Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fading retirement

Today's Boston Globe has a profile/story about Alicia Munnell, the top economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: "Top economist says many face an old age of less money."
Munnell, who has run BC’s retirement research for 15 years, has studied pensions and Social Security since the 1960s. At that time, these benefits provided the foundation for retirement, contributing to a steady decline in the age people stopped working.
Demographic and economic changes weakened the old supports. Birth rates have declined, meaning there are fewer new workers to pay the costs of Social Security. Without changes, actuaries estimate that by 2033 the program won’t have enough money to cover promised benefits, requiring the government to cut payments to recipients or raise taxes.
The Social Security Trust Fund is really just an accounting trick and I suspect that in 2033 the Federal government will just keep borrowing from itself to pay full benefits.  We can always print more money.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Ray Rice smacks down his suspension

Fox News: "Ray Rice wins appeal 'suspension vacated'."

You know maybe Rice got a raw deal, maybe he got caught on tape doing something common for professional athletes, and was a handy scapegoat.  But the NFL has been running these insufferable commercials with football players telling us "NO MORE."

Yeah, you can stop showing those, NFL.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Serial podcast

I stumbled across the Serial podcast phenomenon after reading a Mental Floss post on not-so-crazy Serial theories.  I'm all caught up with the episodes and I have to say I'm underwhelmed.  Frankly, I think Occam's Razor indicates - as this Redditor has noted - that Adnan is guilty.

The podcast is focusing on minutiae about the case and searching for alternative explanations.  (Oh, there wasn't a payphone near the Best Buy?  Wow!)  Jay is believable and Adnan is not.  In Adnan, I've never seen a wrongly-accused prisoner so content with his incarceration.

Hold on, I gotta call Nisha.

PBGC going the way of CBGBs

That is: bankrupt.  Vodkapundit: "Return to bailout nation."

We gather together

Hot Air: "Ohio could host both political conventions in 2016."

I like Kevin Williamson's suggestion that the Democrats should pick a city to match their politics:
The Democrats, if they had any remaining intellectual honesty, would hold their convention in Detroit. Democratic leadership, Democratic unions and the Democratic policies that empower them, Democrat-dominated school bureaucracies, Democrat-style law enforcement, Democratic levels of taxation and spending, the politics of protest and grievance in the classical Democratic mode — all of these have made Detroit what it is today: an unwholesome slop-pail of woe and degradation that does not seem to belong in North America, a craptastical crater groaning with misery, a city-shaped void in what once was the industrial soul of the nation. If you want to see the end point of Barack Obama’s shining path, visit Detroit.
The GOP can take Texas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

When the Emperor goes off-teleprompter

Weekly Standard: "Obama Admits: 'I Just Took an Action to Change the Law'"
The White House has argued that President Obama's executive amnesty order last week was made well within the existing law. But in remarks in Chicago tonight, President Obama went off script and admitted that in fact he unilaterally made changes to the law.
His words: "I took an action to change the law."  Because that's what Presidents do: change laws.

They don't?!?  Oh man, I gotta re-read that Constitution.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A compelling legal argument

It's the child's argument of "just because."  The Corner: "Obama: ‘Absolutely Not’ Legitimate for Future Presidents to Apply My Logic on Executive Actions."

Extra - Kim Strassel: "The Next Prez and the Obama Way."  Anything goes, baby!

The leaks from Ferguson

At first I thought there would be no indictment but then I thought, well, if that were true, they would never announce it late at night when the darkness would make it more difficult for police to maintain control.

But the Gateway Pundit is splashing that Darren Wilson will not be indicted.  But I'm not sure if that's right: the tweet he refers to says that Wilson has not been notified to turn himself in.  What does that mean?  Probably nothing at all.

I suspect there will be some lesser charge like reckless endangerment but not the big M.

Update - No indictment from the grand jury.

More - Mediaite: "Announcing Grand Jury Decision at Night a Needlessly Reckless One."  Yeah, like I said.

Obama decides at least one Republican in Washington should lose his job

Those midterms were brutal so time to cut Chuck Hagel loose.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hail Caesar

Jonah Goldberg: "Obama to Congress: It’s My Way or My Way - Congress’ placating the president on immigration would establish a precedent for lawless executive action."  "This guy is supposed to be a lawyer. The question of his authority to do X is independent of what Congress does. The executive branch may not write laws. You could look it up."

Extra - Mark Steyn: "Elections matter?"  "But it turns out they don't. Not to him."

