Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bernie says: "Put down that Old Spice"

Jeff Jacoby: "Bernie Sanders’ ‘deodorant’ comment ignores realities of economic growth."
“You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country,” Sanders lamented. He didn’t explain exactly how the profusion of toiletries and athletic footwear leads to childhood hunger, but for the only self-described socialist in Congress, it is no doubt a matter of faith that the abundance of capitalism must generate poverty and undernourishment.
That's why we need the Bernie Sanders Save the Children Fund:

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mr. Paul goes to Washington

National Journal: "Rand Paul Vows to Force Expiration of Patriot Act - "Tomorrow, I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program.”

I don't know how I feel about this Patriot Act provision since it's always easier to make a decision with 14 years since 9/11 in the rear-view mirror.  Do we need enhanced powers for the NSA?  Maybe not but heaven help us if there's another attack.  That said: I like this Rand Paul character.  He's not gonna play ball.  He doesn't like the drones and the spying and that's all there is to it.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Life in prison for Silk Road's Scarface

CNN: "Silk Road's Ross Ulbricht sentenced to life."  Damn, that seems harsh for a 31-year-old who was charged with drug trafficking and money laundering run running the online drug marketplace as the Dread Pirate Roberts.  It seems the judge wanted to make an example of Ross Ulbricht as a warning to other would-be Pirates.

As it turns out, I read Part I of the outstanding Wired magazine article "The Rise and Fall of Silk Road" and Part II arrived in the mail this very day.  In the first half ("The Rise") I had sympathy for Ulbricht and his libertarian leanings...until he arranged for the death of an employee picked up by the FBI.  (He's OK: the FBI arranged for his "torture" and "death.")  And next "The Fall."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Well-credentialed waitresses

Zero Hedge: "This is what happens when a Millennial tries to get a job."   College degrees aren't as valuable as they once were and manufacturing jobs are drying up.

This sounds bad

Fox News: "Feds indict ex-House Speaker Hastert for allegedly hiding payments to apparent blackmailer."  According to the article, Hastert agreed to pay a truckload of money to cover up something that appears to go all the way back to his days as a high-school teacher.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ah, yes, it was totally a mistake now

I was on time
No, you were late
Federal exchange
No, that's not a state
Ah, yes, I remember it well

The New York Times - the paper of record - re-writes history today with their risible "Four words that imperil health care law were all a mistake, writers now say".  In a nutshell, everybody drafting Obamacare totally, totally meant that subsidies were supposed to be extended to the federal exchanges, no matter what the text of the law says.  In an article that mentions Jonathan Gruber not once, you can get a feel for the desperate spin.

There's two problems with this argument, conveniently disregarded by house hack Robert Pear.  The first is that when the Obama Administration argued King v. Burwell at the Supreme Court, there was no mention of "drafting mistakes":
This may be how congressional staffers and legislators characterize the drafting process now, but that’s not what the federal government and its supporting amici told the Supreme Court. The solicitor general, for instance, proclaimed in its brief that the phrase “established by the State” was a “statutory term of art.” At oral argument, the SG also denied that there were any last-minute revisions (as I discussed here). Throughout, the federal government has insisted that the statute actually authorizes the contested IRS rule.

Why hasn’t the SG embraced the “drafting error” argument? Because that would be a sure way to lose.
Because drafting errors must be corrected by Congress with new legislation.  So we can't call it an error (as we do now) so it must be another state of ambiguity.

The second problem is that after the law passed in 2010, the IRS crafted their rules based on the letter of the law, meaning that subsidies were only available on state-run exchanges.  But when only a handful of states set up their own exchanges, the IRS suddenly discovered they were wrong all along!
In 2012, HHS and the Internal Revenue Service arrogated to themselves the power to rewrite the law and published a regulation simply decreeing that subsidies would be available through the federal exchanges too. The IRS devoted only a single paragraph to its deviation from the statute, even though the "established by a State" language appears nine times in the law's text. The rule claims that an exchange established on behalf of a state is a "federally established state-established exchange," as if HHS is the 51st state.

