Category Archives: The Left

FTEs – Something about Obamacare that I understand, and I don’t think anyone’s going to like.

FTEs. I deal with them everyday, all day. They are the heart of my job. Not many people know what they are, but get ready, you’re going to be hearing a lot about them.

In my job I deal with people and insuring that the right number of people are working at the right times to get the job done. But, in fact, people are messy and inconvenient and don’t fit into neat boxes without complaining. They like to eat, they like to take breaks, they like to call out, come in late, and leave early. Because of that we don’t talk about needing 15 people, we talk about needing 15 FTEs – Full Time Equivalents. It may take 18, 20, or more “people” to make my 15 FTEs. Think of an FTE as a perfect employee. They never eat, are never late, and never do any of those other crazy things that people do.

So how does this apply to Obamacare you ask? Simple.

You’ve probably read the stories about employers planning to limit individual hours to a level that will keep them under the 30 hour per week cap that triggers Obamacare penalties. Of course that means they will have to hire more people to offer the same level of service or to accomplish the same amount of work.

“See, Mr./Ms. Bureaucrat, I don’t have 50 full-time employees, I only have 30 people working full-time and 40 working part-time.”

“Not so fast, evil rich person,” says Mr./Ms. Bureaucrat, “We’re on to your little game.”

An applicable large employer with respect to a calendar year is defined in section 4980H(c)(2) as an employer that employed an average of at least 50 full-time employees on business days during the preceding calendar year. For purposes of determining whether an employer is an applicable large employer, full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), which are statutorily determined based on the hours of service of employees who are not full-time employees, are taken into account.

So, in our little example above, if the part-time workers were all limited to 20 hours/week the government is going to add up all those 20s and declare that you really have 30 full timers and 20 FTEs. Congratulations, you are still Obamahosed.

Businesses are going to try to get creative in their attempts to avoid the beast, but the beast is not going to be denied. I fully expect that every attempt to avoid, or even dampen the effects of Obamacare (ie remain profitable) is going to be adjudicated and/or regulated.

The short version, this is not a great time to be a business owner. It’s an even worse time to be an employee, even if it takes you and a friend to make one FTE.

My Interview with C.H.I.C.K.E.N.

Writing a blog isn’t all bacon and Rule 5 posts. To get the great stories you have to dig deep. This post is a great example. Through exhaustive research and dogged determination I managed to track down the elusive J. Edward Farquar, owner and operator of the Clueless Hack’s Interstate Cottage Key Exchange Network, or CHICKEN. Here is the rush transcript of that interview.

Marylin on PhonesThank you for calling the Clueless Hack’s Interstate Cottage Key Exchange Network. How may I direct your call?

ReporterYes. This is Jim from bRight & Early Blog. I’d like to talk to J. Edward Farquar. I understand that he is the head of CHICKEN. Is that right?

Marylin on PhonesThat’s correct. Not only is he the head of CHICKEN, he’s also the founder and COO. Let me see if he’s available. Hold please.

Mr. Farquar? I have some blogger on line two that want’s to talk to you.

J. Edward FarquarAnother one? I bet he’s one of those TEA-Bloggers too. Whatever. Hey babe, get me another cup of coffee, would ya?

Marylin on PhonesGet your own damn coffee — babe. When we get home, you’re giving me a foot massage, and don’t forget to take out the trash. Daddy told me not to marry a bum like you. Try to prove him wrong for once.

J. Edward FarquarWhatever you say, doll. Put him through.

Marylin on PhonesThank you for holding. I have Mr. Farquar on the line. [yelling] Eddie, pick up line two, you moron!

J. Edward FarquarJ. Edward Farquar here. Good to talk to you Jack. I read Light & Surly all the time. What can I do for you?

ReporterUh. It’s Jim, and that’s bRight & Early.

J. Edward FarquarWhatever. Listen Joe, I’m a busy man. Business is better than it’s ever been, so I can only give you a few minutes. I’ve gotta ton of deals to make, ya know?

ReporterIt’s Ji…never mind. Mr. Farquar, why don’t we start by having you tell just what it is that you do here at CHICKEN.

