Friday, May 31, 2013

Yeah, yeah, here we go again - The Hill: "Medicare on track for insolvency in 2026; Social Security seven years later."
When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail

The never-ending campaign continues, this time on student loans:
President Obama's 2014 budget calls on Congress to prevent a doubling of interest rates on student loans and make the rates "more market-based." Last week House Republicans and four Democrats voted to prevent the rates from doubling and make the rates more market-based.
Naturally, Mr. Obama is sitting down with the leaders of both parties in a good-faith effort to iron out their remaining differences before the July 1 rate increase. Just kidding.
After hurling a veto threat at the House, Mr. Obama is hosting a White House media event Friday morning. As his spokesman Jay Carney described it, "the President will be joined by college students here at the White House for an event where he will call on Congress to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1." Does Mr. Obama realize he can't run for re-election again?
That's right: it's another campaign event.  The main difference this time is that we need "fairness" and now is not the time to "turn our backs on young people."

Cue the slow clap.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This thing has more Indian kids than a Bollywood remake of "Harry Potter" - I'm watching the National Spelling Bee and the last Caucasian kid left the stage ten minutes ago.  All these tweens are really accomplished with academics, band and such.
Today's heart-warming story - Medical News Today: "Woman has heart attack on plane - 15 cardiologists on board."  They were on their way to a medical conference.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Benchmark no more - The Truth About Cars: "Three questions GM should answer."
Now it can be told

Big Journalism: "Associated Press: Many will have insurance cancelled due to Obamacare."
This is also a classic case of the media making sure they are on the record reporting something, but only doing so after it is too late to hurt their big government agenda. The media wanted ObamaCare to pass, so the media refused to do any kind of reporting like this when it might have derailed the legislation before it became law.
Ain't that the truth.  How many of us took a look at this turd of a law and warned that you wouldn't be able to keep your insurance, that "Cadillac" plans would be curtailed, and younger workers would have to pay way above current rates due to "community rating" designed to spread the cost of healthcare around.  Due to fairness and all.

And that's how it was sold and that's how the media regurgitated it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Unfunded liability - USA Today: "States sinking in pension plan debt."  "One inescapable fact remains: Without meaningful reform, paying down these liabilities would cost the average American household an additional $1,385 in taxes every year for the next three decades."
Holder lied, either to the Court or Congress

Jennifer Rubin notes that when AG Eric Holder told Congress that he had nothing to do with the wiretapping of Fox News' James Rosen, it doesn't square with the court order DOJ requested:
The catch is this: If Holder never considered prosecution of journalists including Rosen, then the affidavit laying out a purported criminal case against Rosen was a ruse, a false statement under oath, directed to the court to conduct a wide-ranging dragnet. If, on the other hand, the affidavit which Holder signed off on is true in laying out the case against Rosen, then he didn’t level with Congress. In either event, he needs to come back and explain himself. If he refuses or takes the Fifth, there is no alternative but to name a special prosecutor.
Also, we now know that Holder went judge-shopping until he found somebody to sign off on the secret spying.  This case has gone far past the question of impropriety.  Time for a special prosecutor.

Extra - From Hot Air.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Car wars

The Truth About Cars has an excellent story about how Tesla repaid their DOE loan (!) and then claimed they were "the only American car company to have fully repaid the government."

Four hours later, Chrysler responded: "Not exactly, Tesla."

