Thursday, October 30, 2014

Just one

Fox News: "Holder says ‘subpoena’ to Fox News reporter is his one regret."  My bad, almost destroying your career, infringing on your First Amendment rights, and stuff.

Extra - Business as usual at the DOJ: "FBI Announces Investigation of GOP Senate Candidate Days Before Election."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Frat house foreign policy

We're in the very best of hands: our enemies march overland while this White House insults our only ally in the Middle East.  The Corner: "The Embarassing, Sophomoric Malice of Obama-Administration Foreign Policy":
The Islamic State rampages, Hamas restocks (with the help of American humanitarian aid), Boko Haram kidnaps, the Taliban advance, Russia owns new/old ground in Europe. And amidst the ruin of their foreign policy, the intellectual and emotional infants in the Obama administration hashtag away, mustering up their anger and fury to sling schoolyard insults at a close ally. All while doing their best to defer the hardest fighting against emerging enemies to the Oval Office’s next occupant.

Bravo. You truly have “reset” American foreign policy. You must feel so proud.
Ed Driscoll piles on John Kerry, our erstwhile Secretary of State, who is doing something I-don't-know-what.  As for me, I look at everything through the prism of Obama's enormous ego: the mystery "high official" who called Netanyahu "chickens--t" was probably echoing the opinion of his boss.  Because if things are spiraling out of control, it's not Obama's fault, oh heaven's no.  It must be the Israelites.  Maybe Dubya.

Sorry for the language, folks.

Extra - The Federalist: "Obama Administration Finally Identifies The Middle East’s Biggest Problem: Israel."

More - Meanwhile, Turkey is drifting away from the NATO alliance.  This is all the fault of that jerk Erdogan, I suppose.

The mission of the Red Cross

I donate to the Red Cross once in a while so that means I'm bombarded with solicitations.  No more, not after hearing this story on NPR this morning: "Red Cross 'Diverted Assets' During Storms' Aftermath To Focus On Image."  It turns out they were much more concerned about public relations = such as providing a backdrop to any politician in front of a microphone - than actual relief activity.

Extra - From Hot Air.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Berkeley hates free speech

An ongoing series on tolerance: "Berkeley Muslims prove Bill Maher's point."  "What was it that Bill Maher said that got him into hot water with leftwingers and Muslims?  Right — he slammed their intolerance, their illiberalism."

Condi Rice sympathizes,

Monday, October 27, 2014

Down to the wire in New Hampshire

Remember the other day when I predicted Scott Brown was going to pull out the upset win in New Hampshire?

Don't look now....

Best headline since "Foot heads arms body"

Saw this on Imgur:

The most popular comment is: "My mom worked for a local paper. They live for chances like this."  I totally forget where I saw this but there was some documentary about working on a newspaper and a bunch of guys were spitballing headlines.  The situation for the front page was that President Clinton was coming to New York City but was pointedly avoiding a meeting with then-mayor Rudy Giuliani.  There were a bunch of variations on "Slick Willie" but then somebody said "The Brooklyn Dodger" and everybody erupted in a show of admiration for the perfect line.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Out of the loop

Charles Krauthammer: "Barack Obama, bewildered bystander."

The hive mind of the mainstream media

Ed Morrissey: "Why a GOP wave election will surprise the media."  The press was positively giddy in 2006 - this sixth-year midterm?  Not so much.

Related - "CNN anchor, liberals give grins and thumbs up to violence against the 'Right' women."

Obama should fire himself

Here's Ron Fournier in the National Journal insisting that Obama should really clean house: "What a real White House shakeup looks like"
For his sake and ours, Obama must fire himself. He needs to recognize that, for all of his strengths as a person and a politician, he's shown an astonishing lack of growth on the job. Obama won't evolve unless he replaces enablers with truth-tellers—advisers unafraid of telling the president he's wrong.
He suggests a new chief of staff: Leon Panetta, who is the only Democrats in Washington willing to state that the emperor has no clothes.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Here in Massachusetts

Shocker from the Boston Globe: "Baker opens up lead over Coakley in new poll."
Republican Charlie Baker has opened up a 9-point lead over Democrat Martha Coakley, 45 percent to 36 percent, according to a new Globe poll that depicts a far more comfortable advantage than either candidate for governor has enjoyed in months.
The poll reflects an October surge in independent voters toward Baker’s column. It was independents who provided Governor Deval Patrick with his margins of victory in 2006 and 2010.
Nine. Points.  I have to comment on the quality of television commercials I've seen: Baker's commercials are "jobs jobs jobs" backed with American flags while Coakley...talks about her brother who had mental illness.  Huh?  The negative ads have been handled mostly by outside groups and virtually every one by the Baker supporters shows Coakley awkwardly guessing that the gas tax in Massachusetts is ten cents (it's actually 24 cents).  This election is coming down to an unlikable Democrat against an appealing alternative.

