Friday, December 31, 2010

Binary date 1-1-11

Happy New Year, loyal readers. This will be the first new year since 1999 where there won't be two zeros in the year to make silly eyeglass lenses. Have a good one.
Slow news day, NY Times? - Breaking news from New Mexico! "No pardon for Billy the Kid."

Now nobody can say that Bill Richardson is soft on 19th-century crime, so you can just forget about it Henry Wirz.
Somebody should do something about these insolvent public pensions. Well, goodbye! - NY Daily News: "Gov. David Paterson sounds pension alarm on last day in office."
Here they come - CBS News: "Medicare bound to bust as first Boomers hit 65."

Extra - Powerline: "Catching on to the entitlement disaster." Welcome to the party, pal!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hey, they really are the chosen people - Hot Air: "Huge natural gas reserves found off Israeli coast." If there's one thing I know, it's that large energy sources have a stabilizing effect from Venezuela to Yemen.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This week in security theater

While TSA agents spent the holiday making sure there were no explosives in your testicles, a .40 caliber gun in a carry-on bag took off from Houston and a checked bag full of bullet primers exploded on the tarmac in Miami.

In other pat-down news, my nipples explode with delight:

Spreading the wealth around - WashPost: "Masked 'Hillary Clinton' robs Virginia bank."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Strange numbers - The General Accountability Office (GAO) has problems with the accounting at a major institution.
The "Oliver Twist" states - California, New York and Illinois may find that 2011 is the "Year of Insolvency" and they'll be approaching the federal government - bowl in hand - for "more."
So good that nobody wants it - The Boston Globe reports on the Obamacare program for high-risk patients: "Last spring the Medicare program's chief actuary predicted that 375,000 people would sign up by the end of 2010. In early November, the Health and Human Services Department reported that just 8,000 had enrolled."

Despite the low participation, the article reports that medical expenses for the program have been "much higher than anticipated." Uh-huh.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Not as much fun as the "Best Movies" list - Heritage: "Top 10 Charts of 2010."

Extra - Some other year-end lists from Protein Wisdom.

More - Politico: "Best quotes of 2010." Yes, the rent is too high.
Seeking sunnier climes - High tax states are losing taxpayers: "States taxing themselves to death." And - surprise, surprise - guess which New England state has the highest per-capita state tax burden in the country? It starts with "M" and ends with "assachusetts."

More - From Q&O.
It's come to this - Cities are hitting up churches and charities, because only the government can help you now. WSJ: "Strapped cities hit nonprofits with fees."
"We must now be unfair to someone" - This too-good-to-excerpt Robert Samuelson article confronts the dilemma that America faces by failing to honestly address entitlement spending. Either we pare back on Medicare and Social Security (unfair to seniors) or we impose much higher tax rates on workers (unfair to future generations). The alternate choice is to continue to pile up unprecedented peacetime debt levels and risk the implosions of Greece and Ireland or the slow decline of Japan.

More - From Douglas Holtz-Eakin.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas all - After watching "A Christmas Story" about eight times today, I noticed that the Old Man is never directly privy to the information that Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. He just knows.


Friday, December 24, 2010

The "You'll shoot your eye out" remix

Merry Christmas, everyone:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Headline of the day - From northeast Wales: "Ysbyty Gwynedd reject staff criticism on snow transport." I think it's a town.
Canary in the Alabama coal mine

The NY Times has a story this morning about a town where the pension fund ran dry, and it couldn't pay out promised benefits. So they didn't. Take note of "Alabama town's failed pension is a warning."

Yeah, it's against state law, but you can't squeeze money from a stone. This sentence in particular could have been lifted from any one of my dozens of posts on Social Security and/or pension reform: "...if nothing changes, the money does eventually run out, and when that happens, misery and turmoil follows."

That's depressing. You know what's easier? Let's just pretend that the Social Security Trust Fund is a real thing, piled high with saved cash. Ahhhhh...much better. Now who wants hot chocolate?!

Extra - WSJ: "For cities and towns facing unsustainable pension costs, the end game may look something like Prichard, Alabama."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We're going to make Obamacare work if it kills you - Like any government policy that runs against the headwinds of public opinion and the free market, the Obama administration is resorting to price controls to "make" Obamacare work. They won't and never have. Reason Online explains the pretzel logic of deciding if insurance companies are raising rates too much: "Unreasonable if excessive, excessive if unreasonable."

