Saturday, February 6, 2010
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
405 AM EST SAT FEB 6 2010
...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM EST THIS
A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM EST THIS
* PRECIPITATION TYPE...HEAVY SNOW...ACCOMPANIED OCCASIONALLY BY
* ACCUMULATIONS...TOTAL ACCUMULATIONS OF 18 TO 24 INCHES...WITH
SOME LOCATIONS POSSIBLY RECEIVING LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS ACROSS
WESTERN MARYLAND AND THE EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA PANHANDLE.
* TIMING...SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THIS EVENING. SNOW WILL TAPER
OFF BY MIDNIGHT.
* VISIBILITIES...VISIBILITIES AROUND ONE-QUARTER MILE ARE
EXPECTED WITH SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW.
* TEMPERATURES...TEMPERATURES WILL BE IN THE MID TO UPPER 20S
TONIGHT AND SATURDAY.
* WINDS...BECOMING NORTHEAST 10 TO 20 MPH LATE TODAY. GUSTS OF
20 TO 30 MPH TONIGHT AND SATURDAY.
THIS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE RECORD
SNOWFALL FOR THE BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON DC METROPOLITAN AREAS.
TRAVEL CONDITIONS TONIGHT ACROSS THE REGION WILL BE EXTREMELY
HAZARDOUS AND LIFE-THREATENING. HELP YOUR LOCAL AND STATE
GOVERNMENT FIRST RESPONDERS AND TRANSPORTATION AGENCIES BY
STAYING OFF THE ROADS.
A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE
EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE...
ESPECIALLY NEAR THE COASTLINE.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
10 PM EST SATURDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE...HEAVY SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS...STORM TOTAL ACCUMULATIONS OF 18 TO 24 INCHES.
* TIMING...SNOW WILL BEGIN MID-MORNING FRIDAY...AND WILL CONTINUE
THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING. CONDITIONS WILL DETERIORATE RAPIDLY
FRIDAY AFTERNOON...WITH HEAVIEST SNOWFALL OCCURRING BETWEEN
SUNSET FRIDAY TO SUNRISE SATURDAY. THE MOST HAZARDOUS WINTER
WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL OCCUR FRIDAY NIGHT.
* VISIBILITIES...THE COMBINATION OF HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS
WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES TO BELOW ONE-QUARTER MILE...PRODUCING
NEAR-BLIZZARD CONDITIONS AT TIMES FRIDAY NIGHT AND EARLY
* TEMPERATURES...HIGHS IN THE LOWER 30S FRIDAY. TEMPERATURES WILL
BE IN THE MID TO UPPER 20S FRIDAY NIGHT AND SATURDAY.
* WINDS...BECOMING NORTHEAST 10 TO 20 MPH FRIDAY WITH GUSTS TO
30 MPH FRIDAY NIGHT AND SATURDAY.
CONDITIONS IN THIS STORM ARE EXPECTED TO BE COMPARABLE TO THOSE
IN THE STORM OF 19 DECEMBER. PLAN FOR SUBSTANTIAL DISRUPTIONS TO
TRAVEL FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH THE WEEKEND.
A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE
EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE. THIS WILL
MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE FRIDAY NIGHT.
Funny thing, that hatred does not extend to the city itself. Three of West Virginia's largest cities lie within its metropolitan area. Northern West Virginians love the Steelers as much as anyone north of the border and Pennsylvanis Steeler fans love their West Virginia brethren who can yell, scream, and hate the Ravens just as fervently as any Keystone State resident. I remember coming out of a game at Heinz Field passing a street musician playing a saxophone. My wife asked him to play Country Roads. When he started that very familiar song, at least a hundred people on the bridge with us sang at the top of our lungs. Pittsburgh is like us. People kick them, make fun of them, call them rednecks. Their professional sports teams' success is the middle finger they extend to the rest of the world.
The University of Pittsburgh is alien to the city. It puffs up its elitist and academic reputation, refusing to accept fellow city university Duquesne's degrees as legitimate. Pitt sees itself as a cut above in a blue collar city. No wonder it has few real football fans. That is why West Virginians can love the Steelers and Penguins while hating Pitt. Even most Steeler fans hate Pitt. Not even a good blue collar guy like Dave Wannstedt can turn that image around, an image of a university that thinks it is above its raisin'.
Last night WVU fans were treated to an absolute humbling of their proud rival. The players, coaches, and crowd of West Virginia got into Pitt's heads from minute one and did not let up. Throwing objects onto the floor was absolutely childish and only motivated the other side. That was one or two bad apples at the most. Chanting "NIT" at them was much better. It reminded them of their frustration and only demoralized them more. Doesn't matter that we won the NIT a few short years ago and were proud of that feat. We're on top today and that is what matters.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Obama said recently that he would rather be a good one term president than a mediocre two termer. This reflects a rare moment of reality for the embattled president who at one point told a Blue Dog Democrat expressing fears about this November that the difference between 1994 (when Republicans swept into control of Congress) and 2010 is that "now you have me." He forgot that he has not accomplished anything thus far that would define him as a "good" president. This remark may have been a shot at both of his predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton (whom he personally seems to despise and vice versa.)
If events continue as they have, Democrats will start mulling a run at the nomination. They will each try to present themselves as the anti-Obama, perhaps event to the extent of looking a little less polished if it leads to the impression of greater substance.
First and foremost, the best Democratic alternative to four more years of Nobama is the sitting secretary of state. Under George W. Bush this was the most honored office in his Cabinet. Condoleeza Rice has tremendous power and latitude. Hillary Clinton goes to town hall meetings in the Congo and begs money off of the Chinese while others handle major affairs separately. This has to grate on her. I would not be surprised to see Clinton resign in the next six to nine months. This would signal to the world that the Democratic nomination is up for grabs. Then it would be the battle of the Chicago Obama organization versus the Clintonistas. The difference between the two is that the Clintons have actually accomplished things.
