Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Totally unrelated, these things are

FiveThirtyEight: "The scoreboard so far in July: Fox News has 95 mentions of impeachment, and MSNBC 448."

Daily Caller: "MSNBC Suffers Lowest Monthly Ratings In Nearly A Decade."

Hmmmmm.....maybe it was the modem

So Verizon sent me a new modem after I told them it was their network.  As I unplugged my Netgear, the red light of death was glowing hard.  Plugged in a new D-Link ASDL router far so good.

We'll see, Verizon, we'll see.

Update - Nope.  Same connection problems, same drop-offs with new modem.  As I suspected.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

L'√Čtat, c'est moi

Politico: "The Flip-Flopping Architect of Obamacare": "Last week, the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Obama administration has been implementing Obamacare illegally. Days later, a video featuring the law’s chief architect confirmed the court’s ruling and raised questions about whether administration officials knew they were breaking the law all along."

Here's the President explaining why he's allowed to break the law:

Extra - Hot Air: "Halbig: Documents show either that Congress wanted federal exchange consumers to get subsidies or, er, the opposite."  Whoops!

DSL update

So I contacted a nice girl, probably from Mumbai, who tried to help me with my connection problems with Verizon DSL.  Here's the TL;DR version:
Me: "It's not the modem" [here is where I cite various reasons why I came to that conclusion]
Them: "We'll send you a new modem."
Hey, whatever.  I'm connected to the Internet now because my faulty modem magically started working.

Monday, July 28, 2014

So it's not my modem

My Verizon DSL worked for all of one day and now I'm just getting the red light of non-connectivity. Tomorrow I'm calling for a cable modem.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

We're in the very best of hands

Forbes: "CBO: Budget Deficits to Saddle Next Generation with WWII-Era Burden."  Mostly due to mandatory spending in the federal budget which is exploding, while employment participation is bumping near a record low.

Meanwhile, as Hot Air reports, the new White House Budget Director doesn't seem to understand how the Social Security Trust Fund works.  Good enough for government work, I guess.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Intent theory

Here's Shikha Dalmia in USA Today with "Obamacare court defense crumbles."
In other words, Congress did mean to use the subsidies to overcome state resistance and pressure them to set up their own exchanges. That is precisely what the plaintiffs in Halbig asserted. Of course, Obamacare's supporters didn't anticipate that the backlash against the law would be so intense that 34 states would actually decline the subsidies, almost as an act of civil disobedience.
On Friday morning, an embarrassed Gruber insisted to The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn, "I honestly don't remember why I said that… I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake."
IIRC from the Halbig arguments, the defendants were unable to produce a single contemporaneous piece of evidence from the original drafting of Obamacare that, sure, subsidies would be available on the Federal exchange.  To the contrary, as Jonathan Gruber explained at the time, they were meant to be a cudgel to force states into setting up their own exchanges.  Now the Administration wants to pretend differently.

Extra - From Althouse.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blogging by phone

Day 2 with no DSL. Verizon will be here tomorrow, and I quote, "before 8 pm".

Update - Hooray for Verizon!  Back up at 9:30am.  Something fried my modem and a factory reset restored it.  I had hooked up an old router and it didn't connect to the internet either, either wirelessly or via ethernet, so I assumed it was a DSL problem.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Americans for Darth!

Daily Caller: "Darth Vader is more popular than Obama, Congress and every single 2016 presidential hopeful as of Wednesday."

And why not?  The former Air Force pilot is man of faith and knows how to manage big projects (until the rebels blow it up.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Krauthammer on ambiguity

So there's a conflict between the literal meaning and the context of the law.  This is a job for either the legislature (to resolve) or the judiciary (to interpret) - not the executive branch.

Chief Justice Roberts to the rescue

Here's Tom Goldstein of the well-regarded SCOTUSBlog: "Why Obamacare probably isn't doomed."

Obamacare kneecapped

Obama 2008: "Don't tell me words don't matter!"

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals: "Yeah, words do matter."

Today the court ruled that Obamacare subsidies paid through the Federal Obamacare exchange were illegal because the wording of the law unambiguously states that subsidies are only available through state-run exchanges.  Hot Air picks it up:
Plain and simple, if Congress wants to rewrite the law to extend subsidies to federal enrollees, they’re welcome to do it. That’s what legislatures are for. But the law, as written, says what it says, and that’s not the court’s problem.
You're going to hear that phrase a lot today: "the law says what it says."