J. Edward FarquarWell, Skippy, the Clueless Hack’s Interstate Cottage Key Exchange Network is a way for members from one state legislature to trade housing with members from another state when they just have to “get away”, if you know what I mean. After all, hiding out, er, I mean, spending quality time in another state can get expensive if you’re staying in some five star resort. Hell, even if you’re staying at a Holiday Inn Express, although I haven’t seen any evidence of those kind of smarts in my clients. Don’t print that last part. Anyhow, what we do is arrange for legislators from one state to trade houses with legislators from another state. Saves a bunch of money when you can’t go home to pick up your pay check.

ReporterI see. So tell me, what is your background and how did you come to start CHICKEN?

J. Edward FarquarWell, Sparky, I spent a number of years working for WITSEC. That really gave me the background to start this business. You know, phony names, cover stories, anonymity, the whole nine yards. I mean, these guys don’t exactly want to be found while they’re in hiding, umm I mean on an out-of-state caucus junket. Anyhow, I saw a need and I filled it. American free enterprise at it’s best. Hey, it pays the bills.

ReporterI see. So, what has caused your business to take off like it has?

J. Edward FarquarA combination of things, really. Of course the big thing was the 2010 elections. Made my base anxious to get away it seems. And I don’t know how this happened, but somehow a bunch of politicians got a backbone transplant, or something. Suddenly, I’m in demand! God Bless the TEA Party, that’s what I say. I was gonna have to get a bailout of my own if the RINOs were still around.

Marylin on PhonesExcuse me. Eddie? The Ohio delegation is on hold.

J. Edward FarquarSorry, Barney, I’ve gotta wrap this up. Gotta make hay while the sun shines, you know. I have a feeling that business is going to tank after 2012. Tell all your readers at Slightly Burly that J. Edward Farquar says, “Hey”. [yelling]Sweet cheeks, tell Ohio I can get ‘em a deal on Indiana, and where is my coffee?

Marylin on PhonesTell them yourself, and you are not going to like where I pour that coffee, “sweet cheeks”.

Well, there you have it, and American success story even in this tough economy.

Run Away!

Democrats in the Wisconson Senate have decided that running away is better than fulfilling their constitutional duties.

Protesters who have descended on Wisconsin’s Capitol in hopes of halting a Republican effort to end a half-century of collective bargaining rights for public workers steeled themselves for a long fight, buoyed by Democrats’ decision to flee to avoid the measure’s near-certain passage.

With Democrats saying they won’t return before Saturday, it was unclear when the Senate would be able to begin debating the measure meant to ease the state’s budget woes. Democrats who disappeared Thursday at first kept their whereabouts secret, then started to emerge to give interviews and fan the protests.

[...]

Sen. Tim Cullen said he and other Democrats planned to stage their boycott until Saturday to give the public more time to speak out against the bill.

“The plan is to try and slow this down because it’s an extreme piece of legislation that’s tearing this state apart,” said Sen. Jon Erpenbach, who was with Democratic senators in northern Illinois on Thursday before they dispersed.

Come on Dems, it’s only a little bunny.

Maybe they thought a stay in a Illinois Holiday Inn Express would make them smarter.

Yeah, probably not.

The GOP Wants to Shoot Bigbird, or Something

Bigbird in the CrosshairsMassachusetts Representative Ed Markey held a little press conference where he explained how evil Republicans want to shoot, field dress, and serve Bigbird for Sunday dinner, or something like that.

The House GOP leaders have announced intentions to slice funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the continuing resolution, resulting in the elimination of programming for the over 170 million people that use public media each month.

But Markey, along with Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Nita Lowey, Sam Farr, Paul Tonko, and Bill Owens plan to unveil an amendment to a spending measure that will refund educational programs like
“Sesame Street” and “Arthur,” as well as funding for National Public Radio and local broadcast networks.

“The GOP should be less preoccupied with silencing cookie monster and more focused on reviving the economy,” said Lowey, who in 1995 invited Bert and Ernie to testify on Capitol Hill when Republicans tried to eliminate public media funding under then-Speaker Newt Gingrich. “How long will it take for some people to learn that people want Congress to focus on creating jobs, not laying off Bert and Ernie.”
Lawmakers said rural parts of the U.S. are likely to be hit hardest by the cuts, where programming is more expensive to fund.

This, from the Daily Caller’s story on the event, is particularly telling.

