Your Tax Dollars at Work. No, Really!

February 28, 2011

Dear Congress,

I don’t ask for much. I live quietly, I take care of myself, I donate to charities, I work hard and save my money. I don’t expect to see a dime of the funds I have paid into Social Security and Medicare when I retire, because I know that money is already all gone. It’s okay, I’ll probably get by without going on the dole, even thought my 401(k) is not nearly what it used to be…

But since you’re looking for ways to cut spending here and there, I hereby request three small cuts. Oh, I know they won’t make much difference to our bottom line, but really, these are things that our tax dollars should never have funded in the first place.

#1: Defund Planned Parenthood

#2: Defund public broadcasting

#3: Stop using our money to rebuild and shore up mosques both here and abroad. I mean, after all, isn’t separation of church and state one of those bedrock standards the liberals hoist up every time a kid says a brief “Thank you, Father” after a touchdown at the school football game? Or if someone wants to include that icky “under God” part of the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag? So why on earth are we spending close to a billion dollars on shoring up mosques in Egypt, Cyprus, Tadjikstan, Mali, and who knows where else?

So please… just stop doing that.

Oh, and by the way; remember November, 2010? November 2012 is rapidly approaching. I’m just saying.

Yours very sincerely,
A proud Tea Partier


It’s Not Just Wisconsin

February 21, 2011

Wisconsin has nothing on my home state of Massachusetts, especially when it comes to screwing good ol’ Joe Taxpayer with sick days.

Last week, Thomas Kinton, head of Massport (the Massachusetts Port Authority) announced that he would be retiring in June. An advanced announcement of this kind is excellent, as it allows Massport officials to start searching for a replacement for Mr. Kinton.

It also allows them to start saving up to pay for his pension, which is 67% of his salary in his highest earning year. Kinton’s base salary for 2009 was $295,000, so if that was, in fact, his highest earning year while at Massport, he will retire with a lovely annual pension of nearly $200,000.

But here’s the real kicker, and I’m tempted to say “only in Massachusetts could this happen,” except that I’m sure one of our readers will find other examples of this. Not only will Kinton retire with $197,000 annually, but the state will also have to kick in a one-time sum because his contract requires that he be paid for all accumulated unused sick time.

Would anyone like to take a guess at how much that is? According to the Boston Globe, Kinton will be paid $450,000 for sick time accrued but unused. That’s half a million bucks that we the taxpayers will be shelling out.

And make no mistake–Kinton has his hand out waiting for the cash:

“It’s what I’ve worked for,’’ Kinton said. “It’s something that is, I think, not the norm. But because I’m a CEO, and there aren’t many CEOs that have gone through the state retirement system with this many years of service, I think it just is not the norm and is the exception to the rule. But it’s the earned benefit and something that I’ve worked very hard for.’’ [emphasis mine]

Wait, what? I thought that’s what a salary was. Sick days are for, well, being sick and staying home so that you don’t infect your co-workers, and so that you can recover. But according to Massport, Mr. Kinton has accumulated 478 sick days during his tenure at the public trough (as of 2009; God only knows how many more days he has racked up in the intervening two years).

Regardless, Mr. Kinton, hero that he no doubt perceives himself to be, will ride off into his sunset years with a bountiful pension and a one-time payout of more-than-oriental splendour.

Because in Massachusetts, the fix is always in.


The “E” Word

February 3, 2011


“Evil” is such an embarrassing word. It’s so… judgmental. So holier-than-thou. Remember how embarrassed Liberals were when Pres. Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” and how they howled when Pres. Bush labelled Iran, Iraq, and North Korea the “axis of evil”? But if we can’t call evil what it is, how will we be able to recognize it when it appears, whether in the form of flying airplanes into skyscrapers or gunning down 14 people going about their daily business on a military post?

The short answer: we can’t. We overlook it. We pass the buck. We pretend it doesn’t exist. We willfully misunderstand its intent. We use euphemisms to avoid the “E” word. And then we pay the price.

The Senate has just released its report on the 2009 Ft. Hood massacre. Entitled “A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government’s Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack,” the report is a scathing indictment of the lack of preparedness inside the Department of Defense and the FBI to deal with problems like this. Authors Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins conclude that once again, lack of communication, the passing of the buck, and failure of imagination all combined in an attack that left 14 dead and, at least momentarily, horrified the nation.

NPR reports:

“The Fort Hood massacre could have and should have been prevented,” Lieberman said, adding that Hasan was a “ticking time bomb.” Evidence of Hasan’s radicalization, Lieberman said, “[j]ust shouts out ‘stop this guy before he kills somebody.'”

Appearing alongside Lieberman, ranking committee member Susan Collins (R-Maine), said the investigation dispels the Obama administration’s early argument that legal restrictions had prevented the FBI from thoroughly investigating Hasan before the shootings. She also said no such restrictions barred agencies from sharing information about Hasan. [emphasis mine]

Of course, it doesn’t help when our leaders insist on misleading the world by using euphemisms and, as Roger Simon pointed out, euphemisms of euphemisms about the enemy we are fighting, both overseas as well as at home. And the report rightfully points this out and comes to the conclusion:

“This confirms our concern that DoD, by continuing to avoid the necessity of addressing violent Islamist extremism directly and without ambiguity, is sending a message to the entire military to do the same. It will be more difficult for the military to develop effective approaches to countering violent lslamist extremism if the identity and nature of the enemy cannot be labeled accurately.” [emphasis mine]

Are  “extremists”, “man-caused disasters” and “overseas contingency operations” actually accurate labels of our enemies and our activity around the world? No, of course they are not. But if we want to avoid more “incidents” like “Fort Hood”, we’d all better start calling a spade a spade.