Monday, May 22, 2017

The lesson of Trump's presidency

Here's P.J. O'Rourke:
"The politician creates a powerful, huge, heavy, and unstoppable Monster Truck of a government," P.J. O'Rourke writes in his new book, How the Hell Did This Happen?. "Then supporters of that politician become shocked and weepy when another politician, whom they detest, gets behind the wheel, turns the truck around, and runs them over."
This was exactly the warning made by Conor Friedersdorf back in March 2016: "Tyrant-Proof the White House—Before It's Too Late"
Before moving into a new house, parents of small children engage in child-proofing. Before leaving the White House, Obama should engage in tyrant-proofing. For eight years, he has evinced a high opinion of his own ability to exercise power morally, even in situations where Senator Obama thought that the president should be restrained. At this point, better to flatter his ego than to resist it. You’ll be gone soon, Mr. President, and for all our disagreements, I think your successor is highly likely to be less trustworthy and more corruptible than you were.
This Atlantic piece refers specifically to foreign policy (e.g. drone strikes) but the same can be said for domestic policy.  It's an axiom of conservatism that "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."  Well, now we've built up this gargantuan ship of state and put it in the hands of somebody who does not fit the mold of a traditional President.  Who knows which way we're going?

For those of us who advocated a smaller federal government and a limited executive branch, well, told ya so.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hampshire College commencement was today

Breitbart: "'Penises cause climate change'; Progressives fooled by peer-reviewed hoax study."

Update - A commenter adds: "...they submitted their penis paper elsewhere and got rejected, before settling for a pay-to-publish academic paper mill."  I was not aware of that and it wasn't made clear in the Breitbart article.  Basically, there's a lot more motivation for these journals to publish your paper than more reputable professional journals.

Thanks for the clarification.  Still kinda funny, but with context added.

Look, I don't like the guy either

This is a post I can get behind, over at Legal Insurrection: "Please stop making me defend Trump."
This is not a new observation by any means. It was almost as bad in favor of candidate Obama in 2008, but a slobbering lovefest was far different a media trying to bring down a presidency without a single shred of substantive evidence to date.
Every major media outlet is breathless with "impeachment" with the outrage meter cranked to 11.  I fear there's going to be a lot of disappointment for these critics, starting with Comey's testimony.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Russia probe heating up

Not just "smoke" anymore?  McClatchy: "Russia probe reaches current White House official, people familiar with the case say"
The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.
Hmmm...this sounds at least like something after months of waiting for evidence of collusion.

To the safe spaces!

Yes, it's another one of these stories.  Hot Air: "Farewell free speech: Northwestern students shut down talk by ICE PR spokesman."

The definition of insanity

Wall Street Journal: "Connecticut, Nation’s Wealthiest State, May be Tapped Out on Taxing the Rich."
About $200 million of the drop in receipts came from the state’s closely watched top 100 earners, who are the source of an outsize proportion of the state’s revenue. Many of the state’s richest residents work for hedge funds, which have been hurt by a downturn in the industry.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has twice before bet that taxing the wealthy would help solve the state’s fiscal problems. But neither increase resulted in sustained revenue growth, according to his administration, which says it would be a mistake to do it a third time.
This is what happens when you structure your progressive tax policy to hit only the very rich: when their revenue drops, it's a huge hit for the state.  Interesting that Malloy has finally figured out to stop tapping out the rich, almost like there's a lesson to learn here.

Call the mohel

There's a Weiner that's about to get chopped.  Hot Air: "Weiner to cop a plea in sexting probe."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Somebody broke the law here

Looks like it might be Jim Comey:
Under the law, Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States.  Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey.  (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361)  He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law. 
So which is it: Trump tried to obstruct justice or he didn't?  The FBI chief can't file away personal memos to use as bargaining chips to exact revenge when everything goes south.

Tendentious jerk

Reddit thread: "I think I'm done with Bill Nye.  His new show sucks."

Update - It's official: "Reddit users brutally destroy Bill Nye’s new Netflix science show: ‘This is absolute dog s**t’."

Because of stuff he said

PowerLine: "It's official: On Trump's travel order, the Left is bonkers."  "Instead, they have to argue that it is “unconstitutional”–in the way in which liberals use that word, having no reference to the actual Constitution–only because it was issued by President Trump. They will eventually lose that argument. If it were accepted, it would effectively render the Constitution irrelevant. We would be living in a realm of pure, unconstrained politics."  

The crocodile at Mizzou

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." Winston Churchill.

Daily Caller: "Mizzou Hemorrhages More Students And Cuts Jobs Because Of Black Lives Matter Protests."  The school just kept giving in to demands and feeding into the very "public perception concerns" that gave pause to prospective students.

Now watch this video on the correct way to handle this situation:

Climate change killed that tree!

A professor at the University of Washington says: "Uh, no."

Cloak and dagger

Well, this is some kind of story.  Fox News: "Seth Rich, slain DNC staffer, had contact with WikiLeaks, say multiple sources."  "The Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down on July 10 on a Washington, D.C., street just steps from his home had leaked thousands of internal emails to WikiLeaks, investigative sources told Fox News."

Monday, May 15, 2017

His own worst enemy

NeoNeoCon: "Trump's unforced errors."  He makes it impossible for even the most stalwart supporters to defend his actions.

Philadelphia freedom

Hot Air: "Fight for 15 champion DNC sued for not paying minimum wage."  Maybe getting paid was contingent on Hillary winning the Keystone State.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Message discipline and lack thereof

Politico: "Trump stokes fears of how he'd handle real crisis - After chaotic, self-inflicted week many fear chaos Trump can't control."

I cannot imagine how this White House could have handled the firing of James Comey in a more inept manner.  There was no unified message and when it looks like one is about to coalesce, Trump comes out and contradicts everybody, while inviting charges of obstruction of justice.  His Twitter feed is one grenade tossed after another.

The White House staff should secretly replace his Twitter account with a dummy Twitter that sends his tweets nowhere.  It's the same strategy that Ryan used to protect the world from Creed Thoughts:

Must be Saturday

Since the NY Times is running a story on the other side of the Obamacare debate: "Why some can't wait for a repeal of Obamacare."  Now the Times can claim they've been balanced on their reporting because they put this story in the least-read paper of the week.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Elizabeth Warren wants you deaf

Warren is taking a break from her book tour/endless fight to advance some legislation.  (I know, I'm as surprised as you are.)  I'm sure she thinks "I'm helping!" but as Reason Hit and Run notes, the end result of the legislation would be to price out low-cost hearing aids:
Far from stripping away regulation to make it simpler and cheaper for people to care for their hearing needs, the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 loads on regulation that would, if passed, likely drive low-cost alternatives to hearing aids out of the market.
The big players in hearing aids ("Big Ear"?) are pouring money into lobbying, companies like Bose that make a big markup on prescription hearing aids.  Either Warren doesn't know any better or she's trying to puff up her anemic legislative record.