The hits just keep on comin'

Hit and Run: "If You Like Your Obamacare Health Plan, You Can Keep It, If HHS Doesn't Pick a New One For You."  "Basically, if you like your plan, but don't go out of your way to intentionally re-enroll, the kind and wise folks at HHS or state health exchanges might just pick a new plan—perhaps with different doctors, clinics, cost structures, and benefit options—for you. And if you want to switch back? Good luck once open enrollment is closed. There's always next year."

If it's Friday night, it's time for another "executive discretion" change to a law.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

All hail the Emperor

Charles C.W. Cooke: "Obama's imperial transformation is now complete - The president has become everything he ran against."
Noting in 2008 that he “taught constitutional law for ten years,” and in consequence took “the Constitution very seriously,” Obama determined that “the biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all.” “That,” the candidate assured his audience, is “what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”
Every Obama statement has an expiration date.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Setting sun

Coyote Blog: "Thoughts on the Japanese economy."  What has government intervention and deep deficit spending wrought?  "And the result of all this has been... 25 years of stagnation."

Extra - Zero Hedge: "Japanese Trade Deficit Streak Hits Record 44 Months, Yen & Stocks Decoupling."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Super executive powers activate!

The Washington Post editorial page warns Obama against opening up Pandora's box: "In Mr. Obama’s own words, acting alone is ‘not how our democracy functions’"
It is 2017. Newly elected President Ted Cruz (R) insists he has won a mandate to repeal Obamacare. The Senate, narrowly back in Democratic hands, disagrees. Mr. Cruz instructs the Internal Revenue Service not to collect a fine from anyone who opts out of the individual mandate to buy health insurance, thereby neutering a key element of the program. It is a matter of prosecutorial discretion, Mr. Cruz explains; tax cheats are defrauding the government of billions, and he wants the IRS to concentrate on them. Of course, he is willing to modify his order as soon as Congress agrees to fix what he considers a “broken” health system.
As the editorial notes, just a couple months ago Obama was telling a crowd (correctly) that he didn't have the power to just ignore the law.  Suddenly, he can.  His buddy Eugene Robinson gives him cover by writing that since Boehner won't call a vote, all that stuff you learned on "Schoolhouse Rock" goes out the window.

What changed?  Well I have a theory and it involves stringing along the Hispanic community for six years.  Obama promised immigration reform in his first year, back when he had filibuster-proof majorities in Congress:
Obama failed to deliver on a promise, and he blamed Republicans instead of acknowledging any real responsibility for that failure.
Imagine that.  I don't think Obama ever wanted to fix immigration, I think he wanted an issue.  He wanted a cudgel to use against the Republicans in 2012 and secure his re-election.  Then he dangled the issue out in front of reform proponents insisting in speech after speech that, since he didn't have authorization, the only way to fix immigration was to elect Democrats.

When the 2014 midterms didn't turn out the way he hoped, it was clear to Obama that he had squeezed out all the political usefulness from the issue.  Time to forget everything that guy said in the past.

Race huckster turns tax dodger

Hot Air: "Uh oh: New York Times creates big trouble for tax-dodging Obama ally Al Sharpton."

I grew up in New Jersey right around that time that asswipe Sharpton was stirring up the obvious lie of Tawana Brawley.  Apparently we need Lois Lerner to get a tax audit of this clown.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The inequality two-step

Hit and Run: "The Latest Liberal Nonsense About Economic Inequality."  "The weakness of Rattner’s data is a clue to what he and many of the other anti-inequality campaigners are up to: using the issue as a cudgel to advance the same old tax-and-spend policies that the left was in favor of long before inequality was rediscovered as a trendy cause."

How can we miss you if you won't go away?

Hot Air: "Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox would appreciate it if you stopped calling her that."  Wow, the self-styled martyrdom of this woman has no bottom.  She's the Sandra Fluke of infectious diseases.

Extra - Neo-Neocon: "Hickox really isn’t the ebola nurse; for one thing, she hasn’t demonstrated that much knowledge about the disease. But she just might be the most detested nurse in America right now."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stuff I just done heard about

Twitchy: "‘Well briefed’ Obama tells Ed Henry ‘I just heard about’ Gruber."

Yeah, I just heard about this stuff.

Obamacare now with sky-high deductibles

Powerline: "If you like your health insurance plan, you must pay more to keep your health insurance plan."  "The IRS defines a high-deductible plan as one with a deductible of $1,300 or more. Many Obamacare plans are better described as stratospheric-deductible plans. And many consumers will be forced to switch to such plans if they wish to keep their premiums roughly the same."