Flashback - And what happened in Massachusetts after price controls? Boston Globe: "Primary care doctors harder to find, report says." You can have all the inexpensive and available health care you can find as long as you can wait 50 days.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dot.Com is presumed to be OK - Tracy Morgan and Grizz both had kidney transplants this year. What's going on over at "30 Rock"?
The states and the pension problem - It's likely that Robert Samuelson wrote his article about the unfunded liabilities weighing down the states with debt before last night's episode of "60 Minutes." Bottom line: a lot of states owe a lot of money they don't have, meaning that either government services will need to be slashed or the states will need to default on promises made to government workers.

By the way, did you know the U.S. Debt Clock will also break down debt by states? Here's Massachusetts.
Stuff you don't wanna do - It's the individual mandate again. Hit & Run: "No, Congress has not regulated inactivity before."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brick-and-mortars hitting a wall - I was in the local mall Friday and, man, the place was empty for a week before Christmas. This may have something to do with it: "Thanks in part to free shipping, online holiday shopping up 12%." It will be interesting to see how the sales tax revenues compare since Massachusetts upped the rate from 5% to 6.25%.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Averting the crisis - Cato at Liberty "Omnibusted": "Only substantial spending cuts combined with a reduction in the scope of the federal government's activities can prevent a fiscal calamity."
Health care reform fight moves to the Sunshine State

It sounds like the federal judge in Florida is not impressed with the Administration's argument for the individual mandate. WSJ: "Judge leery of health mandate"

Ian Gershengorn, a Justice Department lawyer representing the administration, said the health insurance market is unlike any other, since all Americans at some point get medical care. Requiring them to carry insurance is just a way of regulating how they pay for it, and preventing all those with insurance coverage from subsidizing the cost of others' uncompensated care, he said.

"It is not shoes, it is not cars, it is not broccoli," he said.

Judge Vinson took issue with the suggestion that the uninsured don't pay for their care. He said he was uninsured in law school when his son was born, and joked that the delivery bill came to about $100 per pound. "I paid it," he told the court.
Whoops! It's the old-style individual mandate.

Extra - Reason: "Health insurance is neither shoes nor broccoli - good to know!"

More - And here's Florida's attorney general writing in the WashPost today.
This means something - After some grandstanding, the House passed the Bush tax cut extension tonight: "Congress sends tax cut bill to Obama's desk." So deficits will widen (again) but the recovery is so fragile, we can't let tax rates rise. I guess - I'm conflicted.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This was so cool back in 1982

Trillion dollar baby - Opinion Journal: "The 111th Congress's final insult." "The worst Congress in modern history is true to its essence to the bitter end."
Ebay payback - I don't know if this story is true (probably not) but it's sure funny: "How I got an uncooperative eBay buyer to pay for her purchase." (h/t Fark.) The comments are good, too.
Twisted history - The Foundry: "The use and abuse of the Founders: the individual mandate is still unprecedented and unconstitutional." Quote: "The Second Militia Act of 1792 neither sanctions nor foreshadows the individual mandate in the recently passed health care legislation."
Well this just makes no sense - After passing an unpopular health reform bill, running up trillion-dollar deficits, working to raise taxes, and failing to pass a single appropriations bill to fund the government, I just don't understand this headline from Gallup: "Congress' job approval rating worst in Gallup history."

C'mon January and bring on the Slurpee sippers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The "Children of Men" scenario

Megan comments on "The preposterousness of the Commerce Clause":

On a reading of the commerce clause that allows the government to force you to buy insurance from a private company, what can't the government force you to do?

This doesn't seem to be a question that interests progressives; they just aren't very excited about economic liberty beyond maybe the freedom to operate a food truck. And so they seem genuinely bewildered by a reading of the commerce clause that narrows its scope, or an attempt to overturn the mandate even though this might lead us into a single payer system. If you view this solely as tactical maneuvering, perhaps it really is preposterous.

And of course, for some conservatives, these operations are tactical, but for a lot, it's an actual horror at the ever-expanding assertion of government powers. I'd like it if they'd get equally horrified about, say, the TSA and the drug laws, but there you are: neither side is as consistently supportive of liberty as I'd like.
I was thinking about the P.D. James book (and similar movie) "The Children of Men" set in a dystopian future of mass infertility. As the population ages and dies away, there are no children being born to support the creaky, desperate society. I know this is bit of a stretch but what if the government declared that – in the interest of regulating commerce and keeping the factories running with workers – birth control should be outlawed?

