Thursday, May 31, 2012

Springfield standoff - MassLive: "Cherokee group to protest Elizabeth Warren outside state Democratic convention in Springfield."
Here come the automatic Social Security cuts

I've been warning for years that current law requires that when the Social Security Trust Fund runs out of government bonds, benefits must be cut to match incoming revenues.  For most Americans, that means an automatic 25% cut in benefits.  But there's a much more immediate, much worse benefit cut than sending monthly checks to Baby Boomers.  WashPost: "Social Security disability trust fund projected to run out of cash in 2016."
A government entitlement program is headed for insolvency in four years, and it’s not the one members of Congress are talking about most.
The Social Security disability program’s trust fund is projected to run out of cash far sooner than the better-known Social Security retirement plan or Medicare. That will trigger a 21 percent cut in benefits to 11 million Americans — people with disabilities, plus their spouses and children — many of whom rely on the program to stay out of poverty.
Don't worry, though: Washington will break through and find a solution.
Neither President Obama nor House Republicans in their proposed budgets has addressed the disability program’s shortfall.
Oh well.
That's my governor!

Deval Patrick didn't exactly go for the jugular against Mitt Romney on Morning Joe today.  Hot Air: "Noted Obama surrogate from Massachusetts praises Bain & Romney."

On Bain: "Bain is a perfectly fine company.  They have a role in the private economy and I've got a lot of friends there."
On the Bay State unemployment rate when Romney left office: "I think when he left office, it was in the fours...yeah, not bad."

Maybe the Obama campaign can get Cory Booker back.

Extra - Politico: "Deval Patrick aims for Mitt Romney, hits Obama."

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Meanwhile, here in Western Massachusetts - The Bay State Democrats are holding their convention in Springfield this weekend and the big story is whether Marisa DeFranco can gather up 15% of the delegate vote to force Elizabeth "Fauxcahontas" Warren into a primary fight.  So, after stating repeatedly in the past that he would not inject himself into primary politics, Governor Deval Patrick endorsed Warren today in what can be interpreted as an attempt to keep DeFranco under the the 15% threshold.

Extra - Legal Insurrection: "Gov. Deval Patrick runs interference for Elizabeth Warren on false Cherokee claim."  With fun video.
What a bargain - Enterprise Blog: "CBO: Obama stimulus may have cost as much as $4.1 million per job."  The lowball estimate is a half-million in money borrowed.
Massachusetts miracle - Ace of Spades HQ: "Obama's newest attack on Romney: Massachusetts' unemployment rate was 4.7%."  This is why the Obama surrogates keep talking about being "47th in job growth" - there was almost full employment to begin with.  Meanwhile, guess which Lightbringer Chief Executive (aw, I gave it away) presided over the worst 30 months of employment in the last quarter-century.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Perfect gibberish

Today White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked to explain how Bain Capital's mixed record on helping businesses differs from Obama's investment of taxpayers' money.  His answer combines English words (I assume) in a way that sounds lucid but is sucked dry of exposition.

In case you missed it, here's the video:

Extra - From Hit & Run.
The cult of personality - Here's WashPost blogger Ed Rogers "Time for Democrats to decide: is Obama an idol or a President?"  "Many on the left have lost any insight into their own bias; nothing Obama says is over the top, and nothing he has done lacks significance or inspiration. Likewise, nothing Romney says or has done amounts to much. By forcing a halo upon Obama, suggesting dark hearts among any who don't see it and follow, and ignoring the virtues of a decent man like Romney, does not serve the president well. It stirs resentment among voters who chafe at being told to love him or else."  I'm looking at you, Nobel Peace Prize committee.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day

This number is going nowhere but up - Weekly Standard: "Last decade, 65% of federal expenditures went to pay for entitlements."  As we prepare to head deeper into debt, by all means, let's talk about really important matters.
A question on the House finale - How did House know what Wilson was saying at the funeral?  The moment Wilson starts calling him an "ass" the cellphone has a text messages reading "Shut up, you idiot."  Was House at the funeral in disguise?  It seems impossible that House could hobble in, unnoticed.  Anyway, here's a review from Maggie's Farm: "House MD: End of a cantankerous era."
The media discovers Obama is quite the spender - Doug Ross: "Oh my, even the Associated Press mocks Obama's deficit hawk claims."  And in case you missed it, the WashPost Factchecker bestowed three more Pinocchios on the White House spin.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The legend of Fauxcahontas

Three takeaways from this article in the Boston Globe today: "Filings add to questions on Warren's ethnic claims":

1.) Elizabeth Warren self-identified herself as Native American, presumably using the "high cheekbones" criteria: "According to both Harvard officials and federal guidelines, those statistics are almost always based on the way employees describe themselves."
2.) Harvard really wanted to check off the box of adding minorities to the faculty: "In the years before Warren first came to Harvard Law, the school was under intense pressure to diversify its faculty."
3.) Warren had no idea that Harvard was identifying her as a minority despite articles in the Harvard Crimson and a letter to the New York Times.

