Saturday, February 28, 2015

But we're the good guys!

Here in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, at the intersection of leftist Amherst and super-leftist Northampton, a bunch of protesters took a stand at - of all places - a Whole Foods store.  This part cracked me up:
The demonstrators stood in silence until a Whole Foods employee approached and politely asked them to leave. That's when the blindfolds came off and the chant of "Whole Foods is a lie; animals do not want to die," began. The group made their way through the store, drawing much attention from presumably socially conscious shoppers, as they walked toward the exit.
This story makes me hungry for steak.  Let's hope they recycled their protest signs.


Coyote Blog: "On funding and bias in climate."  "I really, really did not want to have to write yet another post on this.  99+% of all climate funding goes to alarmists rather than skeptics."

Couldn't happen to a nicer city

Chicago Tribune: "Moody's downgrades Chicago's debt rating."  It's now two notches above junk status.

Extra - From Instapundit.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Great Paris

Fox News: "Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ dead at 83."

In a career dominated by Spock, it's easy to overlook that Nimoy played Andrew "The Great" Paris on (my favorite) "Mission: Impossible."  He filled in the role of "master of disguise" after Martin Landau left the show.

Not a smidgen of corruption

Via Twitchy, this is an actual email from IRS saboteur Lois Lerner: "‘No one will ever believe’ two hard drives ‘crashed’ within a week."  Eric Holder just called to say: "Sounds plausible to me!"

Show them the money

This is a good overview: "The Clinton Foundation Scandals, ExplainedEverything you need to know about the shady dealings of the Clinton family's global corporate charity conglomerate."
Is it normal to be so rich, yet so obsessed with money?
It’s not unusual, but yeah, this is pretty absurd.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing: is this a psychological defect with the Clintons?  I know that Bill came from humble beginnings and maybe there's this urge for the security of financial means.  But the cash-grabbing of the Clinton Foundation is over-the-top.  Here's a tidbit from Powerline: "Will the Clintons' greed do them in?"
Moreover, there is reason to suspect that the Clinton Foundation has served as a slush fund to finance the Clintons’ private enjoyments. The New York Post reported in 2013 that the Clinton Foundation had spent more than $50 million on travel expenses since 2003. Think about that: $50 million! That would cover a lot of the globe-trotting for which the Clintons are famous.
Look, I realize this includes a staff and some far-flung locales, but $50 million?  C'mon.  I'm sure Hillary justifies it with the same mindset as the "woe-is-me we were dead broke" statement.

ICYMI - Cha-ching!  $300,000 payday on Tuesday talking to Silicon Valley corporations.  Nice work if you can get it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Court rules for Sam I Am

This is kinda funny: "Dr. Seuss comes to the Supreme Court"
Today’s dissent by Justice Kagan in fish isn’t a “tangible object” case has the first Dr. Seuss citation in U.S. Supreme Court history.
The citation in question was "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Politifact turns into Politi-fiction

Last week, Hot Air reported: "PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year of 2014 falls apart only two months later."

Today, Kevin Williamson recounts how Politifact beclowned itself by 1) suspending basic journalistic fact-checking to 2) reflexively defend Obamacare while 3) getting everything wrong.

I'll Cu later about this copper

I laughed old-style at this.

Sic semper tyrannis

Robert Reich is upset that "we're all becoming independent contractors."  He really doesn't like Uber because people use their free will to enter into an agreement to give rides to other people and make money using their own cars.  He would prefer if all Americans follow the General Motors model of generous benefits punctuated by periodic bankruptcies.

Clearly, such a change to labor laws compelling corporations to do away with independent contractors should be vetted in the appropriate Congressional committees, debated in the House and Senate, then passed on to the President for approval.