Preposterous, I know. But this is the question that I keep seeing over and over again: what can't the government force you to do? We laugh about "eating broccoli" and "compulsory exercise" today to keep health costs down but the much larger concern is what portion of freedom we're willing to give up for health care. The individual mandate is a novel and unexplored extension of what used to be a limited government.

I hope the liberal supporters of health care reform understand that once they cut down the laws to get what they want, the devil may turn around on them.
News unfit to print - A Washington Post poll found that support for Obamacare has hit a new low, therefore the newspaper reported it nowhere.

Related - They can't hide the truth over at MSNBC.

Monday, December 13, 2010

So long, and thanks for the speech Bernie Sanders - Politico: "Tax deal advances in Senate."
Today's Obamacare ruling

WSJ: "Judge Calls Health Law Unconstitutional" The ruling stands on the position that the high-water mark of the Commerce Clause doesn't extend to coercion to purchase a product:

Judge Hudson, of the Eastern District of Virginia, said the individual mandate "would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers."

He added: "At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance-or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage-it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."
And here's some more commentary from the lawyers at Power Line and Legal Insurrection. Also, as noted at Hot Air, Judge Hudson rejected the "now you see me, now you don't" argument that the penalty for failing to carry health insurance falls under the government's power to tax, when this very idea was rejected in both the letter of the law and the debate for passage.

Extra - Good stuff from the Minuteman.

More - Whoops, here's some salt in the wound: "Coinciding with a federal judge’s ruling invalidating a key element of the health care reform law, an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds support for the landmark legislation at a new low – but division on what to do about it." Medic!

And this - Maggie's Farm: "Virginia, Severance & Section 1501."
Rest in peace, Richard Holbrooke - I heard on NPR today that his initial emergency surgery took twenty hours. Obviously there was a lot of damage from the aorta tear.
Breaking: Federal judge rules Obamacare individual mandate unconstitutional.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Amazing Race finale update – Nat & Kat win the Amazing Race!

We're down to the final three teams: Team QVC, Team Surgeons, and Team Faceless Young Couple; I'm kinda hoping one of the all-female teams wins the one million-dollar prize tonight. I'm also hoping that TAR will offer up a different kind of challenge at the end since everyone (now) knows it's going to be a recap of the season.

Jill & Thomas leave at almost 4 am from Korea to the final destination at Los Angeles. Brook & Claire are a half-hour behind, followed by Nat & Kat a couple minutes later. Everybody's on the same flight so it's an even match heading back to America. Once in California it's a race to Long Beach and the first challenge: teams have to climb a crane and then do a bungee jump. Nat from Team Surgeons is terrified of heights, so this one might be a problem. But she muscles through and they do the quick drop. Brook from Team QVC, on the other hand, does a lot of screaming.

After the bungee drop, teams take their next clue which directs them to a helicopter and a surprise destination. Everybody's pretty close together. Nat & Kat arrive first at the Rose Bowl and they take tag #1 at the next clue box. It's the Roadblock: one team member must decorate a float for the Rose parade with hundreds of flowers. This looks like it could take hours. Nat finishes first and Team Surgeons takes the next clue, which is in puzzle form, so they need to figure out where to go.

The first clue is "I am Sancho Panza's master." Is that Don Quixote? Yep, they need to go to Quixote Studios. Jill & Thomas gets a driver who has never heard of the Internet. Ha! He keeps saying "I have GPS" which doesn't have Google. Team Surgeons arrives first and it's time for a video challenge and there's Bob Eubanks who will give teams the next clue.

This is a good one: teams must identify from a huge video screen the eleven country greeters they met at each Pit Stop along the Race. Brook & Claire stop to look up the location on the Internet. Meanwhile, Jill & Thomas are just yelling at people in LA to help with the Internet but nobody seems to know what they're doing. Nat & Kat make their choices carefully (if slowly) then take their clue from Bob Eubanks. It's now a race to Greystone Mansion and the finish line. It's looking really good for Team Surgeons since the other teams haven't even arrived at the final challenge yet.

Team QVC arrives at the video challenge next. Team Surgeons are in traffic but this is an obvious ploy to build suspense. Brook & Claire are now heading to Beverly Hills and the finish line. Jill & Thomas are lost with the worst taxi driver in California – this is one of the variables of the Race. They're trying to make it look close between the two all-female teams, but Team Surgeons arrives first and Phil declares them the winners of the Amazing Race. Nat talks about completing the Race even though she has diabetes, and Kat says some nice things. They were really a good team who never really yelled at each other and were generally supportive the whole time.

