Wednesday, January 28, 2015

So long and thanks for all the soap

But no "good luck."  Zero Hedge: "The New Greek Government Arrives In Its Residence: Finds No Power, No Wifi Password And No Toilet Soap."

Thank heaven it's deficit-neutral, right?

Hot Air: "CBO: 10 million will lose employer-based coverage under ObamaCare by 2021."  "Plus, the promises of deficit neutrality turn out to be just as valid as if you like your plan/doctor, etc etc etc. ObamaCare will run a $76 billion deficit in this budget year, and that will jump to $109 billion next year — and increase every year through FY2025. Over the next decade, the ACA will produce a deficit of $1.35 trillion dollars."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Terrible idea is scrapped

NY Times: "Obama to Drop Proposal to End ‘529’ College Savings Plans."

Tom Petty's lawyers won't back down

Hit and Run: "Sam Smith Agrees to Pay Tom Petty Royalties for Similarities to 'I Won’t Back Down,' Says He's Never Heard of It."

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

WashPost: "Drone incident at White House highlights long-studied, still-unsolved security gap."

Maybe I'm missing something but wouldn't it just be a matter of blocking or scrambling the radio frequencies on which these remote-control toys operate?  Everything that operates in the radio frequency (e.g. cell phones, TV signals, walkie-talkies, CB radio) is allocated a frequency range for operation.
Also, federal law prohibits the use of any device that could be used to jam or interfere with the GPS signals that drones rely on for navigation.
Well, there you go.  The sky's the limit over at Three Mile Island, boys.

These are the salad days

The CBO is reporting slow growth and trillion-dollar deficits are America's long-term future.  It's OK, because the Chinese will keep lending us money forever.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Epic blizzard

Here it comes.  For the first time ever in my career, they've preemptively shut down the factory in anticipation of this huge nor'easter.  At least we can chuckle at the NY Times lamenting "The end of snow!" a year ago.

Off the curve

This is pretty interesting: Chris Christie has a lot of name recognition but just can't get the love.

Personally, I like the guy, but New Jersey still has high taxes and intractable pension problems.  Where's the problem solving?  For someone who is a self-styled fighter, I'm not sure I see the victories.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Syriza hits the fan

Fox News: "Greece's anti-bailout Syriza party wins election."

Well, they promised freedom from austerity and now they're going to get it, good and hard:
Alex Tsipras, the young, charismatic leader of Syriza, is an avowed leftist (his son, Ernesto, is reportedly named for Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevera) and the party’s most likely candidate for prime minister. Tsipras has made it clear that any new government under Syriza—an acronym from the Greek words meaning “coalition of the radical left”—will “renegotiate” the loans extended to Greece by the EU, the IMF and the ECB since 2010 in order to preserve the euro. Those loans—now totaling some 175% of Greece’s GDP—were conditioned on austerity measures that Tsipras has declared intolerable.

While the Greek economy is growing moderately, and Greece is likely able to continue its debt service under existing austerity measures, a Syriza-dominated populist government would likely bring about an economic crisis worse than the one Greece and the Eurozone saw in 2010.
As this Atlantic article notes, the options for the Eurozone "troika" are to write down Greece's debt - and give other PIIGS a blueprint for forgiveness - or kick Greece out of the Eurozone.  It's gonna be interesting.

Extra - Or can Tsipras pull of the "Lula pivot"?

More - Daily Mail: "EU braces for catastrophe."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

No wonder he's Happy

South of the (Canadian) border

Doug Ross: "Try and contain your surprise: In Vermont, Drivers Licenses are a Magnet for Fraud by Illegal Aliens."

Go Patriots!

I just had a thought: when the Patriots take the field for the Super Bowl, they should play "Big Balls" by AC/DC.