Ha-ha, just kidding:
Congress doesn't have to pass a new law to make this the test of employment. Federal agencies such as the Labor Department and the IRS have the power to do this on their own, through their rule making authority.
They should do so. Now.
For your own good, peasants.  Your Uber ride to the airport is now $230.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Jobless jihadis

Ace of Spades: "Investigation of Australia's Home-Grown IS Fighters Reveals That 96% Were On Welfare Before Joining the Jihad."

And on the other end of the spectrum, Osama Bin Laden came from one of the wealthiest families in Saudi Arabia.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Protecting the homeland

Occasional crossword-puzzle clue Jeh Johnson will be on all the news shows this morning to warn that furloughing 30,000 out of 230,000 Homeland Security workers will let ISIS through the border.  Here's Mark Steyn:
I opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security on the basic Thatcherite principle that if you create a government bureaucracy in order to deal with a problem you'll never be rid of the problem. But I underestimated the creativity of our rulers: The DHS was set up because 19 Muslims flew planes into skyscrapers and killed thousands of people. Thirteen years later, the head of the DHS thinks his department's priority should be to "give voice to the plight of Muslims" who have the misfortune to live in America.
I don't want to see another partial shutdown but I understand holding back funding for an immigration policy that a federal judge has now deemed unconstitutional.


Cool video via Maggie's Farm.  I guessed five.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Obama's one great love

I've been trying to stay away from Obama Derangement Syndrome but feel the need to address the whole controversy as to whether Obama loves America.  I'm sure he does but I know Obama loves Obama more.  And when it's time to pump up Obama, Obama spares no effort.

Jim Geraghty has it spot on right here:
Every Obama speech has a villain, and that villain is often other Americans who disagree with the president. He doesn’t hesitate to paint a very dark picture of the country he leads: citizens who are xenophobic and paranoid about Muslims, abusive police forces unfairly focusing on Muslim communities, a public eager to forcibly deport good Americans who just want to serve their country, and lawmakers determined to deny good education to children.

Maybe Giuliani’s language is a bit overwrought or hyperbolic, but is it really that much overwrought or hyperbolic than Obama’s description of Americans who disagree with his policies? And if Obama consistently describes so many Americans as so prejudiced and mean-spirited… is Guiliani’s conclusion really that outlandish?
Thus, in the recent summit on Islamic extremism in which the main goal for Obama was to repeat that "we are not at war with Islam."  You'd be hard pressed to recount an actual short-term plan against extremism beyond "fight 'em on Twitter."  But the summit served the important purpose of allowing Obama to obliquely criticize all those villainous bigots and, more importantly, testify to Obama's virtuous tolerance.  What a great guy.

The Big Me was at it again on Friday at a DNC meeting.  It's not enough to offer "hope and change" and talk about strategy for the future.  It's just another opportunity to paint the Republicans as forces of darkness who have no motivation except malice in their hearts.  Who is standing tall against these malefactors?  Obama.

Why does Obama bad-mouth America?  Because it casts him as the beacon of tolerance, progressiveness, and virtue.

Extra - Oh, and if you don't love Obama, things are going to get difficult for you.  And you, too.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Narrative destroyed

Gateway Pundit: "Call Off the Race Hustlers… NAACP Office Was Not Target of Bomb Plot – Tax Preparation Office Was."

I laughed

You know, I didn't watch the SNL40 show the other night just because I felt like NBC was shoving it down my throat.  Plus, "Downton Abbey" was on.  But they're repeating it tonight and, gosh darn it, it's funny.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Good question

Hit and Run: "If ISIS Isn't Islamic, Were Crusaders Christian? - A summit on violent extremism at the White House aims to tackle radical Islamism in part by quibbling over definitions."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Judging Hanen

Nice find from the Minuteman.  Do you know who voted to confirm that cuckoo crazy Federal judge who blocked Obama's illegal executive action on immigration?