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Let's see what the NY Times decided to report in its Saturday edition

All the news fit to hide: "Cost of coverage under affordable care act to increase in 2015."
The Obama administration on Friday unveiled data showing that many Americans with health insurance bought under the Affordable Care Act could face substantial price increases next year — in some cases as much as 20 percent — unless they switch plans.
The data became available just hours before the health insurance marketplace was to open to buyers seeking insurance for 2015.
And just days after the midterm elections because stupid Americans.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What was I watching?


Last night I was watching "The Da Vinci Code" on AMC and it ran from 8pm to 11:30pm.  Three-and-a-half hours!  I need to read more.

He just wanted his detonators

Nancy Pelosi doesn't know any Gruber:
Pelosi's office told the Washington Post that the minority leader meant that she didn't know Gruber personally.
"She said she doesn’t 'know who he is,' not that she’s never heard of him," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said.
Ohhhhhh.  She never had dinner with him and she certainly had nothing to do with the Nakatomi heist.

Extra - From Gateway Pundit.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Where's your God now, Tom Steyer?

WashPost: "Senate Democrats are weighing plan to approve Keystone — and save Mary Landrieu."  Good luck with that:
Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu's re-election race is truly running out of air: She's responsible for a mere 4 percent of all TV spots in the week-old Louisiana runoff.  Republican challenger Bill Cassidy and his friends paid for 96 percent of the spots that have run so far. 
That might explain why Mary gave Chuck Schumer the cold shoulder.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Another "speak-o" for Gruber

The Corner: "Gruber Backpedals on Obamacare Comments: Spoke ‘Off the Cuff,’ ‘Inappropriately’"

Keith Hennessey: "Dr. Gruber’s honesty about lying."

Why it's almost as if the media completely ignored all the warnings by those Tea Party nutcases, the ones that turned out to be completely true.  Could they be biased?  Say it ain't so!

Extra - Commentary: "Obamacare lies and democracy."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Negative 2%

Daily Caller: "Millennials Struggling To Save Despite Economic Upturn."  Ah, yes, the "upturn."
Older Americans are saving at a rate of between 3 and 13 percent, but Americans under 35 are saving about -2 percent, reported The Wall Street Journal, leaving them exposed to unexpected economic downturns and events.
“They are truly a vulnerable group,” Annamaria Lusardi, an economist at George Washington University told the WSJ. “They don’t have assets to buffer themselves against shocks, and they also have to manage debt.”
But interest rates are low and they'll stay low forever.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Fauxcohontas wants to let you know you're being hammered

Native American Senator Elizabeth Warren has penned an opinion piece for the Washington Post and it's everything you'd expect from the populist do-nothing.  Here's a sampling of her greatest hits:

"families are getting squeezed hard"
"changes needed if families are going to get a shot"
"this government does not work for them"
"The American people want a fighting chance"
"looking for the chance to rig the game just a little more"
"working families just get hammered"

And so on.  All of Washington is rigged to hammer you working families looking for a fighting chance.  When will somebody stand up for these squeezed Americans looking for a fair shot?

14 Sponsored Bills (Ranks 86 of 100) 0 Made Into Law
284 Co-Sponsored Bills (Ranks 18 of 100) 6 Made Into Law
Oh dear.  Here's Politico's story on her one big idea to hammer the Richie Riches to pay for student loans:
The Senate on Wednesday voted not to move forward on a bill from Sen. Elizabeth Warren that would have allowed an estimated 25 million people with older student loans to refinance that debt at current, lower interest rates.
That would be Harry Reid's (until recently) Democrat-controlled Senate, and it's a tacit acknowledgement that Warren's legislation to help people is 100% politics and 0% actual help.

Don't let the facts get in the way of a good Koch brothers grilling

Powerline: "Liberals still not giving up on Keystone."

Those darn obstructionists

Hot Air: "Why the Loretta Lynch nomination is absolutely political."  Lather rinse repeat: "Nothing has changed since Tuesday. Nothing."

Friday, November 07, 2014

NAACP entirely invested in victimhood

Townhall noted that the "non-partisan" national organization committed to "advancement" couldn't bring itself to congratulate the first black Senator from the South since Reconstruction or the first-ever black female Republican.  Instead, the NAACP issued a statement about the 2014 election that warmed over the same unfounded allegations of voter suppression.  Better for fundraising that way.