And since I'm already on that theme, this is why I think Scott Brown is going to win in New Hampshire.  The polls there are extremely tight and, just like Coakley, I don't think there's a wellspring of support for Jeanne Shaheen.  If it comes down to turnout, Brown's going to overcome a 1-2% deficit.  IIRC independents broke heavily for Brown in his special election for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat so maybe lightning will strike twice.

IQ Tunes

Consequence of Sound: "Smart people listen to Radiohead and dumb people listen to Beyoncé, according to study."

Ebola in NYC

Well that's just peachy: an infectious disease in the nation's most populous city.  Ron Klain will be here any moment to tell us there's nothing to worry about.  This man is a doctor and: "Apparently it didn’t worry Spencer enough to self-isolate during the potential incubation period, which raises a whole lot of questions about the CDC’s latest approach to dealing with travelers from western Africa."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No money down

Hit & Run: "Insanity Defined: Feds Unveil Plan to Help High-Risk Homebuyers Take On Massive Debt. Again."

Won't you come home, Bruce Bailey?

Democrats are starting to get wise: ""The ineptitude of the White House political operation has sunk from annoying to embarrassing," said one Democratic Senate strategist."

Extra - Commentary: "Obama's gift to Republicans."  Keep talkin' chief.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Checking that box

Ron Fournier in National Journal: "Naked Politics: The Ebola Czar Has No Clothes."
1. We shouldn't need an Ebola czar.
2. We already put somebody in charge of corralling federal bureaucracies and coordinating local responses to national emergencies. His name is Barack Obama.
Look, man, he's very busy today.

Extra - Minuteman: "My advice to Team Obama - encourage the Big Guy to take a look around. If he sees a playing field and thousands of screaming fans then he is probably in a luxury skybox somewhere and yes, he is free to cheer and boo like any other spectator. But if he sees a famous desk and slightly curved walls, then he is probably in the Oval Office and might want to remember that he is Chief Executive of the United States and is notionally responsible for the many bureaucracies he purportedly leads."

More - Powerline: "NY Times says: Obama is angry at Administration's incompetence!"  Yes it's the "I'm so mad!" stage of crisis management.

The headline says it all

Obamacare in the New York Times (!!!): "Unable to meet the deductible or the doctor."  Otherwise, what a great program.  That's why nearly twice as many Americans say they've been harmed by Obamacare than helped.

It's OK: we can just print more money

Reason Online: "How much will Obamacare cost?  Bet on 'more than expected'."  With graphic graphics included.

Two Jeremys from Gotham City

Why does everybody want to talk about the Batman?  Geez.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Eleven days later

Ace: "Obamacare Website Won't Reveal New, Higher Premiums -- Until After the Election, Of Course."

I think Republicans should take a page from the playbook of alleged pederast Harry Reid: just say loudly and repeatedly that Obamacare premiums are going to go up 30%.  It's not true?  Who cares: it's truthy enough and there's an election to win.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thanks for the weekend, Henry Ford

Interesting post at The Truth About Cars: "Henry Ford Paid His Workers $5 a Day So They Wouldn’t Quit, Not So They Could Afford Model Ts."
While Henry Ford may be unfairly credited with inventing the assembly line, he usually doesn't get any credit for an innovation of his that has made the lives of working men and women much more pleasant, the weekend. Having the weekend off from work is conventionally attributed to organized labor. The labor movement has given workers a lot of things, but not the weekend. That, too, was Henry Ford’s innovation.
So he could run his assembly line 24/7/365.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Present and future value

Marginal Revolution: "How to discount pensions" reviews how the Dutch calculate their pension obligations.  "But all economists now agree. The expected-return approach is a huge economic offense, hurting younger generations.”