Democrats are bracing for heartfelt hugs of appreciation over Obamacare

Whoops!  I read that headline wrong.  WashPost: "Democrats are bracing for another Obamacare backlash":
The Obamacare window technically just closed this weekend, but a new round of political headaches could just be beginning for the administration.
That's because it's tax season, and many Americans could soon be getting an unwelcome surprise that they owe the government a penalty for skipping health insurance coverage.
Sorry, folks, but It's The Law.

Extra - Brietbart: "Obama touts phony Obamacare numbers again."  Take heart that Obamacare is working just as well as our hashtag offensive against ISIS.

More - From Instapundit.

Monday, February 16, 2015

End of times

When Ace of Spades tells me to read "the most important article published in the American media in 10 years" I tend to listen, even if that statement is a little hyperbolic.

The article at hand is very long, titled "What ISIS really wants" in the Atlantic.  The TL;DR version is this: ISIS is an apocalyptic cult and they are beyond reason.
That the Islamic State holds the imminent fulfillment of prophecy as a matter of dogma at least tells us the mettle of our opponent. It is ready to cheer its own near-obliteration, and to remain confident, even when surrounded, that it will receive divine succor if it stays true to the Prophetic model.
Every time I read about mass movements like this, I'm always reminded of "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer.  A salient quote:
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.
Last night on "60 Minutes" was a textbook model of the "true believer."  It followed the brothers in the Charlie Hebdo attack:
As a teenager, Cherif was more interested in rap than religion. This video, shot by his friends, documents that period in his life when was he smoking pot and chasing girls. He worked as a pizza delivery boy, but his life changed in 2003 when he became radicalized by a group of young Muslims in this Paris neighborhood. They were angry about the American invasion of Iraq and set up a recruitment ring to send young French Muslims to fight jihad against U.S. forces.
There you go: he went from an everyday kid, smoking weed and delivering pizza.  Then, as Eric Hoffer might say, he was introduced to the devil he could believe in and give his empty life some meaning.  It was a piece of cake to nurse that grievance straight into fanaticism.

Jerks with college degrees issue correction

It only took two days to correct a mistake that could have been avoided with a ten-second search on Google, but hey, that's the Paper of Record for you.  Hot Air: "Gray Lady to Scott Walker: Never mind."

Yeah, whatever.  As I like to say, the sheer impossibility of these mistakes ever happening on the other side of the political spectrum is why the Times needs to be kneecapped at every opportunity.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Second shooting in Copenhagen

Details are just coming in but there's an attack at a synagogue in the Danish capital.

I'll give you 3 guesses about what this is all about

And the first two don't count.  Fox News: "1 dead after shots fired at Copenhagen cafe where freedom of speech meeting being held."

More detail at Legal Insurrection and Patterico.  It looks like gunmen - plural - again and not just some lone nut.  They should start posting snipers around these events.

Extra - From Hot Air.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Greek pique

And the future looks bleak: "Greek bailout talks with Europe break down"
Eurozone finance ministers’ first attempt to grapple with the bailout demands made by the new Greek government broke down in recriminations after the two sides failed even to agree a way to take negotiations forward after six hours of talks in Brussels.
Six hours!  I'm always amazed about these "talks" that go on for so long.  What do they say after a while?

10 EU: "Can we have our money?"
20 Greece: "No."
30 Go to 10

The big squeeze

Hit and Run: "Even Democrats are hating on public-sector unions these days."
Politicians can be extremely generous to current workers by promising them spectacular and guaranteed payouts that will be covered by future taxpayers. But those days are ending. Again and again—and certainly in states such as Illinois and cities such as Detroit—those promissory notes are coming due and there's just no way they can be cashed.
And when the pension bills come due, the general budget takes a hit.  No more Parks and Recreation.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

He done

Yeah, right, Brian Williams is going to crawl back to NBC News after a six-month suspension.  A wounded and humiliated newsman will only intensify the ridicule.  He won't be back.

Of course, I was way wrong about Michael Vick but I have a feeling this is a different paradigm.