Oh but that's different

Daily Caller: "John Oliver Benefits Big From A Tax Loophole Initiated By Donald Trump."  When are these one-percenters going to pay their fair share?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The man we need


Exit stage right

Hot Air: "Aetna will completely exit Obamacare exchanges in 2018."

Sunshine is the best disinfectant

The Corner: "Republicans should want the Russia 2016 story out in the open."  "For Republicans outside the Administration, especially on Capitol Hill, the overriding imperative right now should be to flush as much as possible about Russia and the 2016 election out into the open as soon as possible, while pushing the White House to line up a long-term, trustworthy replacement for Comey quickly."

It's a disservice to the new Administration and downright cruel to the Democrats' conspiracy wing to drag this out.  It's been almost a year and there's nothing tying Trump to Putin, a point recently reiterated by James Clapper.  Let's have it out.

Puerto Rico...not so rico

City Journal: "Isle of indebtedness."  "It’s accurate to say that Puerto Rico’s government is the ultimate creator of this disaster. But Washington contributed, by offering all the wrong incentives. We shouldn’t be surprised that Puerto Rico took them."

Why now?

I guess this is as good an explanation as any, although I've also heard that the Comey firing correlated with the installation of Rosenstein at Justice:
But why fire Comey now? The answer is simple. The day before, President Barack Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper repeated, under oath, what he told NBC News’ Chuck Todd on Meet the Press on March 5 — that he had seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. That gave the Trump administration the breathing room to dismiss Comey — which it simply did not have before.
I heard somewhere that Sean Spicer was asked about Trump's faith in Comey a week ago and Spicer was like: "Oh, I haven't asked him recently."  Which was a weird thing to say, in hindsight.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Out of the blue

NY Times: "F.B.I. Director James Comey Is Fired by Trump."

Everybody's trying to figure out what's going on.  The general feeling is that this was a long time coming because of the way Comey handled the Clinton email investigation:
Mr. Comey broke with longstanding tradition and policies by discussing the case and chastising the Democratic presidential nominee’s “careless” handling of classified information. Then, in the campaign’s final days, Mr. Comey announced that the F.B.I. was reopening the case, a move that earned him widespread criticism.
Of course, the usual suspects are calling this a purge to throw off the Russia probe.  As Charles Krauthammer noted, it took a Democrat less than an hour to make a "Saturday Night Massacre" reference.

Update - Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein lays out the case.

Because of bad stuff he said

Powerline: "ACLU makes it official: The only thing wrong with Trump's travel order is Trump."  In a hearing before the Fourth Circuit, the ACLU lawyer pretty much admitted the order would be Constitutional if submitted by a President Clinton, because she was nicer during the campaign.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Democracy dies in darkness but the narrative is immortal

Ace: ""Hate Crime" Reported on By Washington Post 15 Times Turns Out to Be, Get This, a Hoax; Washington Post Refuses to Run a New Story On the Hate Hoax."

To paraphrase a great movie, when the narrative is threatened by fact, ignore the retraction.

You had one job

Politico: "Coming soon: The fiscal cliff to end all fiscal cliffs - President Donald Trump and the GOP Congress will have to avert a debt default and government shutdown — and that's just for starters."

The new normal for budgeting in Washington is to wait for a crisis, pass a continuing resolution, and wait for the next crisis date to hit.  At its most fundamental level, it's the job of Congress to keep the government running by passing appropriation bills.  Do that.

Friday, May 05, 2017

The party that cried wolf

Guess what: we're all gonna die.  Exclamation point.  The Corner:
One of the things that’s most galling about the Obamacare debate is the stubborn insistence from all too many activists on the Left that we can have it all. We can have universal, affordable, high-quality health care, and the reasons why we don’t are due to the greed, heartlessness, and hatefulness of our political opponents. Santa Claus is real, they argue, and the only thing keeping him from shimmying down into your house is that spiked grate the GOP put at the top of the chimney.

But the GOP is used to this by now, and so are GOP voters. When it comes to arguments over health care, there truly is nothing new under the sun.
Somehow, we'll have to struggle through the fields of fire.  Heat Street: "Democrats and Media Go into Hysterics over Healthcare Bill, Just Like Everything Else."  Yawn.

It's because of your Diet Coke, Madison

Hit and Run: "Seattle Mayor Proposes Soda Tax To Fight White Privilege."

Serves you right

The Baltimore Orioles beat up on the Red Sox last night, so this is condign punishment.  Hot Air: "Maryland insurer requests 59% premium hike, says Obamacare in first stages of death spiral."

American Health Care Act

Here's a good explanation via USA Today: "What does the Republican Obamacare repeal bill actually do?"  Among the provisions:
The American Health Care Act would let insurers charge older customers five times as much. That’s intended to draw more younger — and healthier — people into the individual insurance market.
If I remember correctly, the original ratio of older health care recipients versus younger Americans was over 6-1.  In other words (unsurprisingly), older Americans use six-times more health care.  Obamacare perverted the very definition of insurance (risk pools, actuary tables) by setting this to a 3-1 ratio.  The kids realized they were getting a bad deal and stayed away, preferring to pay the tax penalty instead of expensive insurance.  Because of the looming death spiral, the Obama Administration had to launch the pathetic "pajama boy" ad campaign to trick the kids into joining the insurance pool.  But they didn't and insurance companies started to lose billions and here we are today.

The new entitlement

Breitbart: "Krauthammer: 'We'll be in a single-payer system' in 'less than seven years'."  "He added that Obamacare “failed at every level.” Yet despite that, “I think Obamacare wins the day, because it changed expectations."

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The NY Times falls into a trap of its own making

I've been trying to avoid looking backward to the Obama Administration or Hillary's latest excuses why she didn't win the White House.  It's old news.  But this article by Nate Silver has some great analysis: "The Comey Letter Probably Cost Clinton The Election."

One part I found fascinating was that Silver believes the NY Times played up the letter because they were sure Hillary was going to win anyway.  Plus, the tough reporting was a way to show critics that there's no ideological bias at the Gray Lady:
Why was the Times giving Comey’s letter such blockbuster coverage and at the same time going out of its way to insist that it wouldn’t affect the outcome?

The evidence is consistent with the theory that the Times covered the Comey letter as it did because it saw Clinton as the almost-certain next president — and Trump as a historical footnote. By treating the letter as a huge deal, it could get a head start on covering the next administration and its imbroglios. It could also “prove” to its critics that it could provide tough coverage of Democrats, thereby countering accusations of liberal bias (a longstanding hang-up at the Times). So what if it wasn’t clear from the letter whether Clinton had done anything wrong? The Times could use the same weasel-worded language that it often does in such situations, speaking of the Comey letter as having “cast a cloud” over Clinton.
In testimony before Congress yesterday, FBI chief James Comey said he wishes he could have found a third way between reporting and not-reporting the fact that Huma Abedin had forwarded classified information to Anthony Weiner so they could be printed out.  Either he's be accused of a cover-up, or unduly swaying the election.  The ideological bubble at the Times was so impenetrable, they convinced themselves they could do some tough reporting and it wouldn't hurt their girl.

