French President Francois Hollande’s scheme to impose a 75% tax on the country’s millionaires has hit a temporary snag.
A French court has ruled the tax illegal because it is being directed to individuals rather than households (which is how French income tax is levied).
However, this will not deter the Socialists. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has indicated that a 75% income tax on households will soon be introduced.
Well, all this means is there will be a lot more families following in Gerard Depardieu’s leaving footsteps to Belgium. Meanwhile, the French economy will remain stagnant and their deficit will continue to balloon.
The snow which lightly fell over Northern Virginia has now melted and waltered the hungry soil. Meanwhile a heavy snowstorm blankets Maryland.
It is often like this. A severe storm north of the Potomac is but a breeze to the south.
It’s hard not to see the hand of God in this. Maryland is the home of Wallis Simpson, Spiro Agnew, Nancy Pelosi. Its people are short and ugly, mean and spiteful. And things are done you’d not believe, in Baltimore on Christmas Eve.
They deserve everything they get. And then some.
I like elephants. I’ve viewed them in the wild in Africa and ridden them inThailand. I’ve also seen them in a circus and a zoo. Forced to choose, I prefer the first two experiences. But most Americans don’t get those opportunities. So it’s circus/zoo or nothing.
Twelve years ago the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals filed suit against Feld Entertainment, which produces Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus, charging animal cruelty. I have no independent information on the truth of the allegations, but ASPCA just put out a curious press release on the suit: “this litigation stopped being about the elephants a long time ago. After more than a decade of litigating with Feld Entertainment, the ASPCA concluded that it is in the best interests of the organization to resolve this expensive, protected litigation.”
All well and good. But ASPCA doesn’t explain how a lawsuit about elephants stopped being about elephants. And the group doesn’t detail the resolution. You have to go to Feld Entertainment’s press release for that: “Under the settlement, ASPCA has paid Feld Entertainment $9.3 million to settle all claims related to its part in more than a decade of manufactured litigation that attempted to outlaw elephants in the company’s Ringling Bros. Circus.”
Normally the plaintiff doesn’t pay the defendant in a settlement. In the usual compromise you’d expect ASPCA to drop the suit in return for Feld agreeing to change its treatment of the elephants, toss some cash at the ASPCA, support an African game reserve, that sort of thing. But no. Something obviously went very wrong with ASPCA’s claim. The group surrendered, paying a ransom to get out of the mess. It looks like the Society was caught abusing the legal process.
And the saga is not over. Explained the company: “Feld Entertainment’s legal proceedings, including its claims for litigation abuse and racketeering, will continue against the remaining defendants, Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Animal Protection Institute United with Born Free USA, Tom Rider and the attorneys involved.” Now that the ASPCA has paid up, some of these other groups might follow suit. Which would undermine their credibility in promoting an eminently worthy cause, the humane treatment of animals.
I like elephants. I don’t like abuse of the legal system. It appears that both causes triumphed with the ASPCA settlement.
I usually don’t like to go on rumors, but when time is of the essence, you go with what you have. Here I explain why a fiscal cliff deal that lifts the spending cuts is worse than no deal at all.
The Boehner Tax increase he called it.
After weeks of taking on Republican House Speaker John Boehner over Boehner’s insistence on trying to make a deal over taxes with President Obama, by the night of December 20 — as House Republicans were being pounded by the GOP leadership to vote that very night for Boehener’s “Plan B” — the backlash dam finally broke on Mark Levin’s radio show.
As we wait for the “fiscal cliff” negotiations to resume at the White House, it’s worth going back to the evening of December 20 to note something that was overlooked as the Christmas holiday overtook the news on the defeat — by House Republicans — of Boehner’s Plan B.
As Levin’s show went live at 6pm Eastern, he opened with a sharp, passionate look at Republicans on the verge of rejecting longtime conservative principle — not to mention basic economics — by raising taxes.
His first guest was Ohio’s Rep. Jim Jordan, the outgoing head of the Republican Study Committee and one of the few Republicans who was fearless in his open opposition to fellow Ohioan Boehner. Jordan made plain his opposition to the Boehner tax increase proposal, saying Republicans should never “cross the line” in opposing economic growth, and called opposing tax increases a defining principle for Republicans as to “who we are.”
“Now it’s all about the Speaker,” remarked Levin after Jordan departed to return to the floor, citing with disdain multiple reports of Boehner loyalists insisting “we can’t embarrass the Speaker.”
