belly-crawled along the rooftop to his friend’s side. He patted Lance Cpl. Koenig’s body, looking for wounds.

Then he noticed that the plate that usually secures night-vision goggles to the front of Lance Cpl. Koenig’s helmet was missing. In its place was a thumb-deep dent in the hard Kevlar shell.

Lance Cpl. Gabrian slid his hands under his friend’s helmet, looking for an entry wound. “You’re not bleeding,” he assured Lance Cpl. Koenig. “You’re going to be OK.”

Lance Cpl. Koenig climbed down the metal ladder and walked to the company aid station to see the Navy corpsman.

The only injury: A small, numb red welt on his forehead, just above his right eye.

See also:
U.S., Afghan Troops Battle Snipers in Marjah Offensive
Snipers harass US, Afghan troops moving in Marjah
Taliban step up attacks in besieged Afghan town
Marines, Afghan troops dodge sniper fire as battle to control Marjah rages
Hidden enemy delays advance in Marjah
Marines Into Marjah
Storming the Taliban stronghold
In Marjah offensive, Afghan forces take the lead
Nato General Praises Afghan ‘Partnership’
Operation Moshtarak Clearing Phase Continues
U.S. and Afghan Troops Expand Control in Marjah
U.S. Afghan Forces Push Deeper Into Marjah
‘Operation Moshtarak’ Reportedly Successful But With Setbacks
Troops complain rules of engagement give Taliban advantage
Afghanistan war: Marjah battle as tough as Fallujah, say US troops
IEDs a threat now and long into the future for fight against Taleban
Out of Marjah, safe in Pak?
‘Always a risk’ of Taliban return

At the time of this post, three days into the operation, the Coalition has still only taken two fatal casualties while killing dozens of Taliban.

/so it’s not like the battle for Marjah is turning into a disaster or the Taliban is even remotely close to winning

It’s Not Easy Being Green . . . If You’re A Hypocrite

How did Obama commemorate Earth Day? By stomping out a carbon footprint that would make a herd of Sasquatch green with envy.

Obama Earth Day Flights Burned More Than 9,000 Gallons Of Fuel

In flying to and from Iowa today, President Obama took two flights on Air Force One and four on Marine One.

The press office at Andrews AFB wouldn’t give me the fuel consumption numbers for the 747 that serves as Air Force One without the approval of the White House Press Office, which as I write this has yet to be given.

But Boeing says its 747 burns about 5 gallons of fuel per mile. It’s 895 miles from Washington to Des Moines, so a round trip brings the fuel consumption for the fixed-wing portion of the President’s trip to 8,950 gallons.

The trip also put President Obama on Marine One for round-trip flights between the White House and Andrews AFB and between Des Moines International Airport and Newton, Iowa, site of his Earth Day speech. It totaled about an hour of flight time. The VH-3D that serves as Marine One consumes about 1200 pounds of fuel per hour which comes out to about 166 gallons consumed flying the President today.

Not included in these calculations are the presidential vehicles that took him the short distance from the landing zone in Newton to the event site at the Trinity Structural Towers Manufacturing Plant.

In his speech there, President Obama called for a “new era of energy exploration in America.”

At a plant that manufactures the towers for wind turbines, he urged Americans to support his plan for promoting expanded use of alternative and renewable fuels.

And he announced that for the first time, the Interior Department would be leasing federal waters for projects to generate electricity from wind and ocean currents.

President Obama could have saved at least 9,116 gallons of fuel by giving his speech at the White House – but no wind turbines are manufactured here.

See also:
Obama Marks Earth Day at Iowa Wind Tower Plant
Obama celebrates Earth Day with tree planting, green initiatives
On Earth Day, Obama pushes ambitious climate agenda
Obama: Earth Day Speech Touts Green Jobs, Cap-and-Trade

Remember the tidal wave of outrage, scorn, and derision when the CEOs of the Big Three auto makers dared to fly on their private jets to Washington to beg for taxpayer money at two days of Congressional hearings?

/well, they had to make the trip and it wasn’t Earth Day

Stay Classy Chuck

Iowa Senator Says AIG Executives Should ‘Resign or Commit Suicide’

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley suggested on Monday that AIG executives should take a Japanese approach toward accepting responsibility for the collapse of the insurance giant by resigning or killing themselves.

The Republican lawmaker’s harsh comments came during an interview with Cedar Rapids, Iowa, radio station WMT. They echo remarks he has made in the past about corporate executives and public apologies, but went further in suggesting suicide.

“I suggest, you know, obviously, maybe they ought to be removed,” Grassley said. “But I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they’d follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I’m sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide.

“And in the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide before they make any apology.”

Grassley spokesman Casey Mills said the senator is not calling for AIG executives to kill themselves, but said those who accept tax dollars and spend them on travel and bonuses do so irresponsibly.

Se also:
Grassley on AIG execs: Resign or commit suicide
Senator Urges AIG Execs To Commit Suicide
US Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa
AIG

/if there’s anyone who should apologize to the American people and either resign or commit suicide, it’s Congress