Oops.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Monday, May 01, 2017

Worth the wait

I don't know why this gif of a duckling jumping up a wall is so satisfying.  Maybe we've all had days like him.

Cancel my subscription!

Federalist: "Reaction To Bret Stephens’ Global Warming Column Shows Left Isn’t Interested In Debate."

Tolerance

PJ Media: "Study Finds Democrats Least Tolerant of Opposing Views."  To be sure, it's a small sampling of students at Dartmouth but it's funny that the most welcoming are Republicans.  "Get over here, you Commie, and let's hug it out!"

Sunday, April 30, 2017

It's come to this, Starfleet Edition

San Fran Gate: "Man forced to surrender his 'offensive' Star Trek license plate."  "After receiving multiple complaints, Manitoba resident Nick Troller was forced to hand over his license plate that read "ASIMIL8," a reference to the Borg, a popular alien race from Star Trek."  Offensive to minorities, natch.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The settled science

Bret Stephens (now!) in the NY Times: "Climate of complete certainty."  "Perhaps if there were less certitude about our climate future, more Americans would be interested in having a reasoned conversation about it."

Update - Well, the reasonable conversation has begun.

Fake and inaccurate

National Review: "Dan Rather, Fake Newsman."  How can we miss you if you won't go away?

Friday, April 28, 2017

A magazine obsessed

Frontpage: "The Left's culture of contempt."
The Atlantic’s May cover features Alec Baldwin covered in orange makeup holding up a Trump wig. The cover asks, “Can Satire Save the Republic?”

What is satire saving the Republic from? Republicans. While making America safe for Socialism.
I subscribe to the Atlantic magazine but there's 0% chance I'm going to re-up in a couple of months.  Before the election, they ran an editorial - only the third in their history - urging Americans to vote against Trump and, if I remember correctly, I agreed with a lot of it.  Since the election, the Atlantic has been trying to justify its editorial with one hit piece after another.

True story: I decided that if the Atlantic ran another cover story about Trump, I was cutting them loose.  Sure enough, this month's issue came yesterday with an orange-coated Alec Baldwin on the cover.  But wait!  There's more!  There's also: "The plan to end Europe" about how Trump's going to destroy a continent, "Golden State Warrior" ("[California] prepares to battle Trump")  and "The Brilliant Incoherence of Trump's Foreign Policy."

But the letter section.  Oh the letter section.  This includes single-minded missives in response to the cover article from two months ago, the over-the-moon hysterical "How to build an Autocracy."  Here's a portion of a letter from some poly-sci professor at Touro College:
The manifestly authoritarian characteristics of the man and many of his advisers lead me to think that a violent crackdown [against protesters] is highly likely. ... A violent crackdown could be the start of attempts by the administration to curb democracy, and possibly even shut down democratic institutions.
For the "Resistance!" the place is always Kent State and the year is always 1984.

Out of touch

Morning Consult: "Political Media Earns Poor Marks From Americans."  Have fun at your Nerd Prom.

Well, I like Neil Gorsuch

PJ Media: "#NotFondOfTrump After 100 Days."
This is partly, or course, because his purposeful crazy is driving his opponents real-life incoherently, incontinently crazy. From Maxine Waters' on-again-off-again calls for impeachment, to Louise Mensch and the tinfoil hat "it's all Russian spies all the way down" conspiracists, to real anarchists actually on TV actually beating up Republicans, conservatives, and people wearing red hats, the utter loss of all sense of proportion has gone a long way toward discrediting the remaining Democrats with a national platform.
Is that really the measurement we're using to gauge the success of Trump's young Administration: the Democrats are cray-cray?  Eventually they're come to terms with the fact that Hillary lost (or not).  It seems low-hanging and perishable fruit to say that success is tied to your opponents' reaction.

Chalk it up to the surprise of actually winning and an Administration still trying to fill empty seats.  Eventually, Trump needs to put some wins of his own on the scoreboard.

Extra - Hugh Hewitt: "Trump's first 100 days give conservatives a lot to celebrate."  Well, I guess there was some small-bore legislation in there.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

So is Bill Nye

Federalist: "Bill Nye’s View Of Humanity Is Repulsive."  Like most climate nuts (e.g. Al Gore), Nye hates to have to share a stage and actually defend his beliefs.  It sounds like he surrounds himself with like-minded flunkies on this Netflix show.


The heckler's veto wins again

Twitchy: "Tolerance on parade! Portland, Ore. festival’s ‘signature event’ canceled."

Extra - Powerline: "Portlandia: City of the petty, bankrupt, vindictive left."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Henry Ford's goon squad

I just started reading the novel "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides and got to the part where the Greek immigrant Lefty starts a job at the Ford automotive plant.  He and his family are visited by two guys from the "Ford Sociological Department" who rummage through his house, checking for hygiene and order, and making suggestions/orders as to how Lefty should run his life.

It's one of those times where I read a book and say: "this can't possibly be true."  But, oh, it is: "When Henry Ford's Benevolent Secret Police Ruled His Workers."

Buh-bye pensions

Washington Free Beacon: "20,000 Union Members, Retirees at Risk of Losing Pension Benefits - Retirement funds seek permission from feds to cut benefits."
In March, four unions filed applications with the U.S. Treasury Department requesting relief under a program established by the Obama administration that allows multi-employer pension plans to cut benefits in order to sustain the long-term health of the plan. The applications from United Furniture Workers Pension Fund, Alaska Ironworkers Pension Fund, Southwest Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters, International Association of Machinists of Motor City Pension Fund, and Teamsters Local 805 Pension & Retirement Plan are all being reviewed by the department, according to the Pension Rights Center. If the cuts are approved on all four applications, as many as 20,309 union members could see their retirement money drastically reduced.
This is why I favor partial privatization - aka personal accounts - for Social Security.  When your money is in the hands of other people, well, rosy rates of return are promised, benefits start to outstrip revenues, and there are fewer workers in the system propping up a pool of retirees.

Then you go bankrupt, gradually then suddenly.

Shut up, Trump explained

The Hill: "Conservative media figures disappointed with Trump meeting."  "Some conservative media figures invited to an exclusive event with President Trump on Monday night left the White House frustrated and complaining that Trump's staff had intentionally sought to limit what they could report out of the meeting."  Sigh.  What's it all about, Alfie?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Shut up, they explained

The Corner: "NYT publishes speech suppression advocacy."  Your ideas stink so we have to "adjust the parameters" of free speech, for your own good.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Elizabeth Warren and the deplorables

Here's an excerpt from a WashPost review of Fauxcahontas's book:
Yet the story Warren tells about the election and America’s anxieties is curiously one-dimensional. She uses standard progressive math to explain Trump voters: Some are racist bigots, some were taken in by a huckster casino owner and some are suffering from intense economic despair. One of the women she follows, Gina, lives in a mobile home in a small North Carolina town. She and her husband barely get by on her hourly wage from Walmart. “We need to tell this story!” Gina tells Warren. “But I really need this job.”