Brook & Claire arrive next and we're shown Claire's melon-to-the-head shot again. Jill & Thomas are next. It's hugs all around and time for the final photos. In the coming attractions for next season (in only two months!) it's being called "Unfinished Business" but essentially it's an all-star race with previous non-winning teams given a second chance.

Final standings:

#1 – Team Surgeons – Nat & Kat – WINNERS
#2 – Team QVC – Brook & Claire
#3 – Team Faceless Young Couple – Jill & Thomas
John Galt and the quiet magician - I have all of Penn & Teller's books and loved them long before their truth-telling Showtime series. So imagine my added surprise to find that one of Teller's favorite books is "Atlas Shrugged." He also gets a plug in for the Amazing Randi.
Social Security will be cut, one way or another - Writing in today's Boston Globe, Robert Pozen clears up some of the myths about Social Security and the recommendations for reform put forward by the deficit commission. The one critical thing to remember is this: it's useless to rail about "cuts" to the system since they're already in place. His closing sentence: "Most importantly, it is overly simplistic to say that the proposal "cuts" Social Security benefits because the current system has only enough money to finance three-quarters of scheduled benefits starting in 2038."
That's football weather! - It's near white-out conditions on Soldier Field as the New England Patriots face off against the Chicago Bears. Full-out blizzard snow with high winds.

And here's a video of the Metrodome collapsing due to heavy snow. You'd think they would design for that Minnesota.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The self-esteem movement run amok

In my learned and, well, awesome opinion, I think narcissism is a nuisance, but not a disease.

Crazy stuff I found out today - Ken Jeong, who has appeared as a doctor in "Knocked Up" and as Senor Chang in "Community" is an actual medical doctor.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Teleprompter down, Obama goes to his back-up

The video is bizarre. After inviting former President Clinton to the White House to pitch tax policy, President Obama ditches Bubba at the press conference so he can go to a Christmas party. Bryan Preston discusses the optics:

Here’s what I saw. I saw a current president who has never looked less interested in doing his job. I also saw a former president who never lost interest in doing that job. Obama’s demeanor and body language suggested that he’d rather be anywhere but where he was, and then he followed through and actually bolted for the door. Clinton’s demeanor was that of a passionate wonk trying to sell a policy he actually cared about, that he thought would be good for the country. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t even his own policy that he was selling.
I saw a president who, for a few minutes a least, ceded his job to his predecessor. He’d failed to sell his own policy, so he needed and got some rescue from Clinton.
This was the third press appearance President Obama has made this week, and it was far and away the weirdest presidential press briefing I’ve ever seen. Where Obama goes from here is anyone’s guess.

Where does Obama go from here? If history is any guide, it's from the Christmas party to the golf course and then it's time to shoot some hoops with the Lakers. There's a reason that people are asking if he's going to be a one-term President that has nothing to do with his Administration. The Obama Show is wearing thin.

Extra - Jim Treacher: "Did Obama just quit?"

Man plans, God laughs - And sometimes the Big Guy is just havin' fun: "Cancun is hosting the U.N. conference on man-made climate change - amid record cold temperatures."

Extra - Legal Insurrection: "Irony hits Cancun at full force."
Festival of lights

Waiting for jobs - Businesses have a lot of cash, but there's that uncertainty. WSJ: "Companies keep a tight grip on cash."
Looking for leadership on the deficit - There's something both sad and unsurprising in this Bloomberg headline: "Americans in poll say cut deficit with entitlements secured as rich pay up."

Impossible. There's no level of taxation of the "rich" which will pay for the accumulations of promises in Medicare and Social Security. Taxes will need to go up on everybody and we're going to have to curb entitlements to get close to a manageable level of deficit spending. Don't look for anybody in Washington to step up to reality.

Extra - Here's a relevant update: "November federal budget deficit highest on record."
I'm back! - What a crazy two days: winter concerts and Christmas scrambling.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Cops call it "handcuff courage"

It's when perps (usually impaired by alcohol) start acting tough the very moment they have the cuffs slapped on or they're put in the back seat of a cruiser. Then they're ready for a fight.

Thus, these headlines: "Democrats could scuttle Obama-GOP tax deal."
And from The Hill: "Senator Durbin: Dems could walk out on tax-cut deal."

Arrrgh! Did you hear that liberal base? Dems are angry too! And whose fault is this? Well if you listen to the stereo speakers of Barack Obama and Byron York, it's your fault. Wow, politics really does make strange bedfellows.