And, of course, Harvard was so very impressed with Warren's background that it would be churlish to suggest a position was opened for her based on her cookbook contributions.  Here in Massachusetts there's little evidence that this issue is hurting Warren in the polls but I don't see how she can extricate herself from this tangle once the Senate race heats up.

Extra - Legal Insurrection: "Warren listed as 'woman of color' in Harvard student journal."  Another reference she knew nothing about, presumably.

More - From Althouse.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Let's all pay taxes, and by "all" I mean those rich guys

I was listening to NPR this evening and caught this unintentionally humorous interview with California governor Jerry Brown:
Ryssdal: Why is it that this debate, Governor, happens on the far ends of the economic spectrum? We're talking about cutting services for the most needy in our society and taxing the very richest. How do you reconcile that with an electorate that lives mostly in the middle?
Brown: Well, the electorate in the middle is telling every survey that they don't want any more taxes. They are willing to see the taxes on the most affluent increase at least temporarily -- if it's for schools, for public safety and for the most vulnerable. So faced with a gap of $15.7 billion, I can either fold my tent and then just slash away, or I can give the voters an opportunity to say, 'OK, we'd like to shoulder part of that burden.'
And by "we", Brown means a tiny sliver of the Golden State population.  Golly I hope everybody's "willing" to let somebody else pay for California's mess!  Predictably, it's all about "economic fairness."
Blessed are the peacemakers - American Interest: "Peace Prize follies."  (H/T Arts & Letters).
Noted unicorn rider talks about the "real world"

Here's Jim Gereghty on the Corner:
President Barack Obama, who has spent almost all of his career and adult life in academia, law firms, and government, begins his criticism of Mitt Romney by declaring, “those of us who have spent time in the real world . . .”
It would probably be rude of me to think about Michelle Obama’s work, where her salary jumped from $121,910 to $316,962 per year after her husband became a U.S. senator, a job that was strangely left unfilled after she stepped down to focus on her husband’s campaign.
Such positions are quite challenging to find in the . . . real world.
It's a beautiful life and spending other people's (well, taxpayers) money means never having to say you're sorry.
Moving the goalposts again - Initial jobless claims edged down 2,000 last week, resulting in a lot of "jobs improve slightly" headlines.  How'd that happen?  Well, last week's estimate was revised up by 2,000 - voila! - a "better" job picture.  This is the 62nd time out of the last 63 estimates that have been revised in one direction.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hey big spender - Hot Air: "Correcting the media on Obama's spending record...again."

And James Pethokoukis adds some numbers to the fight: "As I point out in my original post, if Obama wins another term, spending—according to his own budget—would never drop below 22.3% of GDP. If that forecast is right, spending during Obama’s eight years in office would average 23.6% of GDP. That average is higher than any single previous non-war year in American history."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

David Brooks *hearts* private equity

The New York Times columnist has a full-throated defense of Bain Capital and firms that promote capitalism, jobs, and growth: "How Change Happens."  I, for one, believe that the Obama camp should keep on pushing this line of attack.

Let's have that debate about how that guy took control of a failing company and a hundred-thousand people lost their jobs.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What Americans want, but not really - Zero Hedge: "Americans want smaller government and lower taxes."  Yet government just continues to grow and grow under both Democrats and Republicans.
Julia wept - Nice Deb: "Dozens of Catholic institutions file suits over HHS mandate."  Notre Dame's president frames the argument perfectly: this is not a question about access to contraception, no matter how much the White House spins their "war on women" narrative.  It's about the government compelling religious institutions to violate their tenets.
Obama collects two more Pinocchios

He said that job growth was slower under Bush; the WashPost begs to differ:
There’s no doubt that Bush owns an unimpressive record on job creation. But Obama comes in either last, second-to-last or in the bottom half among presidents since the Great Depression, depending on which way you look at the numbers.
The president said that policies from 2000 through 2008 produced the “most sluggish job growth we’ve ever seen.” Perhaps so, but the worst numbers on record occurred under his watch.
As the article notes, Obama wants to count only private sector job growth and not from the start of his term or even the "end" of the recession but from when jobs started (slowly) coming back.  In other words, everything good is a result of The One's magic while everything bad is that other guy's fault.  And it only cost $5 trillion in new debt.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Incredible: non-cheerleading article appears in the NY Times - How did this one get past the editors?  Campbell Brown: "Obama, stop condescending to women."
Train in vain - Althouse: "Not even a busted fisc can stop Jerry Brown's train to nowhere."  With less than half the cash needed to fund California's high-speed rail boondoggle, I'm getting the distinct impression that Jerry Brown's strategy is the same as Teddy Kennedy's sinkhole, the "Big Dig."