C'mon, man, that's funny

MassLive: "Forum on climate change postponed due to snow."

Monday, February 09, 2015

Cats and dogs living together

American Spectator: "Obamacare ruling may end civilization as we know itProgressive panic mounts as PPACA’s latest date with the Court draws nigh."

Public pensions time bomb

Chicago Tribune: "Illinois is lead car on the road to ruin."

Update - Shots fired: "Illinois’ GOP governor goes about dismantling state union’s power."

Brian Williams is toast

Well, as they say on the Internet, that escalated quickly.  Mark Steyn has it right:
Maybe Williams is delusional. Maybe he is to anchors as Anthony Wiener is to wankers – a guy so cocksure he figures he can push it a little further each time.
And now he's the butt of a thousand jokes:

He's done.  He can't come back from the ridicule.

Extra - Fun fun fun over at #Brian Williams Misremembers.  Probably in a misguided attempt to honor some veteran because that's the kind of stand-up guy he is.

If you leave

As usual, I've been going to Zero Hedge for all my information on the Grexit:

UK begins preparations for Grexit
Morgan Stanley Says Grexit Would Send EURUSD Crashing To 0.90
If Greece Exits, Here Is What Happens

This is an enormous game of chicken but I don't see how this doesn't end worse for Greece.  If they leave the EU, they'll have to revive the drachma, which will be as worthless as Zimbabwe's dollars.  I think this paragraph says a lot:
So who will prevail: those who say a Grexit is bullish for the Euro as it removes tail risk and makes the Eurozone even stronger, or those who say a Grexit will lead to a plunge (controlled of course) in the Euro as the contagion risk never really went away, and now everyone will look to Italy and France, where anti-Europe movements have continued to rise from strength to strength, but nowhere more so than in Spain, where the Syriza peer, Podemos, is now tracking at top spot in polls.
So now Spain is looking for the easy-peasy-Syriza way out of their debts.  What a mess.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Corruption breeds terrorists

Saw this in today's Boston Globe: "How bribes create terrorists."
What stokes terrorism? There are lots of explanations, many of which focus on macro forces, like the politics of fundamentalist Islam and the uneven distribution of rewards in market economy. This past Friday at the Boston Athenaeum, Sarah Chayes offered a surprisingly different explanation: Terrorism, she argued, is an outgrowth of the daily humiliations that arise in corrupt countries.
Here's the link to her speech at the Boston Athenaeum.  Basically, her "Thieves of State" states that young and productive members of society get exasperated by kleptocracies and gravitate towards extremist movements.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The paper of record

Somebody said the New York Times has become a high-school paper so gradually, you'd barely notice.  Powerline: "The New York Times commits one of its funniest blunders ever."  Wouldn't you agree, Mr. Scott?

Friday, February 06, 2015

The kids are running the candy store

I got a chuckle from this line by Walter Russell Mead on Greece's trouble restructuring its debt:
Once elected, Syriza officials have been touring Europe, meeting serially with all the people they denounced as cruel, stupid, and wicked during the campaign, and discovering what an intelligent 10-year-old could have told them: nobody wants to give or lend them any more money because people distrust them and don’t see how the promises they have made to the voters can possibly be reconciled with any of the agreements Greece has made in the past.
Apparently they're not making much headway by saying "Dude, I'm totally going to pay you back" followed shortly by "You used to be cool."

Extra - German's finance minister: "It's cute that you guys had an election.  Where's our money?"