To which Tesla retorted: "You aren't an American car company and you didn't pay back your loan."  Burn!
Holder on loosely - It looks like Eric Holder's days as Attorney General are numbered now that it's been revealed that he out-and-outright lied under oath about approving wiretaps for Fox News reporter James Rosen.  When both Sarah Palin and the Huffington Post say it's time to go, better start packing.
Terrific me and those awful others

We're heard this before and the link on Real Clear Politics read "The Ad Hominem Presidency" but here's Charles Krauthammer detailing how Obama's habit of vilifying all who disagree with him has sent a message to the acolytes in his administration:
It’s not unlawful to run an ad hominem presidency. It’s merely shameful. The great rhetorical specialty of this president has been his unrelenting attribution of bad faith to those who disagree with him. He acts on principle; they from the basest of instincts.
Well then, why not harass them? Why not ask the content of their prayers? Why not read their e-mail? Why not give them especially horrible customer service?
This is why the guy can't get anything done unless he has a filibuster-proof majority: he refuses to parlay with those misguided souls who can't acknowledge his own wonderful-ness, the puppy-kickers.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hooch is crazy

Stuff that happens in Flyover country - Veronique de Rugy: "Americans without a bank account the next unforeseen Obamacare implementation problem."  How many Americans do not have a checking account to pay mandatory health insurance premiums?  A lot more than you think.
From Nothingburger Witch Hunt to "Heads must roll!" in 24 hours flat - AoSHQ: "Ezra Klein and Josh Marshall, who got a VIP briefing at the White House yesterday, are curiously on the same page today."  Marching orders.
Nobel Peace Prize winner update - Via Hot Air: "Obama has killed more U.S. citizens than foreigners waterboarded under Bush."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Smoking gun, hiding in plain sight - By the way, if you missed it, check out the NY Times chicanery via Mickey Kaus: "NYT buries the lede!"

Essentially, the Times reported that a "manager" at the IRS Cincinnati office told accountants to scan for "Tea Party" in applications.  Who is this mystery manager?  The Times doesn't know and doesn't care to know!  That's some top-notch journalism there.

Well, maybe Lois Lerner can clear this up when she testifies tomorrow.  Or not.  Let the hagiography commence!
Obama breaks the law & the law apologizes for being so vague - Draw and Strike has a great post about how the NY Times massaged the headline and opening of a story about the IRS scandal.  Suffice to say it's about what you'd expect.  Clearly the problem is that the law needs clarification so this won't happen again.

Monday, May 20, 2013

When we said nobody knew about the IRS scandal until recently, we meant everybody knew a month ago

My, my, it's getting hard to keep track of all these lies.  Politico: "The White House's shifting IRS account"
The White House on Monday once again added to the list of people who knew about the IRS investigation into its targeting of conservative groups — saying White House chief of staff Denis McDonough had been informed about a month ago.
Press secretary Jay Carney said again that no one had told President Barack Obama ahead of the first news reports: not his top aide McDonough, nor his chief counsel Kathy Ruemmler, nor anyone from the Treasury Department.
Monday’s revelation amounts to the fifth iteration of the Obama administration’s account of events, after initially saying that the White House had first learned of the controversy from the press.
So, to believe that Obama didn't know about this brewing embarrassment to his Administration, you have to believe that neither the White House counsel, nor the Treasury Secretary, nor the White House Chief of Staff - either collectively or individually - decided to tell the President.

That is a bridge too far, sir.

As Allahpundit quips on Hot Air: "So, when’s McDonough getting fired?"

Extra - From Twitchy, it sounds like the WH Press Corps wasn't buying it either.
When pandering meets reality - Legal Insurrection notes that the liberal-leaning Brookings Institute called Elizabeth Warren's student loan proposal "embarrassingly bad" and a "cheap political gimmick."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A talking point and nothing else - Hot Air: "About those 'doctored' Benghazi emails."  I know this administration expects/depends on the media to parrot their silly lines but, after the AP spying, I think those days are over.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Age of Aquarius

Althouse: "It's all about the Republicans' political ambitions. That's the spin. That's what they have."
Minuteman: "Their gist - the White House won't be distracted by these distractions and neither will the Times."
Tweet of the Day: "When your job is to carry water for the administration, everything looks like a bucket."