Gina, we find out at the end of the book, “proudly voted for Donald Trump, hoping he would ‘shake things up.’ ” In Warren’s world, the Democratic Party would win the vote of every Gina in America by fighting for a “playing field that isn’t tilted so hard against her.” But Warren never really tells us why America’s Ginas aren’t voting for Democrats now.
Emphasis added.  Warren was on Charlie Rose recently and he asked a version of this question in noting that Donald Trump won those very voters who were angry about the economy.  Warren responded: well they should be angry because things are terrible.  But she never articulated why these voters should look to the Democrats to solve these problems other than to recite her standard list of villains (Wall Street! Goldman Sachs!) that she regurgitates as predictably as the sun rising in the East.

Make no mistake: Warren is fighting and fighting to give you a fighting chance in the battle to win the war.  If anybody can list a single accomplishment from all this fighting other that to sell her books, let me know.

How dare you allow an opposing viewpoint!

The Hill: "Bill Nye criticizes CNN on air for inviting climate change skeptic."  An actual scientist, no less, and not an actor who puts on a lab coat.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Objectivity lesson

Hit and Run: "Scientists’ March on Washington - Do researchers risk becoming just another leftwing interest group?"
Microbiologist Alex Berezow is a senior fellow of biomedical science at a pro-science consumer advocacy organization, the American Council on Science and Health.* I asked him if he thought scientists should participate in the march. "No, scientists and researchers should not participate," he replied. "From the very outset, the march started as an anti-Trump protest. Then it morphed into a solidly progressive movement, embracing all manner of left-wing social justice causes." Berezow added that the march could well end up harming the interests of the scientific community: "For decades, science has received broad bipartisan support. (In fact, Republicans usually funded science better than Democrats.) By biting the hand that feeds them, scientists risk losing funding, as well as alienating taxpayers. That is an awful idea, and it hurts everybody."
Holding this march on Earth Day certainly calls into question its partisan nature.

Friday, April 21, 2017

You're free to listen to OUR speech

Megan McArdle: "Berkeley Once Stood for Free Speech. Now It Rolls Over. - "In the 1960s, students at Berkeley helped change the world by igniting the Free Speech Movement, a seminal moment in the history of 20th-century civil liberties. Fifty years later, Berkeley leftists seem to have decided that free speech was a mistake -- and the administration seems intent on helping them roll it back."

How many houses does a Socialist need?

The correct answer is three.

Old computers

This web site delivers what it promises: Old Computers.

I used to have a TI-99/4A computer that I loved.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Democrats' most popular politician is not a Democrat

Commentary: "The Democratic party: A brand in crisis"
Democrats have so far refused to find an antidote to their brand’s toxicity. They have performed no introspection with regard to how the 2016 election was run and lost to a former game show host, the most unpopular presidential candidate in the modern age. They have not engaged in a critical analysis of how the relatively popular Barack Obama could be replaced with a man who promised in both manner and deed to be everything the former president was not. The Democratic Party is facing a nearly 100-year nadir of its political power. Its representatives were defenestrated at nearly every level. Obama left the GOP with all three branches of the federal government and in total control of the levers of power in fully half the Union. Yet there has been no “autopsy,” and there apparently never will be. Their state of denial is all-consuming.
The strategy appears to be call everyone racist until they come around.

The ultimate swinger

Hot Air: "Grassley: Expect a SCOTUS opening this summer."  The news here is that Justice Anthony Kennedy is not interviewing clerks for the next session, suggesting that his time on the bench is winding down.

Update - Or not.  Thanks random commenter.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Youse gonna be working together

Hit and Run: "NYC Mayor Encourages Cigarette Smuggling with Plan to Massively Jack Up Prices - City with highest cost per pack also has highest bootlegging rate. Imagine that."
Today de Blasio announced that he wants to make smuggling an even more financially lucrative option by jacking up the taxes on packs of cigarettes. Right now the lowest price for a pack of cigarettes in the city is $10.50 a pack. Under his proposal announced today the floor would jump to $13 a pack, the highest in the country.

By sheer coincidence (if you are completely ignorant to even the most basic concepts of economics), New York has the highest rate of cigarette smuggling in the country. Though figures are hard to nail down—black markets, being what they are—stats suggest that more than half of all cigarettes are being sold illegally and untaxed in New York.
The mafia and/or New Hampshire thanks you for the business.



Georgia 6th

Real Clear Politics; "Five Takeaways From the Georgia Special Election."  I don't know why certain commentators are saying this is a done deal for the Republicans.  Special elections are always unpredictable.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Crossing the street at the Boston Marathon

Nice logistics here:

How to kill Obamacare: enforce the law

Washington Times: "Trump’s message to Democrats: Negotiate Obamacare, or payments to insurers will be cut."
President Trump is threatening to cut off critical Obamacare payments to insurers unless Democrats come to the table to negotiate a new health care bill, taking a tough negotiating stance that could force Democratic leaders into a government shutdown by month’s end.

At stake are “cost sharing” payments that Obamacare backers say are supposed to be made to insurance companies to cover their losses from low-income customers.

A federal court has invalidated the payments, saying the Obama administration spent the money even though Congress specifically stripped the funds from its annual spending bills.
Up until - let's say January 20th - Obamacare was kept alive by ignoring statutory deadlines and illegally shifting money between government departments.

Extra - From Instapundit.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

You had a good run, Turkey

Foreign Policy: "RIP Turkey, 1921 – 2017 - Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn’t just win his constitutional referendum — he permanently closed a chapter of his country’s modern history."

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I learned it by watching you!

Why, oh why, did I click on that Vox link to that Ezra "Obamacare is great!" Klein story?  Anyway, now that the Supreme Court is open to Republican nominees, well: "How to fix the Supreme Court."

The tl;dr is term limits.

But let's start out here:
In 2016, Senate Republicans responded to Antonin Scalia’s death by inventing and establishing the absurd faux principle that open seats on the Supreme Court cannot be filled in an election year.
AYFKM?  This concept sprang - sui generis - from the mind of Mitch McConnell?  As did the elimination of filibusters for federal judges?  Please.  Reacquaint yourself with the Biden Rule, the Reid Rule, and the Ginsburg Rule.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Alternative banking

Trivia for you: there are more payday lenders in America than there are McDonalds and Starbucks combined, even though they are banned in 13 states.  Really interesting story over at Hit and Run: "How Payday Lenders and Check Cashers Help the Poor - An Ivy League professor went to work in the industry to figure out why so many Americans choose to remain "unbanked."."

Watch the video.  There's a reason there are so many payday lenders and check cashers: for a large number of people there's really no alternative for them at traditional banks.  They can't wait for the "float" of regular banks - they need cash now for a variety of reasons.

Regrets

Washington Free Beacon: "Washington Post Blogger Issues Official Apology for Spreading False Jeff Sessions Story."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Fantastic

Hot Air: "Trump took Social Security reforms out of his budget."

I've utterly given up on advocating for entitlement reform: the Democrats demagogue the hell out of the issue and Republicans are tired of being accused of pushing Grandma over a cliff.