Simply put, when future pension payouts are projected to fall short, the pension operator (such as CALPers) is supposed to increase the required contribution percentage.  But they hate to do this because it always causes a huge political backlash.  So instead they just say: "Hey, we project the fund will grow by 20% a year forever" and problem solved...until the future generations come looking for their "guaranteed" pension.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I'm pretty sure lifting another player for a slam dunk is illegal

Did I say illegal?  I meant awesome:

Via Hot Air.

Guess the country

Via Maggie's Farm, a tale of desperate times:
There is “an anti-work mentality, absurd fiscal pressure, a lack of promotion prospects, and the burden of debt hanging over future generations,” [said the government commission chair].
“Young people feel stuck, and they want interesting jobs. Businessmen say the labour code is complex and they’re taxed even before they start working. Pensioners can also pay less tax abroad,” she says.
Anyway, the country is France.  On that last point, though, I've noticed that Belize - we speak English! - has been advertising on television, urging retirees to have their Social Security checks forwarded to their white sand beach houses,

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Murder, south of the border

At my last job, I used to write technical paper for conferences, which was a great way to travel.  One conference was in Mexico and I steadfastly refused to go - with good reason.  Good Lord.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Where's the love?

Gallup: "More Still Say Health Law Has Hurt Instead of Helped Them - Nearly half in U.S. say ACA will make healthcare worse in long run."

Film review: "Divergent" - Stereotypes on steroids

I saw this movie last night and at first I'm like "meh" but the more I thought about it, the worse it became.

In a dystopian future Chicago, everybody is separated into five factions.  The "Amity" faction are a bunch of hippy-dippy farmers, possibly sampling too much of their crop.  The "Candor" faction "always tells the truth" which amounts to be that rude douchebag who says: "Yes, that dress does make you look fat."

But the main story is the conflict between "Erudite," "Dauntless" and "Abnegation."  Make no mistake: the "Abnegation" faction which chooses a simple lifestyle and helps the poor (i.e. "Factionless") is the hero of the story.  This faction runs the government but here comes "Erudite" - the brains of society - to take over.  Because that's what the smart overclass does.  Thanks Citizens United!

But wait: how can these pencil-pushing poindexters take over the government?  Well, they take control of the "Dauntless" faction by literally turning them into mindless drones.  Maybe I'm overreacting but this struck me as a calumny against the military as a whole.

The movie is full of insults to the intelligence, large and small.  There is one annoying character who exists only to bad-mouth the protagonist (Tris); we get it, dude, you're here to introduce conflict.  The Abnegation father, who has clearly never touched a gun in his life, turns into shotgun-pumping Rambo.  The movie closes with our heroes "riding the train to the end" which means something, I don't know what.

Monday, October 06, 2014

The inevitable crisis

This article by WashPost's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt is almost too good to excerpt.  We have an entitlement crisis growing and this President, despite his stated promises, is determined to ignore them: "Obama's false victory over the deficit."
In other words, when it comes to entitlement reform, as far as this administration is concerned: mission accomplished.
Which is fair enough, if your horizon is Jan. 20, 2017.
Anyone looking beyond that date should be alarmed at the satisfaction Obama proclaims despite the prospect of ever-rising government debt. What’s most astounding about his flip-flop on entitlement reform is that the biggest victim will be the progressive causes he claims to cherish.
I've been saying this forever: the debt load will squeeze out all the things we call the "government":
Federal debt has reached 74 percent of the economy’s annual output (GDP), “a higher percentage than at any point in U.S. history except a brief period around World War II,” the CBO says, “and almost twice the percentage at the end of 2008.” With no change in policy, that percentage will hold steady or decline a bit for a couple of years and then start rising again, to a dangerous 78 percent by 2024 and an insupportable 106 percent by 2039.
As a result, by 2039 the government will be shelling out interest payments equal to 4.5 percent of GDP, more than twice the average share of the past 40 years.
Meanwhile, with the population aging and costs still rising, payments for Social Security and health programs including Medicare and Obamacare also will soar, the CBO estimates. By 2039 those programs will consume 14 percent of GDP, again double the average of the past 40 years. That’s taking into account the good news that Podesta heralded in his tweet.
Put those together and the government will be spending on entitlement programs and interest alone just about what it spends today on the entire budget. Everything else — schools, pre-K, Pell grants, national parks, mass transit, housing subsidies — will get squeezed, or taxes will soar, or both.
I fear that Americans are so enamored with the road to serfdom, they'll fail to see the danger of government that exists only to tax and send that money to retirees and banks.  At 100% debt-to-GDP, there's virtually no flexibility for a government to respond to major disruptions like the TARP bailout and we become a slave to our creditors.  This was how Eisenhower broke the will of the Brits in the Suez Crisis.  It's not so hard to see how a showdown over Hong Kong or Taiwan would take shape when China floats taking payment on $1 trillion in U.S. bonds.