The government is searching your couch cushions for spare change

Megan McArdle notes that Obama's plan to tax 529 savings is indicative of the endgame in seeking out new sources of revenue.  From "Uncle Sam is coming after your savings."
As I observed when I first wrote about the plan, the very fact that we are discussing taxation of educational savings -- redistributing educational subsidies downward -- indicates that the administration has started scraping the bottom of the barrel when seeking out money to fund new programs. Why target a tax benefit that goes to a lot of your supporters (and donors), that tickles one of the sweetest spots in American politics (subsidizing higher education), and that will hit a lot of people who make less than the $250,000 a year that has become the administration's de facto definition of "rich"?

Presumably, because you're running out of other places to get the money.
I make less - a lot less - than $250,000/year but I put 200,000 miles on my Subaru so I could do the responsible thing and put aside some money for my kids' college expenses.  It's utterly bizarre that the government would want to tax these 529 accounts but the government monster must be fed.  Get ready for the value-added tax, the last resort for significant tax revenues, and one that will punish all Americans equally.

OR we could shrink the size of this bloated, oversized government!  Amirite?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ricky Jay!

Oh man, I love this guy, arguably the best magician in the world right now.  From Vanity Fair:
Ricky Jay might just be the greatest living sleight-of-hand artist, but he’s never marketed himself to the level of becoming a household name, like David Blaine or David Copperfield. He doesn’t splatter himself on reality shows, reveal the secrets behind his greatest illusions for late-night cable, or pander with fans on Twitter or Instagram—which makes him the perfect subject for a documentary on the PBS American Masters series, which airs this week, Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice.
I'm tuned in right now.  I wanted to see him so bad when he was on Broadway but just never got the chance.  This might be the next-best thing.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The magical power of threatening violence

Mark Steyn on a professor who says "The first amendment ends at insulting Mohammad."
His argument is the classic Heckler's Veto. Because a not insignificant proportion of young Muslim men are bananas, they killed a bunch of people in Niger over the last Charlie Hebdo cover. Whether they even saw the magazine is unclear, but at any rate we should rein in free speech just in case the crazies are minded to kill any more people.

If you're in DeWayne Wickham's class at Morgan State and you'd like to get an A, why not threaten to kill him?
Sounds like a plan.

Saudi king dies

This is kind of a big deal.  NY Times: "King Abdullah, Who Nudged Saudi Arabia Forward, Dies at 90."

Surrounded by bad faith operators

There's an old saying in poker that if you're sitting at a table and can't figure out who the fish is, it's you.  When it comes to Obama's adversaries, there's no such thing as a principled stand.  Everyone around him is a bad player.  Here's the scene: in a closed door meeting of Democrats, New Jersey senator Robert Menendez said that sanctions for Iran should be on the table.  Obama told Menendez he was just saying that because of...certain lobbyists:
Obama said that as a former senator himself, he understood how outside forces -- like special interests and donors -- can influence senators to act, one of the senators recounted.
That's when Menendez stood up to challenge the President, telling Obama he took "personal offense" to his assertions, the New York Times reported, arguing that he has worked to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions for many years and was not motivated by political considerations.
Obama played the same schtick in the SOTU.  When it comes to Iran, there's Obama's way and there's total WAR:
Anyway, I now get to the State of the Union address. Obama said that he would veto any new sanctions bill that “threatens to undo” his “progress.” Then he said, “The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.”
So, you see? Support for sanctions — in the event of failed talks — equals support for war. Sanctions-supporter equals war-supporter.
Why do you want to go to WAR, Senator Menendez?

Obama is back on the campaign trail, stirring up credulous college students, and whining that he's ready to work with Republicans if, gosh darn it, they just abandon everything they ran on in the last election.

Because that's the kind of stand-up guy Obama is.  You're welcome, America.

Welcome, Bibi

National Journal: "Boehner, White House Clash Over Netanyahu Invite."

The White House didn't want that chickens*** Netanyahu telling us anything abut Iran.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oh, yeah, we're out of money

The Corner: "Overlooked in Obama's SOTU: we're broke."  "I did love his shout out to future generations and how much “we” value them. Well, Mr. President, if you value our kids so much, now is the time to engage in fundamental reforms of Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, and Medicaid. If you don’t, you’ll be sending a strong signal that the only reason you value future generations is that they’ll be the ones paying for our unpaid bills."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I can't watch the SOTU

I'll read the transcript later.  In the meantime, here's the Minuteman discussing how Obama wants to punish Americans who are trying to save for college via 529 accounts.  Like me.  Because responsible parents must suppress their instincts for individual initiative and get on the government program.