And yet - every year - the Trustees of Social Security and Medicare warn that something must be done:
Both Social Security and Medicare face long-term financing shortfalls under currently scheduled benefits and financing. Lawmakers have a broad continuum of policy options that would close or reduce the long-term financing shortfall of both programs. The Trustees recommend that lawmakers take action sooner rather than later to address these shortfalls, so that a broader range of solutions can be considered and more time will be available to phase in changes while giving the public adequate time to prepare. Earlier action will also help elected officials minimize adverse impacts on vulnerable populations, including lower-income workers and people already dependent on program benefits.
In other words, time is needed to space out the needed cutbacks and give people time to adjust.  But we won't do that.  Instead, we'll just wait until the ship hits the iceberg:
The OASI Trust Fund, when considered separately, has a projected reserve depletion date of 2035, the same as in last year's report. At that time, income would be sufficient to pay 77 percent of scheduled OASI benefits.
Oh, you were depending on your full benefit?  Sucker: here's three quarters on the dollar.

"Fact-checking" at the NY Times

Jonah Goldberg: "What Rick Perlstein’s Embarrassing New York Times Essay Gets Wrong."  "I’d demand an apology and a retraction, but that would require the Times to understand a perspective outside their bubble. They’ve already demonstrated that’s too much to ask."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

His blood ran cold

I'm sorry, that's tasteless.  However: "J. Geils found dead in Massachusetts home at age 71."  "The J. Geils Band was founded in 1967 in Worcester, Mass., while Geils was studying at Worcester Polytechnic Institute."  This is the closest thing we have to a Western Mass superstar.  Also: WPI!  A very good school.

New York state of college

Legal Insurrection: "New York’s ‘Free’ College Tuition Program is Unworkable."

In addition to all sorts of provisos to get the money in the first place, students are required to stay in New York for as long as they got free tuition.  (Room and board and fees are not included).  Massachusetts has a similar system where students who graduate in the top 10% of their class don't need to pay tuition in a state school such as University of Massachusetts.  To compensate for low/no tuition, the state schools mark up the room and board and other expenses that cannot be avoided.

Senate tradition

Daily Caller: "Tom Daschle: Dems More To Blame For ‘Erosion Of Institutional Pillars Of Senate’."

Monday, April 10, 2017

Your refusal to accept this $400 voucher is disturbing

Joke going around the Internet: New photo of United Airlines asking for volunteers to deplane

Great PR, United

Fox News: "Police violently drag man from United plane after airline reportedly overbooked flight."

You know what?  Hats off to this guy.  United must have assumed that, in the face of a security detail, he would go gently into that good terminal.  Instead, United has a visual for the ages and a trending #BoycottUnited movement.

Update - The officer who dragged the guy has been placed on leave.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

You're right about the "terrible" part

"We're terribly democratic!" say the socialists of Venezuela.  Hot Air: "Venezuela bans opposition leader from running for office for 15 years."  The country is now the apotheosis of Orwell.

Past the red line

Politico magazine: "President Not-Obama - How Trump's strike got even some key Obama advisers cheering."
“I feel like finally we have done the right thing,” Anne-Marie Slaughter, who served as Obama’s first-term chief of policy planning at the State Department and long publicly urged a more forceful response to Assad’s horrific attacks on civilians during the six years of war that have wracked Syria, told me. “The years of hypocrisy just hurt us all. It undermined the U.S., it undermined the world order.”
He didn't draw that red line!

Friday, April 07, 2017

The Left hates free speech

College Fix: "Angry mob shuts down Blue Lives Matter speech at Claremont McKenna College."

Gorsuch confirmed

Charles Krauthammer: "Karma, precedent and the nuclear option."  "The Gorsuch nomination is a bitter setback to the liberal project of using the courts to ratchet leftward the law and society. However, Gorsuch’s appointment simply preserves the court’s ideological balance of power. Wait for the next nomination. Having gratuitously forfeited the filibuster, Democrats will be facing the loss of the court for a generation.
Condign punishment indeed."

For the record, I was wrong in my prediction that the Democrats would pull back the abyss and preserve the filibuster for the next seat, the one that will (likely) tip balance on the Court.  It's either sheer madness or just appealing to the fundraisers.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

This seems impetuous

Fox News: "US launches missiles into Syria in response to chemical weapons attack."

If I remember correctly, candidate Trump was against any kind of involvement in Syria.  Rand Paul is not happy.

Extra - A lot of history in this Hot Air post including how Trump was against Syria intervention and wanted Congressional approval for any strike.  Tonight...not so much.

More - WSJ: "U.S. Launches Cruise Missiles at Syrian Air Base in Response to Chemical Attack."
Speaking inside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, President Trump said he ordered targeted missile strikes at a Syrian airfield as a response to the “barbaric” chemical weapons attack, saying they were in the interest of U.S. national security to prevent and deter the use and spread of such weapons. The Assad regime, Mr. Trump said, “choked out the lives of helpless” people in Syria.
I guess there's something to be said about a show of force in response to the barbaric use of chemical weapons and, so far, this seems to be a pinprick attack on the airbase used to launch the attack.  I'm as conflicted as virtually everybody on this Reddit thread.

Triggered

This account is a hoot.  College Fix: "‘War on Cops’ author Heather Mac Donald shouted down at UCLA by hysterical Black Lives Matter protest."

She's the worst

Twitchy: "Elizabeth Warren goes on warpath against nuke option, steps on rake she dropped in 2013."

Prepare to be shocked

The New York Times had a certain opinion in 2013 on judicial filibusters: "Democracy returns to the Senate."
In a 52-to-48 vote that substantially altered the balance of power in Washington, the Senate changed its most infuriating rule and effectively ended the filibuster on executive and judicial appointments. From now on, if any senator tries to filibuster a presidential nominee, that filibuster can be stopped with a simple majority, not the 60-vote requirement of the past. That means a return to the democratic process of giving nominees an up-or-down vote, allowing them to be either confirmed or rejected by a simple majority. 
The only exceptions are nominations to the Supreme Court, for which a filibuster would still be allowed. But now that the Senate has begun to tear down undemocratic procedures, the precedent set on Thursday will increase the pressure to end those filibusters, too.
Hooray for Democracy!  So you may be puzzled at yesterday's editorial: "The Supreme Court as a partisan tool."
What matters, of course, is not some arcane voting process in the Senate. What matters is that Americans believe they are governed by law, not by whatever political party manages to stack the Supreme Court. That is what Mitch McConnell has driven the Senate to put at risk — a very great risk indeed — and it may, in the end, fall to the court itself to find a way to rise above the steadily encroaching tide of factionalism.
Awww.  So much partisanship and arcane voting processes.  The NYT made sure to include a throwaway line: "Some of the blame rests on the Democrats."  In 2013 they were preserving democracy while in 2017 they're resisting the forces of factionalism.

We remember Miguel Estrada, too

Politico: "McConnell Is Finishing What Schumer Started - Fifteen years ago, Charles Schumer picked a fight over judicial nominees. This week, Mitch McConnell is ending it for good."