But, hey, we'll have Obamacare.  Which is nice.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

RFK Jr.: Shut up or it's jail for you

Powerline: "Little Bobby, now in full backtracking mode."  Why he never, ever, said he we should throw "denialists" in jail and throw away the key.

Kinda funny and awful

Buzzfeed: "“Modern Family” Editor Live-Tweets Every Passenger’s Worst Nightmare."  It was a drunk woman on a plane being loud and drunk.

I don't travel as much by plane as I used to but, especially after 9/11, it was always my fear that the flight would be grounded due to the airline's hair-trigger response to jerks like this.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Norway says "nei takk" to the Olympics

Thank you Google Translate!  Anyway, Norway heeded the will of the people and pulled Oslo out of contention for the 2022 Winter Olympics, leaving only China and Kazakhstan in the running.  It seems the Norwegians didn't want the headache and recoiled at some of the IOC's outlandish demands.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Democrats hate free speech: the proof

It's been my long-standing position that Democrats hate the First Amendment and now I have the data.  Hot Air: "Poll 51% of Democrats support criminalizing hate speech."  As long as they can define hate speech, the Dems are ready to censor.

By a 2-1 margin, both Republicans and Independents oppose hate crime laws but by well over a 2-1 margin, Democrats say "shut the hell up".  Because Gaia, racist.

Another article proving it's impossible to talk about Social Security

News flash everybody: there are Republicans out there in the American heartland who are suggesting that all may not be well in Social Security land - just like the program's Trustees:
Neither Medicare nor Social Security can sustain projected long-run program costs in full under currently scheduled financing, and legislative changes are necessary to avoid disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers.
Crazy talk! sez the New York Times (natch) columnist Gail Collins who has decided it's all a diabolical plot to throw Grandma from the gravy train:
By the way, Social Security is not going bankrupt. In 2033, incoming payroll taxes will no longer be enough to pay for all the benefits. But they’ll still cover about 75 percent of the payments and we could take care of the rest of the problem with a few tweaks — like getting rid of the cap on Social Security taxes. (Currently, all income over $117,000 is exempt from the payroll tax.)
There you go Generation X: you may have an Excel spreadsheet with estimated benefits from Social Security when you retire in 2033 but it's going to be 25% less than you calculated.  Geez, what's the big deal?  Besides, we can just soak those Richie-Riches.

Or can we?  The handshake agreement of Social Security is that it is a universal benefit and everybody gets back a benefit proportional to what was put in.  Raising the income cap means that people like Bill Gates would receive million-dollar Social Security benefit checks every month.  FDR didn't want Social Security to be a welfare program and that's why the income cap exists: the maximum in taxes also caps the maximum benefit.

This important distinction is lost on 98% of the commenters on the NYT opinion page, who are in full torch-and-pitchfork mode.  We shouldn't expect anything different from the paper that puts populist rhetoric above all.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Youths of an indeterminate race and/or religion

Charles C.W. Cooke: "All the facts fit to delete - When the truth is too objectionable to print."

A while ago I read an article about how newspapers would report the last meal to condemned prisoners.  It was the kind of minutiae that readers wanted to know and the media provided the information.  Now I guess it's considered somehow objectionable to know that Timothy McVeigh ate two pints of mint and chocolate chip ice cream before they slipped the needle in.  The media made the decision that's not "news."

Now details are expunged from the public record if they fail to fit a mold on the newsroom floor.  Is it any wonder that the public's faith in the American media is at an all-time low?

Well, except for Fox News.

Extra - From Hot Air.