Crafting the YouTube video lie

Here's Michael Barone with "Benghazi and IRS targeting: Politics by other means"
What actually happened in Benghazi was out of sync with the Obama campaign line. Osama bin Laden was dead. Al-Qaida was on the run. The global war on terror -- well, don't call it that anymore.
A deliberate effort to mislead the voters was launched. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, White House press secretary Jay Carney and the president himself talked about a spontaneous protest of an anti-Muslim video -- even though no evidence of that came from Benghazi.
The White House and the State Department altered the CIA's talking points -- not just in one minor particular, as Carney claimed, but through 12 separate versions. The Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, armed with the talking points, spoke sternly about a spontaneous protest and an anti-Muslim video on five Sunday interview shows.
Remember when this preposterous lie came to light?  Suddenly it was all "let's wait for the investigation" and "the situation is fluid."  But that Sunday, the spin couldn't wait.

And what was the Commander-in-Chief's involvement?  Andrew McCarthy suggests it was the sole purpose of "That 10 p.m. phone call":
We do not have a recording of this call, and neither Clinton nor the White House has described it beyond noting that it happened. But we do know that, just a few minutes after Obama called Clinton, the Washington press began reporting that the State Department had issued a statement by Clinton regarding the Benghazi attack. 
President Checkbox said "keep me apprised of the situation" and got his rest for Vegas.

Extra - Charles Krauthammer: "Redacted truth, subjunctive outrage."

More - Stephen Hayes on the email dump: "Despite the centrality of the YouTube video to the administration’s public discussion of Benghazi, it goes virtually unmentioned in the nearly 100 pages of emails between the nation’s top intelligence and Obama administration officials as they reshaped the talking points provided by the CIA."

Also - Daily Caller: "White House's Benghazi email dump shows critical two-day gap; CIA objection."  There's a reason we're not allowed to see the first 67 hours of emails and it's surely not a good one.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thank you for that question so I can get ahead of the damning IG report - Legal Insurrection: "IRS planted question at ABA meeting."  We're being governed by the very best.
MP3 volume level 20 = My wife is watching either Joan Rivers or Gordon Ramsey on TV.
Can't a low-level blogger get some love and/or linkage?

Look, I know I'm a bodega in the world of WalMart blogs.  But I wrote this Wednesday and then today I see this post on the super-heavy Ace of Spades:
Kimberly Strassel: Obama Set the Tone, the IRS Executed It
"Who will rid me of this troublesome Tea Party?"
GMTA or downright plagiarism?  C'mon, throw me a bone here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Who will rid me of this meddlesome Tea Party?"

Here's Peter Wehner with "Obama is the ultimate ad hominem President"
The president can hardly go a day without impugning the motivations of his opponents. They never have honest differences with the president. Instead they are suffering from an illness (“fever”), cowardice (afraid of what Rush Limbaugh might say about them), and lack of patriotism (caring about elections rather than future generations). Mr. Obama is the ultimate ad hominem president.
This reflex to impugn those who would disagree with the One reached its disgusting apex during the gun control debate when Obama suggested that Republicans didn't want to give him "a win."  Because it there couldn't be any other reason for their opposition, the bastards.

So on the endless campaign trail that is the Obama Administration, is it any wonder that a handful of like-minded acolytes would take the hint and seek to punish conservative groups?  After all, those small-government types have hearts as black as coal.  Obama said as much.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Adjust your expectations - If you're an avid MSNBC viewer, this report may surprise you.  If you're a Fox News viewer, not so much.  Hit & Run: "The Treasury's Inspector General Just Released a Damning Report About the IRS Targeting Tea Party Groups."  Yawn.
Legend in their minds - Reason Online: "The myth of the scientific liberal."
Media becomes the story and must cover itself

Oh, that's a deft double-entendre.  This past weekend, I wondered if the trajectory of media coverage on Benghazi meant that even the most die-hard bastions of Obama-cheerleading would have to do some actual reporting or risk losing all credibility.  Now even the ombudsman for the NY Times has said "enough".  TimesWatch: "NY Times public editor: Soft IRS, Benghazi coverage, lends credence to conservative criticism":
Many on the right – as noted last week in my blog posts about Benghazi – do not think they can get a fair shake from The Times. This coverage won’t do anything to dispel that belief.
No....kidding, Sherlock.  I've pretty much stopped reading anything linked to the Times because their editorial page is indistinguishable from White House press releases.  Now that Associated Press reporters have been wire-tapped by the Justice Department, will they stop doodling "I heart Obama" in their notebooks?  Stay tuned to the Internet.