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Murkowski is on board

Hot Air: "Push the button: Centrist Lisa Murkowski warns Democrats that she’s ready to go nuclear to confirm Gorsuch."

I don't think the Democrats will go through with it: they'll pull back from the abyss.

Why so quiet, Liz?

Washington Free Beacon: "Elizabeth Warren Goes Silent on Equal Pay Day After Free Beacon Report."

Where's that fightin' fight we're so used to?

Flashback: Schumer poisons the well

Weekly Standard: "Republicans: Schumer Broke His Word on Pompeo Confirmation."
Representative Pompeo will almost certainly be confirmed as CIA Director on Monday. And the CIA will no doubt survive two days without its new leader. But the nastiness of the partisan sniping between top Republicans and Democrats that led to the delay may well have a lasting impact on the Senate - in this Congress and beyond.
According to six sources familiar with the negotiations over Pompeo's confirmation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Republican leaders that he would allow Pompeo to be confirmed by voice vote on Inauguration Day, along with two other Trump nominees who have national security responsibilities. But Schumer broke his promise, these sources say, and offered an insulting excuse for having done so.
"Trust is important, even between adversaries," says Senator John Cornyn, one of the Republicans involved in the discussions. "And that trust has been damaged."
Which is why it was laughable when Schumer floated his ridiculous proposal that the Democrats would "allow" Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court as long as the Republicans maintained the filibuster or else let Democrats help pick a new nominee.  Schumer cannot be trusted.

ESPN aims to drive ratings lower

ESPN Ombudsman: "New ESPN guidelines recognize connection between sports, politics."

Oh goody.  There's nothing that illuminates a Red Sox game like a discussion of Black Lives Matter.  This is why I watch most sports with the volume muted.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

"Let them do it"

Nice find that I can't believe hasn't been unearthed earlier: after nuking the filibuster for circuit court judges, Harry Reid was asked if the Republicans could someday do the same for Supreme Court justices.

Can we all take a breath?

The outrage machine in Washington is exhausting.  I think the National Review (!) has a good piece on the Corner today: "The Susan Rice ‘Unmasking’ Scoop: We Don’t Know Enough To Be Outraged (Yet)."

The bottom line is that national security officials have wide latitude to review information and there's no evidence (yet) that this was done for political purposes.  I understand that the evocation of the name Susan Rice causes a certain reaction on the political right (with good reason) but we can't go from 0-100 on every issue.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Bombing in St. Petersburg

At least ten killed in a subway bombing.  As usual, Reddit has an army of citizen reporters with updates.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Sunday showdown

The Hill: "Sunday shows preview: McConnell, Schumer face off ahead of Gorsuch fight."

As they say about prison sentences: are they serving concurrently or consecutively?  "Face off" implies they'll be on together.  One thing that always bothers me about these shows is that one side will appear with their talking points followed by the opposite side with their talking points.  Didn't it used to be the standard for these guys to debate each other?  Or am I mis-remembering that?

I, for one, would like to see McConnell throw Schumer's words about judicial nominees right back at him.  And maybe a good "told ya so":
“I say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, you’ll regret this [the nuclear option],” McConnell, then the minority leader, told them. “And you may regret it a lot sooner than you think.”
Secretary DeVos thanks you.

Hollywood phonies, redux

I've written before about how Hollywood types love to pontificate against school choice...for everybody else.  Samantha Bee generated some laughs poking Betsy DeVos, while her husband was busy advocating for keeping their kids' school, um, let's say "pure."
One P.S. 452 parent speaking out against the move is comedian and former Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones, who’s married to Samantha Bee. "To portray any opposition as classist or racist is as bad as it can get," Jones told WNYC. And elsewhere: "We are not divided,” he said at a public hearing about the proposal, “we are absolutely united in wanting what's best for our children," then encouraged fellow parents not to talk to the press about the controversy.
Jones (and presumably Bee) wants what's best for their children.  It's just everybody else that's racist.

Friday, March 31, 2017

That's a man, man

Intellectual Takeout: "When a Man in a Women’s Restroom is Finally Seen as Wrong."

This story is something: a dude walked into the women's bathroom at Disneyland and everybody was so terrified of being called intolerant, nobody said or did anything.

Another one bites the dust

And it's a big one.  The Resurgent: "Death Spiral: Anthem to bail on Obamacare."
Insurer Anthem Inc. is looking to exit “a high percentage of the 144 rating regions in which it currently participates.”

Anthem has been single-handedly propping up Obamacare in many states, and its departure would leave some consumers in Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio with ZERO Obamacare insurers available.   Consumers will face fines for failing to buy a product that is not available to them.

According to the article, Anthem lost $374 million in the individual market in 2016, and is pleading with the administration for regulatory relief so they can stay in the market.
This shoddy law was slapped together in such a way that whenever Congress couldn't figure out how to craft the legislation, the Democrats just shoehorned in "The Health and Human Services Secretary will figure it out."  Now we have an Administration disinclined to bend the law with the whim of a bureaucrat.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Democrats demand an up-or-down vote

"No matter who's in power!" said Chuck Schumer....back when President Hillary was a foregone conclusion and Democrats were predicted to take back the Senate.  Good times.

Attacking your own right flank

Hit and Run: "Trump declares war on the Freedom Caucus."
What's the old saw? They told me if I voted for Hillary Clinton, the president would declare war against the House Freedom Caucus. And he did!
As somebody who has never had to deal with the give-and-take of politics, Trump is out of his depth.  He energized the base by appealing to Tea Party ideals, and now he wants them gone.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mark your calendar

Hot Air: "McConnell: Gorsuch will be confirmed next Friday."

A "nudge" vs. a "gun to the head"

Hit and Run has a good review on the Constitutionality of the Trump Administration's action on sanctuary cities: "Jeff Sessions Threatens Unconstitutional Action Against Sanctuary Cities - The Attorney General aims to dragoon state and local officials and leave them "no real option but to acquiesce."

It's a little inside baseball (legally speaking) but the federal government cannot compel states to enforce federal policy by threatening to cut off spending.  The Feds, however, can "nudge" the states as the did by withholding 5% of highway funds for states that didn't raise the drinking age.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Russians and American supermarkets

If you're a big fan of the FX show "The Americans" (as I am), you would know that the new season is focusing on food shortages in the old Soviet Union and American shipments of wheat in the mid-1980s.

Reddit's "Today I Learned" has a story about a MiG pilot who defected and became convinced that the CIA was stocking supermarkets to fool him.  The comments in this thread are great.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Trump's short attention span

A couple of weeks ago, National Review editor-in-chief Rich Lowry gave a talk at Amherst College.  The audience was very respectful (this was in the wake of the Middlebury College incident) and Lowry gave a review of the past election and what Trump means for America.

One story I thought was interesting in hindsight.  Allegedly, Speaker Paul Ryan has a standard presentation to review policy and procedure in Congress but it's a half-hour long.  Concerned that the new President wouldn't be inclined to sit around that long, Ryan abridged the presentation to six minutes.  According to Lowry, Trump lasted all of 90 seconds into the stripped-down presentation and waved it away, saying "I get it, I get it."