Monday, January 19, 2015

"Black lives matter" protesters pay no mind

Via Gateway Pundit, we have confirmation that the protesters who shut down a major Boston artery last week are about what you'd expect: "White #BlackLivesMatter Boston Protesters Found Living with Parents in Luxury Mansions."  Needless to say, they are untethered to the responsibilities of a job, which makes this story from yesterday's Boston Globe all the more infuriating: health care workers at a chemotherapy clinic lost wages when they didn't clock in on time:
Some of her friends, most of them, like her, women of color, weren’t as lucky. They got stuck in the mess and were hours late for work. They are paid by the hour and the hours that they don’t work are hours they aren’t paid.
“She was worried about the patients who were late,” Linskey said. “She was worried about her friends who were late and would lose pay. And she wondered what she would have done if she had lost a couple of hours of pay because people claiming to speak for her had done what they had done.”
Congratulations, hippies.  You are exactly the kind of people we thought you were.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Patriots win as expected

Gonna be a good Super Bowl.  Oh, man, I forgot about "Downton Abbey!"

Seattle beats the Packers

That may have been the craziest game ever.  What a comeback.

Three stupid things the Packers did to lose this game:
1) Taunting penalty on the 5-yard line that pushed the ball back to the 20, leading to a field goal instead of an easy-six.
2) Giving up a cross-field blooper pass for the two-point conversion by Seattle.
3) The onside kick.

Well, let's see who's going to play the Pats.  Go Patriots!

Cats and dogs living together

Or: "I may have to re-think how I feel about Bill Maher."  Legal Insurrection: "Bill Maher rips liberal fear of free speech."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Yeah, right, everybody's super-stoked on Krugman

Townhall: "Paul Krugman rejected by his peers."  "Paul Krugman has become an embarrassment to the economics profession. Despite his Nobel Prize and despite his previous high regard in the profession, his twice-a-week editorials in The New York Times are causing even progressive economists to treat him as somewhat of a kook."  And here's Jeffrey Sachs on Krugman's austerity flip-flop.

Saturday diversion

Oh, man, I laughed at this.  America!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Western Massachusetts update

Not from the Onion: "Mount Holyoke College group cancels 'Vagina Monologues' production citing lack of transgender role."  "The fact that Eve Ensler's celebrated play about women, "Vagina Monologues," does not have a transgender character has prompted the theater group at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley to cancel its annual production."  This is Meta.

Best comment: "Did any of the Mt. Holyoke theater productions feature a character who was a disabled transgendered Eskimo?

Their lack of diversity makes me SICK."

This is a joke, right?

Daily Caller: "Apology Tour: John Kerry Brings James Taylor To Paris To Play “You’ve Got A Friend”."
Kerry awkwardly stood by as Taylor played his song for the crowd, who applauded loudly when he was done.
To be fair, everything Kerry does is done awkwardly.  No word on whether friendship bracelets were lovingly wrapped around French wrists.

Extra - Twitchy: "No way this really happened."

More - Hit and Run: "That's Secretary of State John Kerry and his pal James Taylor in Paris, singing America's condolences for the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Terror experts are unsure how the French will retaliate."

Update - France has responded with the Grass Roots:

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Social Security trustee Charles Blahous discusses the dynamics of Social Security's trust fund and the disability program.  "The recently-enacted House rule conforms to the guidance repeatedly given by the program’s trustees on a bipartisan basis over several years.  Those who suggest that DI’s impending reserve depletion warrants no action beyond taking revenues away from the Social Security retirement fund appear to be unfamiliar with the basis for the current allocation as enacted in 1994."  Yeah, there's a lot of that going around.