Extra - Angry callers crash the White House phone lines.
Joe Biden said that? - Today on Memorandum, it appeared that they were linking to a Washington Post story by the Vice President titled "Obama: On the way to a failed presidency?" It wouldn't be his first gaffe.

Monday, December 06, 2010

F-bombs and assorted unsavory references

Well, it looks like President Obama has struck a deal with Congressional Republicans, who are essentially in charge now. The Bush tax cuts will be extended for two years, payroll taxes will see a temporary cut, the estate tax will stay at 35% instead of 55%, and unemployment insurance will be extended to 13 months for certain tiers.

As a deficit hawk, I'm not thrilled about the tax cuts but I also recognize that the economy is fragile and raising taxes in a recession is crazier. I think Cato director Chris Edwards has it right here: "The message of the election was not that Americans thought their taxes were too low, but that the government was too big." Spending is the problem in search of leadership.

But, man, I've been checking out some of the liberal blogs and they really, really hate this tax deal, Obama, and the Democrats in Congress. Oh they're angry at the Republicans but much more at the Democrats for alternately failing to pass the middle-class tax cuts before the midterm elections, or using their large majorities to push through their own tax plan, or for failing to go to the brink and throw the issue into the next Congress.

Hey, let's keep it clean. There are kids on the Intertubes.

Extra - In between the clamoring for primary challengers, I thought this comment was kinda funny: "I think Obama is positioning himself for the 2012 GOP nomination."
Can't blog, watching football - Big NFL matchup tonight: Patriots and Jets, both 9-2, are fighting for top dog in the AFC.

Update - End of the 1st and it's all Patriots, baby. 17-0
Halftime - It's 24-3 Patriots. I think Tom Brady will grab the record for most consecutive wins at home tonight.
Start of the 4th - 38-3. The line on this game was 3.5 points. Well, I guess I can go to bed.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Amazing Race – A little bit of Seoul (alternate headline: Seoul survivors)

With four teams remaining, this will be the last regular episode before the season finale. One team will certainly be eliminated (that is, Team Vegas) and the last three will head on to the million-dollar final leg of the Race. Teams left Hong Kong and headed to Seoul, South Korea; once at the airport, teams need to drive to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) near North Korea. The instructions that the teams receive have a warning: "Don't cross the border." Uh, yeah.

The teams arrive at the airport and we find that the first flight to Seoul leaves at 12:25 am, which means that Team Vegas – even with a six-hour penalty – may make the late flight. There's some creative editing to give the impression they may make the flight, but they don't. Team Vegas is told the next flight is 9:30 the following morning so this means their six-hour penalty has now turned into a nine-hour penalty. Team Vegas is so far back that we're probably going to see Phil greet them at the airport in Seoul to say "never mind."

In Korea, teams find a bridge where they're told they need to raft down a river to the U.S. Military base Camp Casey. Jill & Thomas take a small lead, followed by Team QVC and Team Surgeons. An all-female team has never won the Amazing Race but one of these might make it. At Camp Casey, teams find the Roadblock: one team member must choose a headband and try to match it among 200 soldiers practicing Tae Kwan Do. Jill & Thomas finish first and head to Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Here at the stadium, it's the Detour: Full Throttle or Full Bottle. Teams may either speed skate 24 laps or deliver ginsing roots to a pharmacy. The ice skating isn't timed, so I think it's probably best to just "speed" skate around the rink. Brook & Claire are shown getting into a cab when the clue clearly said to either go by foot or subway. However, this is probably a 30-minute penalty at the mat. Nick & Vicki are way, way behind so this isn't going to save them from elimination. Team Faceless Young Couple and Team QVC finish speed skating pretty close together.

Meanwhile Team Surgeons hasn't arrived yet and Team Vegas is lost in Seoul following some guy who said he could lead him to the first clue. Team QVC get to the next clue which directs them to the Temple of Heaven which is the Pit Stop. I fully expect they'll be told they're the "first team to arrive" and not "Team #1" since they're going to get a penalty.

As I predicted, they're the "first team to arrive" and they're hit with a 30-minute penalty. (Man, I've been watching this show a long time.) Jill & Thomas arrive next and slide into first place. Team QVC is checked in next and it looks like Team Surgeons will be there soon. Team Vegas is driven straight to the military base where they perform their Speed Bump of cleaning a tank. It looks like they were then driven directly to the Pit Stop to face the music.