That anecdote seems entirely plausible given this Politico report:
Donald Trump had heard enough about policy and process. It was Thursday afternoon and members of the House Freedom Caucus were peppering the president with wonkish concerns about the American Health Care Act—the language that would leave Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” in place, the community rating provision that limited what insurers could charge certain patients, and whether the next two steps of Speaker Paul Ryan’s master plan were even feasible—when Trump decided to cut them off.

"Forget about the little s---," Trump said, according to multiple sources in the room. "Let's focus on the big picture here."
This report confirms all the stereotypes and predictions made about Trump: he has no patience for the details of complicated legislation, he is dismissive of his peers, and alienates the very people he needs to advance his agenda.  The meeting with Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows is a perfect example: instead of listening to the Congressman's concerns, Trump indicated he expected his party's support so Meadows better get on board.

Meadows did not.

Friday, March 24, 2017

You had one job

PJ Media: "Paul Ryan Takes the Barzini Meeting."  "If the House GOP had wanted to insult and infuriate their voters, this bill was the best way to do it. Sin in haste, repent at leisure."

Extra - Washington Examiner: "GOP cave on Obamacare repeal is the biggest broken promise in political history."

Not ready to go

The Hill: "Fox's Stuart Varney: 'The Republican Party is a disgrace'."
“I personally believe at this moment in time the Republican Party is a disgrace,” Varney declared during an interview with Juan Williams, a Fox News and The Hill contributor. "I’m serious. I am serious.”

“We elected the Republicans who run the House, the Senate, and the White House and the very, very first thing that comes up on the legislative agenda they vote no, they’re split. They can’t do it. They can’t govern. I am really fit to be tied." 
Hard to argue with that.  I was going to embed "Send in the Clowns" but I already used a YouTube video today.  It would be easy for me to blame Trump who forced a vote in Congress before the requisite support was assembled, probably because he thought he understood how to make a "deal" in Washington.  But Paul Ryan, who certainly understands how hard it is to ratchet back entitlements, never sold the public on this bill and it was easy for Republicans to walk away from both the legislation and a President they don't particularly like.

This whole endeavor has been...the review for this album:


Ready to go

Weekly Standard: "McCain Responds to Filibuster Threat: 'We're Going to Confirm Gorsuch'."

As one of the Gang of 14 members, McCain was on the short list of Republican Senators who would balk at changing the Senate rules for judicial nominees.  Maybe it's a bluff but I suspect not.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Of course they will

Red State: "Democrats Choose Stupidity: They Will Filibuster Neil Gorsuch Nomination."

So this guy was unanimously approved to the Circuit Court, received the ABA's "highly qualified" rating, and has been getting glowing reviews from the media.  But all the Democrats have is "resist!" so resist they shall.  Meanwhile, McConnell waits to pull the nuclear trigger.

Is it too early for a boy to dream what will happen after the nuclear option?  This guy is just dreamy....

Only the Narrative was harmed

Minuteman: "Israeli-American Teen Arrested In Bomb Hoax Calls" to Jewish community centers in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

Here we go again

Hit and Run: "Republicans Are Rushing To Vote on a Health Care Bill They Haven’t Read. They Learned Nothing From Obamacare. - The House is planning a vote today on a bill that still isn't finalized."

Considering that Republicans have been waiting seven years to replace Obamacare, it's hard to believe this clown show.  Save us, budget reconciliation!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The problem with hate crimes

Via Ace, there's a story about some kids who committed an unmistakable act of anti-Semitism:
Sometime during the night the Menorah, which is approximately eight feet in height and constructed out of PVC pipe, was reconfigured into a swastika.
And yet these suspects are only being charged with trespassing and vandalism...for some reason.  How does the AG know that these suspects didn't hate Jews and committed this crime out of pure malice?  There must be some method.

Who can watch TV anymore?

i was checking TV listings for tonight and noticed that "Titanic" is on AMC from 5:30 to 10pm.  Four-and-a-half hours for the worst film to ever win Best Picture.  Sweet mercy.

He's referring to the World Champion New England Patriots

C'mon, this was kinda funny.  MassLive: "'I hate the New England Patriots,' says FBI Director James Comey in comparison to Russia supporting Donald Trump."

The way I understand it, Comey was trying to say that Russia/Putin was rooting against Hillary no matter what and that benefited Trump.  But he's a Giants fan, so who knows what that loser was saying.

Let it go man, let it go

Hot Air: "No evidence to support Trump’s wiretapping tweets."
I forgot that Trump is holding a rally tonight in Kentucky, ostensibly to sell the House health-care bill! Odds that he’ll digress to attack Comey, Rogers, and the intelligence community instead: High.
This is no small reason why we have headlines like this: "Poll: Trump job approval hits new low."

SCOTUS bound

Daily Caller: "The Gorsuch Hearings Are Starting. Here’s What To Expect."

Chuck Schumer will make an ass of himself again and Merrick Garland will be invoked ad nauseum.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

CO-2-step

Coyote Blog: "The Continuing Climate Disconnect and the Climate Bait and Switch."

Punish the kids

Politico: "How to fix Obamacare with this one amazing trick - Forcing young, mostly healthy Americans off their parents' coverage could help Republicans make good on their promise to salvage the health care system."

Obamacare re-jiggered the way insurance works by capping the amount older Americans paid for health care by shifting the costs to younger, healthier Americans.  How do you get these kids to buy expensive insurance they probably won't use?  Add the individual mandate.  But, still, they refused to buy.

So, to make Obamacare work, we need to force the kids to buy insurance.  Easy-peasy: throw them off mom and dad's policies!

Friday, March 17, 2017

You can't make this up

From the school that took down the American flag, here's the latest from the Happy Valley: "Hampshire College student denies assaulting Maine basketball players over ‘cultural appropriation’."
A Hampshire College student denied physically assaulting a visiting basketball player over what the student called “cultural appropriation.”

Carmen Figueroa, 20, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct, assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown Friday morning.

The charges stem from a Jan. 27 incident at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center. According to court documents, Figueroa approached members the  Central Maine Community College women’s basketball team and ordered them to remove braids from their hair citing “cultural appropriation.”
These kids are in for a rude awakening once they put down the reefer.

Drop that croissant!

Miami Herald: "Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem."  This is stark 1984 stuff.

A dearth of deference

Lawfare: "The Revolt of the Judges: What Happens When the Judiciary Doesn’t Trust the President’s Oath."

On both sides, to be clear.

Typical Schumer

Hit and Run: "Chuck Schumer's indecent attacks on Neil Gorsuch."  "Make no mistake, though: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) now opposes a potential SCOTUS justice because he promises to be impartial when upholding the Constitution.
Since Gorsuch's confirmation hearing starts Monday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and opponents have found "little to latch onto," according to Politico (which means they've found nothing to spin into accusations of misogyny or racism), Schumer and his allies have launched a ham-fisted effort to paint Gorsuch as a corporate stooge."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The hit job that wasn't

Daily Caller: "NYT Dumped The Biggest Nothing-Burger Yet On Neil Gorsuch."
The real news in the piece comes in its remarkable concession in the sixth graph.