Then, watching the Fox coverage from his broadcasting bunker, Levin braced his audience for learning of House Republicans who were on the verge of abandoning principle, saying what was unfolding “turns my stomach.”
“If they want to talk like liberals — and they do — then get the hell off the stage.”
The answer to all this Levin said, in response to his first caller, is not in Washington.
Then the drama ratcheted upwards. Levin, through his own contacts on Capitol Hill, broke the news that House Republicans were being threatened with losing their committee seats if they didn’t support Boehner’s Plan B. And he also broke the news that Boehner had scheduled an emergency Conference meeting.
Levin launched again -– and said this:
“Call your member of your Congress now.”
He called for “an official Levin surge” — and read out the number (202-224-2131) for the House switchboard, asking his audience to call the switchboard and ask to be put through to their GOP House members and make their disagreement with Plan B known loud and clear.
He recounted the tale of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor insisting the GOP Leadership had the votes — and said it was now plain that Cantor was lying.Continue reading…
It looks like longtime Congressman Ed Markey will seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for the Special Senate election here in Massachusetts. Markey is expected to make a formal announcement in the new year.
The race was, of course, necessitated by President Obama appointing John Kerry as Secretary of State last week.
Markey was first elected to Congress in 1976.
This is probably Markey’s biggest liability. Scott Brown’s two biggest problems against Elizabeth Warren was that a) she was an outsider who had never held political office and b) was the darling of progressives. Now it’s true that Markey has a long record as a progressive but I doubt he’ll generate the kind of passion Warren did amongst the left of the left-wing.
I think Markey is a tailor made opponent for Scott Brown. Sure Markey will get money but I doubt he has Warren’s organization. As such I think Brown would have easier time with this Washington insider than he did with Warren.
General Norman Schwarzkopf, best known for overseeing the prosecution of the 1991 Gulf War as the head of U.S. Central Command, has died of complications of pneumonia. He was 78.
A graduate of West Point, Schwarzkopf did two tours of duty in Vietnam and served with distinction earning three Silver Stars, three Distinguished Service Medals, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. One of those Silver Stars was earned rescuing several soldiers under his command from a mine field.
Schwarzkopf gradually rose through military ranks during the 70s and 80s when President Reagan appointed him to head up CENTCOM in November 1988. He would become a household name during Operation Desert Storm and earned the nickname “Stormin’ Norman” as U.S. and Coalition forces drove the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait. He would retire from military duty the following year eschewing calls for him to run for elected office.
At the time, there was criticism for not removing Saddam Hussein from power and allowing the Iraqi Army to put down the Shia uprisings. For his part, Schwarzkopf had mixed feelings about the War in Iraq. Prior to the invasion, he did wonder if the war would have been necessary had different decisions been made in 1991. Sadly, we will never know.
I leave you with Schwarzkopf explaining the meaning of leadership.
Singer/songwriter Fontella Bass has died of complications of a heart attack. She was 72.
Born in St. Louis to a gospel singing family, Bass hit the stratosphere in 1965 with the monster hit “Rescue Me” which she co-wrote. Unfortunately, she never had another hit and it wasn’t until 1993 that Bass received steady royalty payments for her masterpiece.
“Rescue Me” has been covered by numerous artists. In fact, the first version of this song I ever heard was Linda Ronstadt’s 1971 cover.
I leave you with the unlikely pairing of Bass and Lyle Lovett singing “Don’t Mess Up a Good Thing” on British television.
Tomorrow morning I will have a new piece up highlighting liberal hypocrisy when it comes to guns. A portion of this article focuses on the interview Meet the Press anchor David Gregory conducted with NRA President Wayne LaPierre in which he decried LaPierre’s proposal that every school in America have an armed guard despite the fact his children attend a school where there is armed security.
However, the article does not discuss the pickle into which Gregory has got himself. Gregory is being investigated for using a magazine clip as a prop during the LaPierre interview despite the fact the DC Metropolitan Police told them not to do so. You could say that Gregory has now been clipped.
Now obviously Gregory wasn’t going to use the clip to harm anyone. It’s a dumb law. Nevertheless, in the zealous pursuit of seeking more gun control, Gregory thinks he can ignore existing gun control laws. From where Gregory sits the ends justify the means. As a member of the liberal media elite, Gregory believes the law doesn’t apply to him.
Of course, it still might not. It would not surprise me in the least if nothing comes of this investigation. But it would be nice to see DC authorities put a scare and send a message to Gregory and other liberal elites: Don’t demand more gun laws if you’re not prepared to following the existing ones.