Extra - From Commentary and Q&O.
Hillary can't believe her best buddy "Chris" is gone

Mark Steyn unloads with "The Benghazi lie":
As Mr. Hicks testified, his superiors in Washington knew early that night that a well-executed terrorist attack with the possible participation of al-Qaeda elements was under way. Instead of responding, the most powerful figures in the government decided that an unseen YouTube video better served their political needs. And, in the most revealing glimpse of the administration’s depravity, the president and secretary of state peddled the lie even in their mawkish eulogies to their buddy “Chris” and three other dead Americans. They lied to the victims’ coffins and then strolled over to lie to the bereaved, Hillary telling the Woods family that “we’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.” And she did. The government dispatched more firepower to arrest Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in Los Angeles than it did to protect its mission in Benghazi. It was such a great act of misdirection Hillary should have worn spangled tights and sawn Stevens’s casket in half.
There's an image for you.  But then what difference does it make at this point?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Detroit's economy hoping that Dr. Cox buys some more Red Wings jerseys

Hot Air: "Detroit emergency manager: We're flat broke and can't borrow anymore."  Judging by this story, there's going to be some real pain and some very unhappy public workers.
Positively Nixonian - Coming on the heels of the IRS "enemies list" we have this new development: "Justice department secretly obtained AP phone records."

Not to worry: Obama knows whose fault it is that Americans are getting cynical about government.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Betcha by YouTube, wow

In honor of the White House's "stylistic edits" of the Benghazi memo, here are the Stylistics:

The media stirs

I can't tell if the moribund American media is finally doing their job on Benghazi or if they're being dragged, kicking and screaming.  I do find this progression interesting:

Weekly Standard
National Journal
CBS News
ABC News
The New Yorker

No wonder the White House had to gather up their loyal subjects for a "deep background" review.  When it was a Fox News and Weekly Standard story, it could be marginalized by this White House; when you've lost the New Yorker can CNN and MSNBC be far behind?  OK, well, not MSNBC.

Update - They're resorting to extreme measures now: "Smoke forces evacuation of White House press room."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Banker bashing - Megan McArdle explains the silliness of Elizabeth Warren's proposal to hold student loan rates at the same level of banks.  In short, banks get very low loan rates because these loans are held for a very short time and the banks have significant collateral.  College students are taking loans out over a decade or more and the collateral is a promise to repay and nothing more.

But then, despite what most of the hardcore commenters over on TPM or Daily Kos believe, this turd of a bill isn't going anywhere.  Harry Reid won't even embarrass himself by bringing it up for a vote.

Extra - From Legal Insurrection.

More - Coyote Blog: "I  find it  a simply astounding sign of the bizarre times we live in that a leading anti-bank progressive is working on legislative strategies to get 18-year-olds further into debt."
Nice health care system you got a shame if anything happened to it - AoSHQ: "HHS Secretary Sebilus Is Extorting Money From Health Care Industry To Promote ObamaCare."
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you - In a development that is surprising for how un-surprising it is, the IRS has apologized for targeting Tea Party and conservative groups.