Forget it's Massachusetts

Protesters prevented hundreds of people from getting to work, sucked up public resources and - topping on the cake - "'Black Lives Matter' protesters prevented ambulance from reaching Boston hospital."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The religion of environmentalism

George Will: "The Keystone catechism".  "Obama revealed his economic sophistication years ago when he said that ATMs and airport ticket kiosks cost jobs. He does not understand that, outside of government, which is all that he knows or respects, all jobs are “temporary.”"

By a 2-1 margin, Americans want the Keystone pipeline constructed.  Are we going to get 42,000 "temporary" jobs or will Tom Steyer's money carry the day?

You may ask but we won't answer

In a remarkable example of self-censorship, a group of activists went on a Reddit AMA and said: "We're working on overturning Citizens United - ask us anything!"

The top questions were voted to the top of the page and...they all ran away.  Hilarious comments ensued.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cough it up, kids

It's not just the national debt burying future generations.  PJ Media: "Why the Coming Pension Bomb Will Destroy Your City and State - Screwing future generations to take care of non-workers today."

Don't worry: you'll almost certainly get 75% of your promised Social Security benefits.  Maybe.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sally Kohn's stupid article is stupid

Over at CNN, some dummy says we shouldn't purposely antagonize Muslims because "free speech comes with responsibilities."  What it all boils down to is another liberal who wants to decide the limits of First Amendment rights.  Who decides what is disrespectful and what will get you killed for blasphemy?  Kohn makes desultory points that dance around this fundamental point before falling back on a wan call for respect.  Because let's be nice.

If Kohn believes her insipid blather, then let's pull "The Book of Mormon" from Broadway.  I remember when Kanye West appeared as Jesus on the cover of Rolling Stone, somebody remarked that if he really wanted to make himself a controversial figure, he would have appeared as Mohammad.  The difference, it needn't be said, is that Christians aren't going to murder Kanye and firebomb the offices of Rolling Stone.

I'm insulted by Kohn's article and, so insulted, I demand its immediate retraction.

Extra - Taylor Marsh: "Unity rally celebrating liberty and those who would police speech."

More - And this from Iowahawk:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Fear of a backlash

National Review: "Islamophobia is a myth."  "Islamophobia is a code word for mainstream European elites’ fear of their own populations, of their native hordes, whom they imagine to be unenlightened, prejudiced, easily led by the tabloid media, and given to outbursts of spite and violence."  Those poor, dumb people.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Schadenfreude overload: Western Massachusetts update

If you enjoyed the wailing of Harvard elites complaining about Obamacare, you're going to love this development from the other side of the Bay State.  The most left-wing city here in Western Massachusetts is Northampton, which Wikipedia calls "the most politically liberal medium-size city (population 25,000–99,000) in the United States."

Without a doubt, the flagship store of Northampton is Faces, a quirky arts and clothing store.  It's right in the center of town and it's always packed with people picking up their "Faux News" magnets and Bob Marley posters.  But now, after 40 years, Faces is closing and everybody's upset.

What killed Faces?
Vogel said in a prepared statement he did not make the decision to close lightly, and cited the pressures of running an independent store, including the increasing costs of health insurance, personnel, taxes and business insurance, and utilities.
Health insurance costs rising?  Check.
Higher personnel costs?  Check.
High business taxes?  Check.
Higher utilities costs?  Check.

To paraphrase Obama, if the left-wing created a business model it would look like Faces.  Buh-bye.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The future of commentary

Freedom of speech

Here's Victor Davis Hanson back in 2012: "Please, no more apologies for free speech"
Apparently leaders of the Islamic world present a non-negotiable demand to the West that they be given a blank check for their governments to defame Jews, Christians, and Americans, but the United States must condemn any private individual who, quite apart from the knowledge of the U.S. government, does the same to Muslims. That is the issue, and anything less than an unapologetic defense of free speech is not only a betrayal of our Constitution, but a very dangerous concession that will only incite more violence in the near future. Unfortunately, Western hedging, appeasement, and apologies to theocrats and authoritarians have never won gratitude, but instead such magnanimity is seen as either weakness to be exploited or proof all along that the apologizer admits culpability and will do so again in the future — a fact well known to history’s thugs, big and small, whether Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Osama bin Laden, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
It's just coming over the wire just now that two of the three gunmen are in custody and the third is dead.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The NY Times drops the mask again