Extra - Hit and Run: "It's a major blow to the way the administration has chosen to implement the health law, and a victory for plain language legal interpretation as well."  Words matter.

More - From Legal Insurrection.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Krugman is full of it, part redux

I tend to tune out the NY Times' liberal polemicist since even his own ombudsman described him as somebody with "disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults."

As Patterico ably demonstrates, the slicing blades were at full power in Krugman's latest take on the nation's long-term debt.  By using the stimulus-heavy year of 2009 as the baseline for spending and deficits, Krugman now claims that "all is well" since we're now running slightly lower deficits.  Also, he compares the total debt-to-GDP to post World War II levels as if this is contextual to modern times.  Finally, Krugman ignores that revenues-to-GDP almost never rise above 20%, no matter what taxation rate is applied, so debt will rise inexorably when spending is above that level.

Of course, it's well known that everybody who disagrees with Krugman is an idiot, including the green eyeshades over at the CBO who said this only a couple days ago:
If current laws remained generally unchanged in the future, federal debt held by the public would decline slightly relative to GDP over the next few years, CBO projects. After that, however, growing budget deficits would push debt back to and above its current high level. Twenty-five years from now, in 2039, federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of GDP, CBO projects. Moreover, debt would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy, a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely.
Once again, as Patterico notes, liberals like Krugman wailed like banshees at the insignificant budget cuts of the sequester.  There is zero chance they'll accept the $230+ billion in cuts or tax hikes required to close this gaping hole.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Slumdog Millionaire it was not

I took the family to Northampton tonight, the hippie capital of Western Massachusetts, and there was some First World begging going on in front of Faces.  Two zaftig girls were sitting on the sidewalk, reading paperbacks and smoking.  Near their iced coffees was a sign reading "Please help - any amount accepted."

It breaks my cold, cold heart to see people settle for an iced latte instead of a caffe machiatto.

I should have snapped a cellphone picture.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Red Sea

I missed this WashPost editorial the other day: "No Washington hasn't solved the country's debt problem."

The first step to curing a spending addiction is to admit you have one.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Can't possibly be true

Warning: rant ensuing.  So I set up a tuition payment plan through Sallie Mae but, after I was done, the FAQ indicated it would not accept payment from a College 529 Account - the VERY THING designed to pay for college expenses!  What?!?  I don't know what's going on here...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Magazines I'm ashamed to admit I once subscribed to

5.) NASCAR Illustrated
4.) Dynamite
3.) Family Computing
2.) Newsweek
1.) Rolling Stone

I'm just kidding about #4.  Dynamite was great!

We're going broke

The Hill: "CBO says US deficit levels are unsustainable."
Washington’s failure to contain entitlement spending is biting into the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook, the Congressional Budget Office warned in a Tuesday report that found the nation’s debt would jump to 106 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2039.
The CBO said the rising costs of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security as the U.S. population continues to age are the drivers of U.S. debt.
The new year of bankruptcy for Social Security is 2030, if you're keeping score.  Sucks for you if you were born in the late 1960s or beyond....hey, wait!

Extra - From Q&O.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's a trap

It's been quite a while since I did an entitlement-related post and today Robert Samuelson provides some content in "The real Medicaid problem."  Half the states in America have resisted the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.  Given the parallel to Social Security and Medicare, that's probably wise:
One is the assumption that the 90 percent reimbursement rate remains permanently. Why should it? To curb budget deficits, Congress might cut it. “The ACA says what it says. Future Congresses can repeal or modify it,” says Matt Salo of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. Could the favorable reimbursement be bait-and-switch? States’ actual costs could be higher than assumed. Why make a bad problem worse?
Even if this doesn’t happen, demographic trends — also ignored by the White House report — are devastating for states. Medicaid’s cost structure is peculiar. Children and adults under 65 represent three-quarters of beneficiaries but only one-third of costs. The quarter who are aged and disabled represent two-thirds of costs. They are especially sickly and poor. More than 60 percent of nursing home residents have Medicaid.
Over the past quarter-century, the percent of states' budgets going to Medicaid has risen from 9% to 19%.  When these expenses put pressure on state budgets, either taxes will need to go up or other spending will be curtailed.  Hello Detroit:
What this means is that, as the population ages, states’ Medicaid spending will rise inexorably. The competition between nursing homes and home health care — on the one hand — and classroom teachers, higher education, police and other governmental services — on the other — will intensify. Medicaid becomes a vise squeezing other public services or requiring continuous tax increases. More spending goes toward meeting past obligations and not present and future needs. Underfunded state and local pensions compound the effect.
Opposition to the Medicaid expansion is always portrayed as a heartless choice by the states but I fail to see how setting a state on a glide path to slashed budgets and/or bankruptcy is particularly compassionate.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Back from camping