“But it is not clear how well the two know each other,” the Times writes of the judge and the billionaire, as if to apologize for the forthcoming banality.
This is innuendo edging up to the line of fake news, coming right on the heels of Rachel Maddow's Geraldo Rivera moment, which plays into Trump's effort to play the press as a foil.  Why do they feed into further distrust in the media?  I suspect it's because MSNBC and the NY Times play to their audience, despite their earnest statements that "the truth matters more than ever."

Turkey and the spirit of Ataturk

Hot Air: "The Washington Post notices Turkey’s “downward spiral”."
The rapid downward slide of a once very promising democracy in a primarily Muslim nation and the public rise to power of an aspiring tyrant is a very real tragedy playing on the world stage in front of us all. 
This once-secular NATO ally is going the way of the Islamists.  Mustafa Kemal Ataturk formed modern Turkey by abolishing the caliphate and establishing a secular society, to be enforced by the army when necessary.  Bit by bit, Recep Erdogan is reversing those reforms.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

"I tell my children not to go into medicine"

Legal Insurrection: "From the patient trenches: Lies, Damn Lies, and CBO Scoring."  Prof. Jacobson recounts some front-line observations and concludes "things are getting worse" with Obamacare.

Extra - Hot Air: "The GOP’s best hope here may be to remind voters that CBO’s projections on health care have proved to be hot garbage in the past and probably will again this time..."

That Max makes some good points

I turned off SNL the other night when Alec Baldwin was doing another tiresome Trump sketch.  But it looks like I should have stuck around for this one:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Kneejerk jerk

Legal Insurrection: "Elizabeth Warren howls over Trump replacement of U.S. Attorneys - Predictable for someone who fancies herself leader of “the resistance”."

Friday, March 10, 2017

Confused old Nancy

Hot Air: "We need to know what’s in the health care bill before we pass it, says … Nancy Pelosi."

Under normal circumstances, I would call this "trolling" but I don't think Nancy is that sophisticated.  Harry Reid, yes, but not Nancy.

Oh do tell

FiveThirtyEight: "There Really Was A Liberal Media Bubble."

Heat Street: "Study: Hillary Clinton Ran One of the Worst Campaigns in Years."

What's funny in the Heat Street article are the graphs showing the panicked ad buys in Michigan and Wisconsin literally the day before the election.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Surprise! Labor surcharge

Restaurants who are forced to pay higher labor costs are slipping in a labor surcharge on the bill and hoping you don't notice.

Obamacare 2.0

Veronique de Rugy: "House Republicans' Obamacare Replacement Plan Is a Disaster. Here's Why. - It's health care that matters, not health care insurance."

And I like this trenchant observation from Philip Klein:
2010: Elect us to stop Obamacare.
2011: Can't stop it without Senate.
2015: We need the WH to stop Obamacare.
2017: We can't stop Obamacare.
As the kids like to say: you had one job.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Hillary Trump and Donald Clinton

Hot Air: "Academics swapped gender of Trump, Clinton for restaged presidential debate and the results surprised them."

Pretty interesting: two actors mimicked the words and mannerisms of the candidates but with swapped genders.  People in the audience really liked that crazy "Brenda King" and her direct language.  One guy wanted to punch "Jonathan Gordon" in the mouth.

The entitlement ratchet

Powerline: "Are Republicans blowing it on health care?"

Heavens, no!  They're replacing health care funded by government subsidies with health care funded by government-funded tax credits.  Geez.

Extra - Conservatives don't like per Fox News and Politico.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Craziest story evah

The Lid: "Same NY Times Reporter Said Trump Team Was Wiretapped In Jan., But Said TRUMP Lacked Evidence In March."  "Either the Times editors and Mr. Schmidt are trying to skew the story, or they are all suffering from a form of dementia and have no memory."

Related - PowerLine: "Don't look now, but..." the Russian collusion story is collapsing while the wiretapping story is, well, alive.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

People don't plan to fail. They fail to plan.

I've said this phrase to my kids a hundred times as a signal that life demands deferred satisfaction.  Sure, it's a lot of fun to spend money on a shiny toy, but it's much more fun to live your golden years eating steak instead of cat food.  So this article spoke to me: "Stop taking pride in not knowing how to do basic shit":
“Being an adult” isn’t some really prestigious title we have to be intimidated about, it’s literally what we all are, whether we like it or not. The question is whether you are a cool, collected adult whose life is not constantly on fire, or whether you’re a Carrie Bradshaw, who literally had to go visit her ex-boyfriend at work to ask for money to not be evicted because she bought too many statement accessories.

Choose wisely, and don’t take pride in being the latter.
The Washington Free Beacon had an article recently about how a Teamsters Pension Fund was essentially broke and could only pay about half of promised benefits.  It's a tough situation for people who worked their entire lives for a comfortable retirement.  But the article highlighted one of these workers and my sympathy dissolved when i read the following:
Acosta's monthly pay out will now be $760 after taxes. He told the Washington Free Beacon that his family is struggling to stay afloat. The stress of his four-decade career in manual labor has left him without any employment prospects and he has turned to his construction worker son and Social Security to help him make his mortgage payments, which are roughly $2,300 each month.
This guy has been working for 40 years and he still has a $2300/month mortgage?  The most charitable thing I can say is that Mr. Acosta depended on his Teamster pension to pay for his outlandish mortgage, the one that should have been paid off a decade ago.

When you place your financial destiny in somebody else's control, sometimes things don't work out like you had hoped.

This guy is a kook

Fox News: "Trump accuses Obama administration of wiretapping Trump Tower phones."

I don't think Trump is "crazy like a fox."  Will somebody please delete his Twitter account?

Update - Via Hot Air.

Friday, March 03, 2017

The Left hates free speech, college edition

Tolerance in Vermont.  Hit and Run: "A Professor Who Attended Charles Murray’s Middlebury Talk Is Now Wearing a Neck Brace. Protesters Attacked Her."  "The principle of free speech was not the only thing to suffer injury at Middlebury College on Thursday: a professor was physically assaulted by members of the mob that shut down Charles Murray's talk."

Outrage then overplay

The Young Turks: "The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation."

Arrest in bomb threats against Jewish community

Shot: From the Intercept: "Trump Can’t Accept That His Allies Are Targeting Jews — So He Blames His Opponents."

Chaser: "Former journalist arrested, charged with threats against Jewish facilities."
Thompson is a journalist who was fired from the Intercept, an investigative journalism website, for fabricating quotes and misleading colleagues to cover his tracks. In an editor’s note last year, the publication said Thompson had engaged in “a pattern of deception” and wrote that he created fake email accounts to impersonate people.
Hangover: Gateway Pundit: "Juan Thompson – Who Threatened US Jewish Centers – Is BIG BERNIE SANDERS Supporter!"