Bass player Lee Dorman passed away on December 21st of natural causes. He was 70.
After Iron Butterfly, Dorman and guitarist Larry Reinhardt (who also passed away earlier this year) formed Captain Beyond with Deep Purple vocalist Rod Evans.
Here is a video of Dorman and Brann playing “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” which aired on public television in Tampa Bay some years ago.
Character actor Charles Durning passed away yesterday of natural causes. He was 89.
Before he began his acting career, Durning served with distinction during WWII. He was amongst the first wave of American soldiers to storm Omaha Beach on D-Day. Durning also fought in the Battle of the Bulge in which he was one of only three American soldiers to survive the Malmedy massacre. Durning earned three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star for his service.
After a distinguished career on the New York stage, Durning earned his breakthrough role as a corrupt police lieutenant in The Sting starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. On a personal note, I saw The Sting at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge just last month.
Over the past four decade, Durning became a familiar face to both movie audiences in Dog Day Afternoon, North Dallas Forty, The Muppet Movie, Tootsie and received two Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and To Be or Not To Be. He also was seen in TV series such as Evening Shade, Everybody Loves Raymond and Rescue Me.
I leave you with Durning doing a little sidestep.
Former Texas Rangers owner Brad Corbett passed away on Monday. He was 75.
After making his fortune in plastic piping and chemical tubing, the 36-year old Corbett purchased the Rangers in 1974 for just under $10 million.
The Rangers finished second in the AL West that season under Billy Martin. However, Corbett fired Martin by the middle of the ‘75 season. Martin was hired by George Steinbrenner to manage the New York Yankees weeks later.
Corbett’s tenure in Texas was known for risky moves that seldom paid off. He signed Richie Zisk and Bert Campaneris past their prime and went through four managers in eight days during the 1977 season. Even Steinbrenner couldn’t make that claim. In case you’re wondering, the four managers were Frank Lucchesi, Eddie Stanky, Connie Ryan and Billy Hunter. Despite this, the Rangers somehow managed to win a franchise high 94 games in ‘77 but finished eight games back of the Kansas City Royals in the AL West standings.
Corbett lost a fortune and prior to the start of the 1980 season, he sold the Rangers to Eddie Giles for $4 million.
Well, no one could accuse Corbett of being dull.
Actor Jack Klugman passed away today at the age of 90.
Originally a stage actor, Klugman appeared in such films as 12 Angry Men, The Days of Wine & Roses and Goodbye, Columbus.
But Klugman is perhaps best known for his work in television. He made several appearances on The Twilght Zone. I personally remember watching one episode many years ago in which he played a trumpet player at the end of his rope.
From 1970 to 1975, Klugman was one half of The Odd Couple playing the slovenly Oscar Madison to Tony Randall’s Felix Unger. Klugman had actually played Madison in the original Broadway production replacing Walter Matthau. After The Odd Couple left the airwaves, Klugman starred in Quincy, M.E. from 1976 to 1983. Klugman was also a frequent panelist on The Match Game.
I leave you with Klugman talking about Chanukah.
Former big league utility player Ryan Freel was found dead yesterday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 36.
Freel was a 10th round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1995 but did not reach the majors until 2001. But it wasn’t until 2003 when Freel got his big break with the Cincinnati Reds. His best seasons came between 2004 and 2006 stealing 30 plus bases each of those campaigns. He also possessed a solid glove whether he played in the outfield or at second and third base.
Off the field, Freel had a couple of DUI arrests but stopped drinking after 2006. However, by that time, injuries caught up with him and his playing time declined. Indeed, Freel’s hard nosed playing style resulted in a long history of concussions. Freel finished his big league career in 2009 splitting that season with the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs and the Kansas City Royals.
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Freel returned to his hometown to coach young players with an organization called Big League Development.
I leave you with Freel hitting a single off 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee during an interleague game that year.
For a month I’ve been telling people not to expect a deal over the Fiscal Cliff. A grandiose president like Obama can’t tolerate oppositon, but it’s more than that. If he cuts a deal he takes part ownership of the economy. If he doesn’t he gets to blame the Republicans. And the blame will stick. Of course the economy will go south, but it’ll go south in any event, and the important thing for him is the blame game, for which the press will be willing allies.
Plus he gets more spending money if there is no deal.
That has to look like a no-brainer for him. And his supporters? They’ll have bought poverty with vice.