Step one: get the underfunded project started.  Step two: go broke.  Step three: beg the federal government for a bailout.  Step four: Profit!
Take the money and run - Doug Ross: "Ruh roh: Europe's invisible bank run accelerates."
But can he win another? - CNN: "I'll Have Another wins Preakness in close finish."  One more and we'll have the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Legendary DJ Pete Fornatale, rest in peace

I just got off the phone with my buddy who told me Pete Fornatale died a couple weeks ago.  Now that I'm living in Massachusetts, the news of New York disc jockeys doesn't make the headlines.  But it should.  This paragraph from his obit in the NY Times brings back all those rock-n-roll memories:
Mr. Fornatale was at the forefront of the FM revolution, along with WNEW-FM colleagues like Scott Muni, Rosko, Vin Scelsa, Dennis Elsas, Jonathan Schwartz and Alison Steele (who called herself “the Nightbird”). They played long versions of songs, and sometimes entire albums, and talked to their audiences in a conversational tone very different from the hard-sell approach of their AM counterparts.
Fornatale! Muni! Elsas!  I grew up in northern New Jersey listening to WNEW and the New York rock stations and there was an intimacy with these DJs that simply does not exist with the loudmouth drive-time jerks which populate the airwaves today.  One of my favorite segments on WNEW was the "Perfect Album Side" where fans would suggest a side to listen to, non-stop and commercial free (e.g. side 1 of "Born to Run.")  And, boy, did they know their music from artist to liner notes.

Dennis Elsas has a tribute to Fornatale up at his WFUV page.  I'm going to listen and remember Pete.
The media's response and responsibility - Tom Maguire has been all over the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case and his coverage is less about the altercation than the subtext of how the media has handled the case.  Which is poorly as he demonstrates today in the WashPost's coverage.  Can't "professional" reporters get even the most basic facts right?  If there are riots after Zimmerman's all-but-certain acquittal, there will be blood on the hands of the media who stoked their narrative first and reported the facts...eventually.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shocking: people try to avoid paying taxes

I think Facebook founder Eduardo Saverin is a bit of a jerk to renounce his U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes on his IPO windfall, but that's his decision.  Of course, NY Senator Chuck Schumer never misses an opportunity to grab a headline with the outrage du jour so he's trying to move some punitive law that will go nowhere.

In turn, Zero Hedge has a "A simple question for Senator Schumer."  "Can Senator Schumer please rep, warrant and guarantee that none of his corporate sponsors, i.e., his Top 100 Contributors, have ever engaged in any form of explicit or implicit tax avoidance, tax offshoring, and tax shelter."  Wow, that's quite a list, including the Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and union-buster Verizon.  Let's see that clean bill of patriotic taxpaying, Senator.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sorry, Gramps - Derek Thompson at the Atlantic: "Why older Americans have the worst long-term unemployment crisis."  Part of it is higher health care costs and another part is that they still remember floppy disks.
The President makes a lot of sense

No, not that one:
Bill Clinton said Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s goal of hiking taxes on the rich alone is not enough to solve the country’s fiscal woes and suggested that middle class Americans must also eventually contribute more.
Meanwhile, Obama was continuing his "Steel Magnolias" tour by taking to "The View" to suggest that the country could close our trillion-dollar deficits if - gosh darn it - we could pass that Buffett rule.  Also, America might be racist if he doesn't win re-election.

Monday, May 14, 2012

California enters the death spiral - Jennifer Rubin in the WashPost: "We don't all wish to be California."  Jerry Brown banked on hope and delusion (not necessarily in that order) in the belief that a suddenly-improving business climate would lead to revenues that would forestall painful budget cuts.

Alas, the tax revenues did not materialize and spending continued unchecked.  Now California is facing not the $9 billion deficit it expected but a yawning $16 billion hole.  In other words, the budget cuts coming that were once just painful will now be excruciating and Gov. Brown wants raise taxes in the state with the 48th worst business tax climate.  Good luck with that plan, buddy.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Living in borrowed times - Zero Hedge notes that it now costs $2.50 in new debt to generate $1 in GDP growth.
Oh, oh, oh, it's magic! - You know.  Never believe it's not so.  Maggie's Farm has four clips from Penn & Teller's show "Fool Us."  Watch the first clip with the birds before you read down.  Impressive.

Friday, May 11, 2012

There's the camera

I'm playing in a trivia contest tonight that, typically, would ask players to name all the movies in this montage.  I'm proud to claim "The 400 Blows."  That's a deep cut.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Inexplicably, another law school identifies Elizabeth Warren as Cherokee faculty

The Boston Globe reports that while at the University of Pennsylvania, Fauxcahontas was identified as minority professor.  Why do these mistakes keep happening?
The reference offers another piece of evidence that Warren was identified as a Native American as part of her professional career. Warren has said she was unaware that Harvard University, her current employer, had described her as a Native American when it was under fire for a lack of diversity on its law school faculty.
Bryan Preston quips: "Once could be a mistake.  Twice, that's a career strategy."