It was a beautiful weekend in Vermont.  It was heartwarming to read this story about how Governor Hickenlooper was bested in eight-ball.  Playing pool is fun!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Your obligatory World Cup blog post

I've been just crazy busy for this one-man blog between work and the considerable complexity of getting a kid prepped for college in a month.  So here's a funny story I heard on NPR today: the people of Brazil have an unthinkable choice.  Who do they root for in the World Cup final?

On the one hand is Argentina, Brazil's bitter rival in futbol but also its South American neighbor.

On the other hand is Germany, who delivered one of the most humiliating World Cup smackdowns to Brazil in the semi-finals.

It wasn't even close in an informal poll of Brazilians: a win for Argentina would be intolerable.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Thus always with entitlements

As I've written many times before, the political pressures of entitlement spending always lean towards reducing revenue-raising steps (taxes) and increasing benefits.  It is inevitable.  Weekly Standard: "An unfolding fiscal disaster - The calamitous finances of Obamacare."
No sooner was the ink dry on the ACA than the law’s various “pay-fors” began to be tossed overboard, one after the other.
Roughly $100 billion of financing in that first decade was also to come from penalties on individuals (for failing to carry health insurance) and employers (for failing to offer it). But the Obama administration has repeatedly postponed enforcement. Unsurprisingly, there is now a campaign to abandon the individual mandate penalty altogether, despite advocates having previously touted it as essential to the workings of the ACA. The administration has also been dropping cuts to Medicare Advantage required under the ACA, with the costs of these decisions still unknown.
It was always laughable to think that Obamacare would be deficit-neutral and the CBO, sensing the slight of hand in play, now says it's unable to make realistic cost projections.  This will end like every other entitlement, adding trillions to the national debt.

All the cool kids are doing it

Federalist: "The mean girls of global warming."  "It should go without saying that this is what you do when you are losing the debate on the merits. The efforts of the warmthers these days have a lot to do with peer pressure, conformity enforced by mockery, and manipulation of the media. But this doesn’t have a lot to do with science."

Monday, July 07, 2014

Just like in Massachusetts

Remember this post about how expensive emergency room visits rose by 17% after Romneycare?  Sure you do, loyal reader.

So try to act surprised.  Hot Air: "Long wait times in ERs due to ObamaCare."  It's shocking, I know, but it seems that Obamacare did the exact opposite of what was advertised.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

A salient point

The Corner: "Congress could have exempted Obamacare from RFRA."  Instead, the goal was to drag it over the finish line and then change the rules later.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

This hits could keep on comin'

Hey, let's end the week on an up note, right before Independence Day.  Hot Air: "By the way, the D.C. Circuit might nuke Obamacare tomorrow."  Take away quote: "If the legislation is just stupid, I don’t see that it’s up to the court to save it."

The never-ending crisis

Coyote Blog: "The real money in the climate debate."

No thanks

Know your rights.  Skip ahead to around 1:30:

Barely scraping by

WashPost: "At time of austerity, eight universities spent top dollar on Hillary Clinton speeches"
Officials at those five schools refused to say what they paid Clinton. But if she earned her standard fee of $200,000 or more, that would mean she took in at least $1.8 million in speaking income from universities over the past nine months.
Nice work if you can get it and I don't begrudge Hillary from trying to make what she can, when she can.  Hell, I'd never shut up at those rates.  What I'd like to know is where is Elizabeth Warren, who never gives her victimology a rest?  Why isn't she out there advocating for those students who are seeing their tuition skyrocket to support Hillary's speaking fees and lavish salaries for professors?

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Hobby Lobby in one tweet

Via the Federalist:
"Get your politics out of my bedroom!"
"Not a problem. I'm just going to grab my wallet before I leave."
"The wallet stays, bigot."