So many good reaction tweets over at Twitchy, but these two are the best:

Heads I win, tails you lose

Here's Chris Cillizza in the WashPost: "Who had the worst week in Washington?  President Obama."
“There’s no doubt that the Republicans had a good night,” he conceded, before pivoting to note that the message voters were sending had nothing to do with him but, rather, was about wanting politicians to get things done.
Except that Obama had said repeatedly during the runup to the vote that his policies were very much part of the election. “Make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot,” he said at Northwestern University in early October. “Every single one of them.”
You don’t get to have it both ways — taking the credit if your side wins and shirking the blame if it loses. Obama said Wednesday that he wouldn’t “read the tea leaves” of the 2014 elections. Of course, he was more than willing to read those same leaves after his 2012 reelection.
You've met Obama right?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Meanwhile here in Massachusetts

I was pretty happy that Charlie Baker won the governor's race here in the Bay State.  Two ballot questions went the way I wanted: eliminating automatic gas tax increases and a "no" on a bottle tax.  But I really wanted Massachusetts voters to repeal the casino law that will place a temple of gambling in Springfield.

Alas, the rest of Massachusetts wanted some easy tax revenues.  The communities around Springfield were not so enthusiastic:
The anti-casino communities include:
A cluster of 17 contiguous towns in Hampshire and Franklin counties, stretching from New Salem in the east to Worthington in the west.
I suppose I should be a good libertarian and let people do what they want, but I just don't think the government should be in the business of casinos.  It creates all kind of perverse, entangling conflicts of interest where the state government will be actively supporting the fleecing of its citizens for a cut of the vig.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Finally, a Keystone vote

Zero Hedge: "Obama May Have To Shut Down Government To Halt The Keystone Pipeline."

Some stats

Legal Insurrection: "Election Day odds and ends."  New York elected the youngest-ever Congresswoman, so that was cool.


Hot Air: "As I’m writing this, tea partier Paul LePage has been reelected governor in bluish-purple Maine. The only race I can think of offhand where the GOP had a real shot and didn’t capitalize was Scott Brown’s loss in New Hampshire. Otherwise it’s a wipeout."

Did I say "eight is enough?"  At this writing, it looks like nine Senate seats will be the basement.

Here's a comment from earlier today:
Only two races need to be watched: Mia Love in Utah, and Scott Walker in Wisconsin. All others are pendulum.
If a black female Republican wins in Utah, and a Union-busting governor wins in a blue state like Wisconsin, it’s Katie bar the door for Democrat Doom.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Thanks, Joe!

Weekly Standard: "Biden Blows Greg Orman's Cover: He 'Will Be With Us'"  Or not.

I'm so happy on this race only because it rejects the Torricelli maneuver.

Eight is enough

I meant to post this earlier but Larry Sabato's analysis of +8 in the Senate for the Republicans is spot on.  The only close race here is Kansas but I think the built-in political structure of the GOP in Kansas will overcome an Independent bid.

Yes, I was wrong about Scott Brown in New Hampshire.  I shook his hand before the special election against Martha Coakley so I have a special place in my heart for the guy.

Extra - I should have known that Brown would lose in New Hampshire but - on the flip side - I should have guessed that Tillis would win in deep-red North Carolina.  And he did!  Nice.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Headline of the year

Business Insider: "Man Immediately Regrets Jumping Onto A Dead Whale Being Eaten By Great White Sharks."  Australia, mate.

The problem with democracy is those dumb voters

The Corner: "The New York Times’ ‘Cancel the Midterms’ Rant Is a Call for Monarchy."  "They don’t want government to be more accountable to the people, because they believe the people are the problem."

What happened to the New York Times?  They have absolutely no values that stay constant, regardless of political bias.  Watch their position on the Senate filibuster swing back again after the midterms.

Extra - Hot Air: "The most depressing thing about it is that it treats the midterms as an unwelcome obstacle to presidential power at a moment when presidential power has arguably never been greater (in peacetime, at least). That’s a Hopenchange view of democracy if ever there was one."

More - Commentary: "Democrats' pitiful premature sour grapes."

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Lena Dunham is messed up

I was trying to ignore this story of Dunham's childhood, um, "curiosities" aptly described by Kevin Williamson this way: "There is no non-horrific interpretation of this episode."  But if pre-pubescent exploration can be explained away as a youthful indiscretion, what explains Dunham's need to recount the event in her book?  Has she no shame, or is she really hard up for autobiographical material?

Then, to compound the problem, she takes to Twitter to express outrage that she would be quoted with her own words.  Yes, Lena, it is disgusting but not for the reasons you think.

Disclaimer: I have never seen "Girls."  That might be a "claimer" now that I think of it.

Because foreign policy is going so great

Hot Air: "An Iran nuclear deal will be the ObamaCare of our second term."  "By which he means it’ll be terrible in practice, enacted though dubious procedures, and defended by liberals unto eternity because protecting Obama’s legacy requires them to keep his biggest turds polished to a glossy sheen."