Final standings:

#1 – Team Faceless Young Couple – Jill & Thomas
#2 – Team QVC – Brook & Claire
#3 – Team Surgeons – Nat & Kat
#4 – Team Vegas – Nick & Vicki – PHILIMINATED

Next week: Season finale. I'm rooting for one of the two all-female teams.
"Fair Game" - The Washington Post editorial page pans the movie that nobody's seeing anyway: "full of distortions - not to mention outright inventions."
You're not as confused as Obama - This is one of these times when I invoke my "Spinal Tap" rule where any article that mentions the greatest rock group ever gets a link. Here's Glenn Reynolds in the Washington Examiner: "Obama presidency turns government up to 11."

Friday, December 03, 2010

Get happy!

The world is moving towards the healthy, wealthy corner:

Dick Durbin said that? - Writing in the Chicago Tribune, the assistant Senate majority leader explains "Why I'm voting 'yes'" on the deficit commission plan. On NPR yesterday, I heard Durbin taking the perfectly reasonable position that raising the Social Security by one year (to 68) over a timeframe of 40 years is not a radical shift. What's this strange feeling in me? Respect? No!
Waiting for Recovery Summer Fall Winter Spring - Good gravy, $787 billion in stimulus and (almost) no jobs in sight: "Unemployment rises to 9.8%, only 39,000 jobs gained." Unexpectedly, of course.

Related - Washington Examiner: "Washington is why the economy is not growing."

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The 19% limit

Over at Reason, Nick Gillespie excoriates Fareed Zakaria's latest article and schools him on the limits of deficit cutting by raising taxes. Here's the graph:

It's a simple, plain, and nearly universally unacknowledged fact that the feds haven't been able to raise revenue much past the 19 percent of GDP bar for any period of time since World War II. Doesn't matter the the top marginal rate is, or the bottom, or nothing. The government is going to pull in just under 19 percent maximum. Some years it might be a bit higher and some a bit lower, but it ain't budging over the long haul (defined as the last 60 or so years). That is the limit of what we can spend if we want to have a balanced budget. Obama's own budget projections have the feds spending more than 22 percent of GDP each year over the next decade. You do the math.
Raising taxes will not constrain spending since it's been calculated that every new dollar in taxes leads to $1.17 in additional spending. We're now borrowing forty cents for every dollar spent by the federal government; lenders are not going to let cheap credit flow forever. Spending needs to get in the same ballpark as revenues.

Extra - Whoops! Did I say 40 cents? We're now borrowing 43 cents for every dollar spent. Don't try this at home, kids.
Stop and START – George Will notes that President Obama seems awfully insistent about ratifying a treaty with Russia of marginal importance. I suppose it would be wrong to suggest that he cares more about ticking something off his "achievement" list than allowing the Senate to perform their traditional duty.
Well knock me over with a feather

Hot Air: "Deficit commission: Obamacare savings are a myth"
Remember how Democrats boasted that health reform would cut the budget deficit by $170 billion over the next decade and far more after that? The deficit commission must not have gotten that memo. It says health spending projections under the new law “count on large phantom savings” and the reform law’s new long-term care program that the report calls “unsustainable.”
If I remember correctly, some of funding for the health care bill depended on allowing the automatic Medicare cuts to occur - cuts that nobody believed would happen. And they didn't.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Set your bookmarks - Jennifer Rubin, who is one of my favorite (ex)-bloggers at Contentions is now writing at a new Washington Post blog called Right Turn. Her must-read early morning preview, formerly known as "Flotsam and Jetsam" is now "Morning Bits." Good luck, Jen.
Back in black - That's where the deficit commission wants to take us. Slate: "Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles try to scare America into doing something about the deficit."

Maybe I'm wrong about the deficit. But maybe I'm right and the consequences of inaction are going to be wrenching for America at that tipping point when lenders decide it might not be a good idea to lend us some more cash. Because that's panic time, baby.

"Game over, man! Game over!"
Hitting the kids again

The Minuteman takes note that a Virginia judge upheld Obamacare's individual mandate, and makes this observation:
Let's see - should I buy the kids a laptop to help them get ahead in school or plunk down a few grand to subsidize some geezer's health care today and make sure that I will be cared for in forty years? Tough call!
That's an important consideration for all you young workers (and Obama voters): not only will you see your Social Security benefits slashed and your Medicare assistance disappear when you turn grey, the individual mandate requires you to contribute to a system where almost all the benefits will flow to older Americans. None dare call it a tax and we pinky-swear those health care benefits will be around when you need them.

Extra - From Reason Online.