The members warned that ending government funding to public broadcasting would eliminate the programs, and that the market could not be trusted to provide quality broadcasting for children or news content for adults.

Sure, we can’t trust the market to provide quality programing. Look what happened to Air America!

Two arguments made by the left seem especially silly. One is that public broadcasting only receives 2% of it’s funding from the government. Well, if that’s the case then they should easily be able to replace that piddling amount with a check from George Soros, or another 10-minutes-of-content-20-minutes-of-begging fund raiser. The second point they try to make is that eliminating $430 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be a drop in the bucket of the federal budget. That’s true, but hardly a reason not to do it. It’s going to take a lot of drops to drain that bucket.

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint posted this:

The Muppets are in town. No, not for a show. They are in Washington to do business.

Inside the Beltway, Sesame Street turns into K Street and Elmo is a lobbyist.

Last year, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was allocated $420 million by Congress. And, President Obama is asking Congress to give a whopping $451 million to CPB in his new budget, even though the nation is more than $14 trillion in debt.

To put that in perspective, it would take Count Von Count more than 42 years to count the 451 million, one “Ah! Ah! Ah!” dollar at a time.

[...]

Publicly funded media simply has no place in our modern, tech-savvy society. CPB was created by the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act to “facilitate the development of public telecommunications.” Only a handful of television channels existed. More than 30 years later, Americans have thousands of choices in news, entertainment and educational programming provided by innumerable television, radio and Web outlets.

Shows like Sesame Street are multi-million dollar enterprises capable of thriving in the private market. According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 — nearly a million dollars — in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, “Sesame Street” made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales.

When taxpayer funding for public broadcasting ends, rest assured, Cookie Monster will still be fed.

Saving the country from crushing debt and taxes is going to require hard choices. Telling the Muppet lobby “no” should be one of the easy ones.

h/t: Cubachi via a link from someone on Twitter. Cross posted at Reclaim Conservatism.

The Only One They Had?

An item in my feed reader caught my eye this morning. First Coast News had an article headlined “Tucson Shooting Spree Prompts Gun Permit Review in Florida“. There wasn’t much to the story, but when I clicked over to read it this is what I saw:

Gun POV

Click for larger

Now you tell me, was a photo of “Weapons seized by Iraqi security forces” the only picture of guns they could find to run with this story?

Neutering The Net

Telephone Switchboard OperatorIf you want to look at a broad-brush example of what is hurting our country, today’s expected “Net Neutrality” regulations serve as a clear case in point. While we are suffering through bad economic policy and an out of touch administration, a real threat exists in the form of government “solutions” to non-existent, or, at the least, debatable, problems. Worse yet is the way that these “problems” are being addressed, not through legislation (bad enough, and another battle that needs to be fought), but through regulation imposed by government agencies that goes way beyond any legislative authority.

CAFE standards and the EPA’s “discovery” that humans exhale a pollutant that needs to be regulated are but two examples. Net Neutrality will be another. (On a side note; If you want to know how bad something is, just note how far the name given to a proposal is from the actual action it will take.)

Of course, we know by now that the FCC has approved those rules.

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday approved “high-level rules of the road” designed to ensure that internet providers grant everyone equal access to the Web.

But the 3-2 vote immediately came under attack from both flanks, with internet-freedom advocates saying the new rules don’t go far enough and critics saying the government should stay out of online business altogether.

The point here goes beyond the rules themselves, bad as they are. What I want to emphasize is that these rules were passed after the courts and Congress have both indicated that the FCC does not have that power. From Ed Morrissey:

The new rules will come under scrutiny almost immediately in the upcoming Congress. Even the Democratic-run Congress objected to Genachowski’s first attempt at claiming jurisdiction over the Internet, as did the courts. A Republican-run House will look even more skeptically at expanded claims of jurisdiction by an agency, especially when Congress has previously refused to grant that jurisdiction.

Van Helsing writes:

You had to know ever-expanding Big Government would close its ham-like fists around the throat of the Internet eventually. Today FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, aka “Julius Seizure” is launching a major offensive that will serve as a beachhead for eventual total control.

He also points to an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by Republican FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell that includes this:

Nothing is broken that needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure.