Hit & Run wonders if the NY Times will similarly apologize for applauding IRS harassment.  Rhetorically, of course.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Fauxahontas knows the solution for student loan debt: more cowbell

Student loan debt has hit a record high and now outpaces both credit card debt and car loans, driven in part due to the spread of for-profit schools which disproportionately account for a large share of loan defaults.  How to address this issue?  Elizabeth Warren says let's make student loans nearly free:
Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Warren said that as her first bill, she was introducing legislation that would set the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans at the same rate banks borrow from the Federal Reserve.
Calling the increasing amount of student debt a "quiet but growing crisis," Warren said her bill would bring some much-needed fairness to students, while highlighting the low rates banks enjoy from the federal government.
It's the old "fairness" and "damn banks/oil companies" one-two punch that is a Warren specialty.  If only there were a recent historical analogue where extremely low interest rates caused a cycle of borrowing, rapid devaluation and default.

Extra - Prof. Jacobson: "But the principal still needs to be paid back, so unless student loan forgiveness is the next step (probably), enabling students to borrow more money cheaply in order to subsidize tuition increases makes the bubble worse."
We don't need no stinkin' badges - Hit & Run: "Justice Department Sees No Need For a Warrant To Snoop Your Email."

Monday, May 06, 2013

Friday, May 03, 2013

At least they're consistent

To recap, four years ago the Obama administration said that if we spent nearly a trillion dollars in "stimulus" the unemployment rate would be at 5% by now.  Then last month, Obama said that the sequester would be a "huge blow" to the economy.

Maybe if Obama starts to do the opposite he can both fix the economy and get a job as assistant to the traveling secretary of the New York Yankees.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

No brown M&Ms - The Chive has a list of some of the backstage demands by various musicians.  Britney Spears, for example, wants a framed photo of Princess Di.  I read somewhere that Van Halen buried the "no brown M&Ms" clause in their contract as a way to determine if promoters actually read it.  If they saw brown M&Ms, it was a sign that there was a good chance that their very-heavy stage equipment could fall through the floor.
Saving for retirement: freedom & return vs. statism & poverty

Writing in Slate, Matt Yglesias says "401ks suck."  The Instapundit responds:
Instead [Yglesias] calls for “a much more forceful, much more statist approach to forced savings, whether that’s quasi-savings in the form of higher taxes and more Social Security benefits or something like a Singapore-style system where ‘private’ savings are pooled into a state-run investment fund.”
The problem is, those approaches suck, too. Social Security is going broke. If you want to see a pooled state-run investment fund, look at CalPers. It’s going broke amid horribly politicized mismanagement. And state-run pension funds are subject to all sorts of politicized investment decisions that have nothing to do with the interests of the pensioners.
There are two issues here.  One is the eternal impulse of the good-intentioned Left to take a little bit of your freedom because, gosh darn it, you're just not smart enough to handle your own money.  Yglesias doesn't propose that we launch a massive education initiative to show Americans that they need to save much more for retirement - more than they think.  Instead, the sheep need to accept higher taxes so that the government can supplement their meager savings.

The corollary to that is money not going to the government is going to investment firms and that is simply intolerable.  So Yglesias conjures up Uncle Moneybags taking a fat cut.  To this assertion, he has something of a point.  But ultimately the name of the game is your rate of return on your investment.

Let's say you are a young worker and your 401(k) earns a modest 5% after fees.  You earn $50K/year and invest the same percentage in your plan taken out in Social Security (6.2%).  Not counting any company match, after 20 years you would have a little over $100,000.  Since Social Security now has a negative rate of return - we'll round that off to zero for this exercise - the same $3100/year "invested" would yield $62,000 after 20 years.  That's a 40K difference and you still have 25 years to work and compound - or not.

Social Security was never supposed to be more than one leg of the "three-legged stool" for retirement.  If you spend all your retirement cash trying to win an XBox and all you have is a Rastafarian banana, the government isn't compelled to bail you out.  You should have known better.

Extra - Reason's Hit & Run: "Neoliberalism 3.0: More forceful, much more statist approach to forced savings."

Footnote - I failed to mention that the Social Security Trust Fund runs dry in 2033 and then, by current law, benefits will be cut by about 25%.  This makes a bad investment worser.  You heard me.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The saga of Leo and Moshimo

Oh, man, I chuckled at this: Mom explains "The Matrix"