How about a prominent Democratic governor? The fact is that in this group Joe Manchin has as much credibility as anyone. He has managed to maintain a stable face on state finances while other governments have gotten into trouble. Some may remember his exposure during the Sago mine disaster. Manchin looks, sounds, and acts more like the Clinton prototype than Obama, a fact that could win him credit with Clintonistas if their own hero passes.
The fact is that Obama is weak and stubbornly refuses to adapt his tone, policies, or actions. This adds up to a strong challenge in 2012 from his own party.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
iBy Terri Cullen Terri Cullen – Mon Feb 1, 4:09 pm ET
NEW YORK (Reuters.com) --The Obama administration's plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade relies heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families.
In the 2010 budget tabled by President Barack Obama on Monday, the White House wants to let billions of dollars in tax breaks expire by the end of the year -- effectively a tax hike by stealth.
While the administration is focusing its proposal on eliminating tax breaks for individuals who earn $250,000 a year or more, middle-class families will face a slew of these backdoor increases.
The targeted tax provisions were enacted under the Bush administration's Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. Among other things, the law lowered individual tax rates, slashed taxes on capital gains and dividends, and steadily scaled back the estate tax to zero in 2010.
If the provisions are allowed to expire on December 31, the top-tier personal income tax rate will rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent. But lower-income families will pay more as well: the 25 percent tax bracket will revert back to 28 percent; the 28 percent bracket will increase to 31 percent; and the 33 percent bracket will increase to 36 percent. The special 10 percent bracket is eliminated.
Investors will pay more on their earnings next year as well, with the tax on dividends jumping to 39.6 percent from 15 percent and the capital-gains tax increasing to 20 percent from 15 percent. The estate tax is eliminated this year, but it will return in 2011 -- though there has been talk about reinstating the death tax sooner.
Millions of middle-class households already may be facing higher taxes in 2010 because Congress has failed to extend tax breaks that expired on January 1, most notably a "patch" that limited the impact of the alternative minimum tax. The AMT, initially designed to prevent the very rich from avoiding income taxes, was never indexed for inflation. Now the tax is affecting millions of middle-income households, but lawmakers have been reluctant to repeal it because it has become a key source of revenue.
Without annual legislation to renew the patch this year, the AMT could affect an estimated 25 million taxpayers with incomes as low as $33,750 (or $45,000 for joint filers). Even if the patch is extended to last year's levels, the tax will hit American families that can hardly be considered wealthy -- the AMT exemption for 2009 was $46,700 for singles and $70,950 for married couples filing jointly.
Middle-class families also will find fewer tax breaks available to them in 2010 if other popular tax provisions are allowed to expire. Among them:
* Taxpayers who itemize will lose the option to deduct state sales-tax payments instead of state and local income taxes;
* The $250 teacher tax credit for classroom supplies;
* The tax deduction for up to $4,000 of college tuition and expenses;
* Individuals who don't itemize will no longer be able to increase their standard deduction by up to $1,000 for property taxes paid;
* The first $2,400 of unemployment benefits are taxable, in 2009 that amount was tax
"Who is John Galt?" Some people know very well what that question means. To conservatives and libertarians it signifies absolute liberty. To those on the Left who understand it represents their greatest fear, the voluntary abdication from society of its most productive individuals due to ever increasing burdens on their time, technique, and tax rates.
Ayn Rand created the character John Galt decades ago in her novel Atlas Shrugged. As industrialists in this book felt the increasing grip of big government on their business, demanding concessions while all the while continuing the populist corporate greed rhetoric, they simply disappeared. One by one they slipped away, to the panic of the government that relied on using social pressure and the law to enslave their skills.
John Galt is the character who contacts these people and convinces them to join him in a strike of the minds. Doctors, industrialists, poets, college professors, and people from all walks of life join a strike of the minds. They simply choose to not be enslaved by social pressure, by accusations of greed when they want to keep the rewards of their work. Those businesses that stay on and conform to a populist government's demands first see their products become more and more shoddy, then they break down completely.
Although a fictional character, John Galt's spirit lives in America's financial markets. Barack Obama has destroyed the confidence that we have in the immediate future. He has no policy and when in doubt, turns to the left. Obama needs banks behind him, but seeks to gain support by rhetorically pillorying them in public. The administration seeks to raise taxes and spending while undermining key industries and financial institutions at the same time. In short, Obama is demonstrating to the US how bankrupt leftists ideals really are by putting them into action. Unfortunately we all have to suffer.
Those with money have decided to sit this one out. Markets should have bounced back by now. Obama populism keeps them in fear and so they have gone on strike in a sense. Who wants to invest their money when the president might wake up one day with the whim to attack another industry or decide that profits off investment are greed and tax them away? Where is the money going? Into gold and silver, which get hidden away in safes and safe deposit boxes. The truly smart have bought these items entirely privately and secreted them away because you never know what will happen with this president.
In the House GOP retreat, the president made light of those with deep concerns about his agenda. He asked rhetorically if they really believed that he was part of a Bolshevik plot. His hectoring tone could not have reassured any who heard the sound of his voice. Like Caesar, he tried to walk into the hostile assembly to cow them with his presence. Fortunately Republicans are not built like Roman Senators and Obama is no Caesar. However the damage to our economy has been done and cannot be repaired without a change at the top.
It is not Obama, Paul Volker, Ben Bernanke, or Nancy Pelosi who will lead our economy in the next few years. It is John Galt.