It's funny when people try to gain an advantage with Native American heritage:
Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) learn that all of Lily's friends have been put in preschool causing the couple to panic. Mitchell calls Claire to see if Wagon Wheel is a good school and asks her if she can get them an appointment. At Wagon Wheel the assistant tells them with their diversity (Mitchell and Cameron being gay and Lily being Asian) they can get into any preschool. Mitchell starts calling Cameron his life partner to seem even more diverse to make it in Billingsley, the expensive school nicknamed "the Harvard of preschools." They soon become beaten at their own game by an interracial, disabled lesbian couple with an adopted African American child. Cameron pretends to be one sixteenth cherokee to seem more diverse in their interview. They eventually decide to go to Wagon Wheel after bombing the interview.
Oh Cam, that's so hilariously underhanded.  You should be a Senator.
Winner of a story - Here's the latest narrative from the Obama campaign: after spending $299 million in taxpayer money, Obama saved this guy's job...except he's been employed since 2006.  Scrubbing your Facebook was a winning move, buddy.
The layoffs will continue until morale improves - Hit & Run: "High unemployment is the new normal": "The headline unemployment statistics are wrong. Unemployment is higher than 8.1 percent and it will be for a while."

Not to worry: initial jobless claims dropped last week after the previous week's claims were revised upward for the 17th straight week.  So they can go down.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Ceci n'est pas une pipe employee #50 - Business Week: "Why France has so many 49-employee companies": "Here’s a curious fact about the French economy: The country has 2.4 times as many companies with 49 employees as with 50. What difference does one employee make? Plenty, according to the French labor code. Once a company has at least 50 employees inside France, management must create three worker councils, introduce profit sharing, and submit restructuring plans to the councils if the company decides to fire workers for economic reasons."

Monday, May 07, 2012

Mark Halperin beclowns himself

The Time magazine "journalist" comes across as a bespectacled pre-teen, looking longingly at all the kids in their clubhouse having a swell time.  Gee, they're a cool bunch!  Ann Althouse accurately calls this piece "a particularly silly example of press love for Obama."

This section in particular caused me to LOL:
Romney also has the luxury of an open schedule. Although without the gilded mantle of the presidency, he can spend every waking hour as a full-time candidate, while the President is required to do his day job.
Oh yes, it's a non-stop schedule of fundraisers, golf, posh parties, campaign stops masquerading as "policy speeches" and checking boxes.  Obama's so busy, he just doesn't have time for press conferences or passing economy-killing budgets.  The poor man should take a vacation.
Deep into the Big Red - Forbes: "Ten reasons Wall Street should be (very) worried about the U.S. debt."  There are two common themes in the article: one is that spending is on auto-pilot and there is virtually no political will to address an unsustainable level of debt.  Otherwise, it's a fun read.

Related - Zero Hedge notes that non-revolving debt has hit an all-time record, as the federal government encourages car loans to prop up Government Motors and further inflates the student loan bubble.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Julia and Elizabeth

Mark Steyn "Composite Americans": "Have you dated a composite woman? They're America's hottest new demographic."

That poor, fatherless kid - City Journal: "The life of Zachary."

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Obama 2012: "Look at all the stuff I gave you with the money I borrowed from China"

Hot Air reviews the life and times of "Julia" who enjoyed the benefits of the federal government while the national debt climbed to over $20 trillion.  Curiously, the Obama narrative leaves out this salient point and the less-than-hypothetical scenario where China stops borrowing U.S. Treasuries or - worse - asks for their money back.

It seems that hypothetical "Julia" will enjoy the benefits of Social Security when she retires, despite the statements by those liars at the Social Security Administration.  David Harsanyi nails this one:
If you think Social Security benefits allow you to live your retirement without worry, you deserve Barack Obama.
Keep living the dream, America.

Extra - IBD: "Obama promises women a lifetime of dependence."

More - From Powerline: "In this election, the lines couldn’t be more clearly drawn. The Democrats are the party of free stuff. Well, not actually free of course, but taxed away from someone who earned it or borrowed from our children."

And this - The Memeorandum wrap-up.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

America, heck yeah!

Heaven knows I have many, many problems with President Obama.  But, honestly, I don't have an issue with an American President going to the heart of Taliban country and saying: "Remember that guy we swore we'd kill?  He's sleeping with the fishes.  He's pushing up sea cucumbers in Davy Jones' locker."

He's the Commander-in-Chief (for now) and, let's face it, if the whole deal had gone south we'd be talking about Carter's "Desert One" until the cows come home.  It's his one unvarnished moment of glory - let him have it.