Remember this story in the NY Observer about a year ago about simmering resentment from the Times staffers towards the editorial page?
Said one staffer, “Andy’s got 14 or 15 people plus a whole bevy of assistants working on these three unsigned editorials every day. They’re completely reflexively liberal, utterly predictable, usually poorly written and totally ineffectual. I mean, just try and remember the last time that anybody was talking about one of those editorials.
Fast forward to the new Republican Congress and we have this gem in an otherwise balanced editorial:
For months, congressional Republicans have been drawing up plans on how they would run Congress if they won the Senate in November. In anticipation of more jockeying and complicated procedural fights on the floor, members of both parties have built up their staffs, bringing back some experienced veterans.
"Procedural fights?"  In other words, the filibuster, that crude cudgel of obstruction when it's in the hands of the Republicans and a principled tool of opposition when in the hands of the Democrats.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.  Golly, I wonder if they'll endorse Hillary in 2016.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Harvard is crimson

With anger over Obamacare.  This is the most delicious story to come out of the Grey Lady in ages: "Harvard Ideas On Health Care Hit Home, Hard."
For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.
It only gets better from there.  Professors at Harvard earn just shy of 200 large and now they're whinging about having to pay a $250 deductible.  Also: did you like going to Harvard Medical School hospitals?  Not so fast!
To create a network of high-value providers, Harvard would probably need to exclude some of its own teaching hospitals, or discourage their use.
Great stuff.  Take it away, William F. Buckley:
I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

This is news?

NY Post: "How Sharpton gets paid to not cry ‘racism’ at corporations."  The tax-dodger was pulling this scam back when he was only a regional race huckster.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Back on the campaign trail

LA Times: "Obama to hit the road again, selling economic progress."  First stop: Detroit!

Honestly, this guy is way beyond parody now.  It's all campaigning, fundraising and golf now with the occasional vacation thrown in for good measure.  By federal law, Obama is legally required to submit a budget plan by the first Monday in February, something he has done only once.  I'm guessing the over/under will be sometime around April.

Confirmation bias

Isn't it easy to confess how great we are?  WSJ: "A Magician’s Best Trick: Revealing a Basic Human Bias."

Friday, January 02, 2015

State the state

Hit and Run: "Why the Supreme Court Should Ignore Insurance Subsidy Disruption in the Obamacare Subsidies Case."  Because words mean stuff.

Come back, you racist pigs!

DC Trawler: "OUT: ‘Go Away, Cops!’ IN: ‘Where Did You Go, Cops?’"

Rest in peace, Mario Cuomo

WSJ: "Mario Cuomo: Direct, unapologetic liberal."

I grew up in northern New Jersey when Cuomo was governor of New York and, although I disagreed with him, there was no doubt he was an intelligent advocate.  One night I heard him on a radio show and a caller asked why he didn't "bow to the will of the people" and allow the death penalty in New York.  Cuomo gave a lucid and reasoned answer about how the populace votes for leaders to use their judgement and they are not merely a rubber-stamp.

That's why I think it's an inapt comparison to call Cuomo "The Elizabeth Warren of the 1980s."  Cuomo was a smart man whlie Warren is a dimwit who regurgitates populist buzzwords while making zero progress to actually fix anything.

Extra - A different view from Maggie's Farm.

The only thing certain is uncertainty

Interesting read from Business Insider: "122 Things Everyone Should Know About Investing And The Economy."
The S&P 500 gained 27% in 1998. But just five stocks -- Dell, Lucent, Microsoft, Pfizer, and Wal-Mart -- accounted for more than half the gain. There can be huge concentration even in a diverse portfolio.
Ah, yes, Lucent.  That was a great investment tax write-off.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Silent Cal in Boston

National Review: "Where de Blasio is right - How Calvin Coolidge handled a 1919 police strike in Boston holds lessons for New York today."