Analysts and broadband companies of all sizes have told the FCC that new rules are likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices. Others maintain that the new rules will kill jobs. By moving forward with Internet rules anyway, the FCC is not living up to its promise of being “data driven” in its pursuit of mandates—i.e., listening to the needs of the market.

Mark Tapscott, in his article at the Washington Examiner, quotes S.C. Senator Jim DeMint.

Proceeding on its own liberal whims rather than facts, this FCC has chosen to grant itself broad authority to limit how businesses can bring the internet to consumers in faster and more innovative ways.

Americans loudly demanded a more limited federal government this November, but the Obama Administration has dedicated itself to expanding centralized government planning. Today, unelected bureaucrats rammed through an internet takeover, even after Congress and courts warned them not to.

Yesterday’s FCC decision is only the most currently visible example of an out of control federal bureaucracy that refuses to be accountable to the American people. Let’s hope that the 112th will put the brakes on this type of shenanigans and ever expanding government control.

What Part of Establish Don’t They Understand

It’s time once again for the ACLU and the PC Paranoia crowd to get their Nanny State Knickers in a twist. William Teach has a round up titled Tis’ The Season For Liberals To Go Nuts Over Nativity Scenes highlighting the annual collective swoon these groups go into at the sight of a creche.

This annual hissy fit always reminds me of something that confuses me all year long. What part of “Establish” don’t the critics understand? The First Amendment starts out saying, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” which seems clear enough to me. Obviously I’m not enlightened enough, so let’s take a look at the definition of “establish”.

Establish

tr.v., -lished, -lish·ing, -lish·es.

1.
1. To set up; found.
2. To bring about; generate: establish goodwill in the neighborhood.
2.
1. To place or settle in a secure position or condition; install: They established me in my own business.
2. To make firm or secure.
3. To cause to be recognized and accepted: a discovery that established his reputation.
4. To introduce and put (a law, for example) into force.
5. To prove the validity or truth of: The defense attorneys established the innocence of the accused.
6. To make a state institution of (a church).

“establish.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 13 Dec. 2010. http://www.answers.com/topic/establish

Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t see how any of the things they fight so hard against do anything to establish a religion. Applying their interpretation of establishment to politics would mean conservatives could establish total control just by hanging pictures of Ronald Reagan.

How is it they can work so hard to twist the first part of the clause to fit their world view while conveniently ignoring the part about “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Am I way off base here, or am I just that much smarter than most liberals? Oh, wait. I think I just answered my own question.

How The Left Sees Independence

Several days ago President Obama indulged in a bit of creative editing when quoting the Declaration of Independence. The media pursued the omission with their typical vigor. In other words, they ignored it completely. Well how is the President supposed to get his message across if the fourth branch of government doesn’t help?

The bit of editing President Obama indulged in didn’t go nearly as far afield as the left would like, so I’m here to help. Here is the portion of the Declaration as I believe the Left would edit it.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created [If we're going to remove "their Creator" we have to remove this icky word.] equal, that they are endowed by their Creator [No way we can leave this in there.] with certain unalienable [If people knew that unalienable means, "Not to be separated, given away, or taken away" they might try to hold us to that "Living Document".] rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness [We can't limit happiness. It's the job of the government to insure that everyone is equally miserable so that everyone is equally happy.]. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers ability to rule from the consent of the governed elite who know best [What an odd idea, that "the governed" know how to run their own lives.]. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, fails to meet the needs of “The State”, the ruling class can and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness the greater good [The elite know best, therefore it is the elite who should make these decisions. Leaving such power in the hands of the unwashed masses won't bring about the Utopia we know is right around the corner.]. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. In fact, we’re counting on that. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism things don’t go quite right, as they invariably will not, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security to ignore all that and let “us” do what is best for them. ["throw off such government"? We can't allow that! They might start thinking that it's their country, and that they know best how to run their own lives. That's just madness!]

Yes, this is humor. But, am I wrong?

How Many More Like Him?

This is Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL) speaking at a town hall meeting today. Adam Sharp captured his response when asked about the constitutionality of forcing Americans to purchase health insurance.

“I don’t care about the Constitution.”

Yeah, we kind of got that when they passed this mess.

h/t Gateway Pundit on tweets from @CO2HOG and @ginabella