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Brian Williams down

I don't know, I just can't get worked up about this story.  NPR suggested that the scandal about Brian Williams' lies will degrade everybody's faith in the media.  If that's true, we're going to have to start digging.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Obama's un-serious budget

Here's a Washington Post editorial noting the debt elephant in the room:
The commander in chief ought to argue for the defense spending necessary for national security, regardless of political considerations. The president is entitled, separately, to make his case for more spending on infrastructure, education and other domestic needs. We support both. But he would have more credibility if he acknowledged the underlying cause of the long-term squeeze on both kinds of discretionary spending: entitlement programs which, if unreformed, will channel larger and larger shares of the budget to the older generation, including the well-off, thereby triggering a vicious cycle in which interest payments on the growing national debt also swell. Mr. Obama used at least to acknowledge this as a problem. Now he seems content to leave it in the next president’s in-box.
How much of the budget is going to mandatory spending?  Nearly all of it:
The new budget projects spending $2.548 TRILLION just on MANDATORY programs like Social Security and Medicare. Another $426 billion will be necessary just to pay interest on the debt.

In total, this is over 99% of ALL the tax revenue the government collected in 2014.

In other words, they’ll spend nearly ALL of their current tax revenue before they write a single check for anything we think of as government (like the military, the IRS, or the light bill at the White House).

Naturally they’re not planning on turning off the lights anytime soon. So they finance the rest of it with… debt.
The debt burden is manageable now because of low interest rates.  But this is not going to last forever:
Currently, the government’s interest costs are around $200 billion a year, a sum that’s low due to the era of low interest rates. Forecasters at the White House and Congressional Budget Office believe interest rates will gradually rise, and when that happens, the interest costs of the U.S. government are set to soar, from just over $200 billion to nearly $800 billion a year by decade’s end.
By 2021, the government will be spending more on interest than on all national defense, according to White House forecasts.
I've said this over and over: the United States "government" will be nothing more than a fund-transfer waystation taking funds from taxpayers and forwarding them to seniors, insurance companies, and banks.  That $800 billion/year in interest on the debt doesn't buy us a shiny aircraft carrier or new bridges or even a Post Office jeep - it gets us nothing.  But, as the WashPost notes, that's a can kicked down the road.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Smooch that ass, Eugene

If Eugene Robinson ever writes an article that doesn't sound exactly like a White House press release, the universe might implode upon itself.  Have a little self-respect, man.

Here's the short version: Obama's budget is totes awesome sauce.

That's where the money is

Michael Barone: "Obama’s Taxed Himself into a Corner - Absent serious entitlement reform, Democrats will have no choice but to raise taxes on the middle class."

Now that Obamacare has joined the list of entitlements, there's no level of taxation on "the other guys" that can satisfy the outlays.  You wanted it, America, and now you're going to get it good and hard.

Only 44% of us are working

Coming as absolutely no surprise to anybody who reads Zero Hedge, the CEO of Gallup today declared the "official" unemployment rate as one gigantic lie to the American people.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Patriots win!!!

And Star Lord is heading to Boston.

Update - Tom Brady wins MVP again.  Nice.  They should have given it to that rookie Malcolm Butler who made the interception of his lifetime.

Throw another $6 trillion on the tab

PJ Tatler: "Obama’s 10 Year Budget Will Add $6 Trillion to the National Debt."  "No entitlement reform, no serious attempt to balance the budget, no end in sight to an ever-rising national debt — this is not serious governance."  I used to believe that only a Democrat could reform entitlements, the same way that "only Nixon could go to China."  Now I've given up all hope: Democrats will demagogue entitlements until we've spent ourselves into oblivion.  Where is the Daniel Patrick Moynihan for our times?

In other sports news

Arizona Republic: "Tiger Woods shoots an 82, his worst round ever."

And in case you missed it, from ESPN: "Tiger Woods drops out of top 50."

You know, I pity Tiger Woods.  Here was a kid who never had the choice to grow up to be a doctor or a lawyer or a fireman.  His father decided he was going to be a professional golf player with a marketable name and background.  Well, his personal life is in shambles and now his professional career has followed.  What's left for Tiger Woods?  His life was built on pillars of sand.  Sad.

This Super Bowl has taken a turn for the worse

Katy Perry is on.

Also, the Patriots allowed the Seahawks to score 7 with just 40 seconds left.  Not cool.