Careful spadework into ObamaCare's legislative history by Case Western Reserve law professor Jonathan Adler and Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute has demonstrated that this jackalope rule-making was contrary to Congress's intent. For example, the bill appropriated a mere $304 million for HHS to run exchanges. The actual cost turned out to be $3.3 billion as state after state dropped out.
So, basically, the health care law is whatever the Administration wants it to be for whatever argument they're making today.  That's why it's a law.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Please tell me this video is available

Herald Review: "Woman hits self with bowling ball as cover for robbery."
When a manager arrived at the bowling alley, he granted Weddle permission to view the surveillance video.
"I observed Jamie walk into the office. Jamie walks over to the counter in the office and picks up a red bowling ball with her left hand and a cash drawer with her right hand," the affidavit said. "Jamie proceeds to strike herself twice in the back, left side of her head with the bowling ball."
Gordon then "dropped to the floor," where she remained for 13 minutes, waiting for another employee to discover her.
She had to strike herself because she didn't have any money to play the slot machines.

Old and busted: Grexit. New: Brexit.

Zero Hedge: "Bank Of England Accidentally E-mails Top-Secret Brexit Plan To Newspaper." "The first rule of “Project Bookend” is that you don’t talk about “Project Bookend.”"

Space to destroy

Hot Air: "Violent crime “unexpectedly” surges in Baltimore."

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Washington Post: "Clinton Foundation reveals up to $26 million in additional payments."
The Clinton Foundation reported Thursday that it has received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups.
The disclosure came as the foundation faced questions over whether it fully complied with a 2008 ethics agreement to reveal its donors and whether any of its funding sources present conflicts of interest for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins her presidential campaign.
You know, for an operation that shelled out $50 million in travel expenses since 2003, you'd think they could hire a few accountants to keep track of all the illegal contributions.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ruins about to be ruined

NY Times: "ISIS Fighters Seize Control of Syrian City of Palmyra, and Ancient Ruins."  "Control of Palmyra gives the Islamic State command of roads leading from its strongholds in eastern Syria to Damascus and the other major cities of the populated west, as well as new links to western Iraq, the other half of its self-declared caliphate."

Arrests in "Oceans Eleven" heist

Remember those guys who rappelled down an elevator shaft to steal from a bank vault?  BBC: "Hatton Garden raid: Nine men arrested."

Unclear on the concept

Hot Air: "Disgrace: 51% of Democrats, 37% of Republicans support making “hate speech” a crime."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

You're not going to believe this but Hillary lied about her emails

Hot Air highlights a story from the New York Times about how Clinton flunky Sydney Blumenthal used his position in the Clinton Foundation to influence policy in Libya.  Remember Libya?  "NYT: Banned from State Dep’t, Clinton Foundation crony advised Hillary on Libya anyway — while pursuing business there; Update: Another e-mail lie."

If you read the story, it seems that the Blumenthal emails were obtained by a hacker.  But wait!  Weren't we told by Hillary that relevant policy emails were printed out while irrelevant emails about yoga workouts were wiped clean?  Are the Blumenthal emails part of the Hillary email dump?  Don't bet on it, because Hillary set up a separate email address for Blumenthal:
Nice catch by the GOP, noting that some of Hillary’s exchanges with Blumenthal come from the e-mail address “” Two months ago, Hillary’s office issued a statement claiming that she only used one e-mail address during her time at State, the “hdr22″ address. Her lawyer, in response to a specific question about the “hrod17″ e-mail address, claimed flat out that that address didn’t exist until after she’d stepped down as secretary. Today’s e-mail revelation proves him wrong. Did Hillary lie to her staff and her attorney about that or did they lie for her? How many other “nonexistent” addresses did she use to try to keep her communications away from State Department and GOP investigations?
Every day is like pulling another layer from the onion.

Extra - Vodkapundit: "Hillary Clinton belongs in jail."

More - From Gateway Pundit.

And this - Commentary: "While Democrats may continue to dismiss all questions about the propriety of this sordid tale, even many liberal partisans must be beginning to wonder about what sort of person it is that they are trying to put back into the White House."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Can't post

Watching "Mad Men."

I hope Don makes it back to his family and redemption.  We'll see.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday morning flashback

Biased George

Victor Davis Hanson: "George Stephanopoulos’s Clinton Foundation Hypocrisy Is Staggering."  "The problem with George Stephanopoulos’s Clinton-gate mess is that his own words prove him to be both a bully and a hypocrite, as well as abjectly unethical."

I think this is an opportunity for the Right to finally acknowledge its adversarial relationship with the mainstream media.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Death for Tsarnaev

I have to say that I was surprised.  I thought for sure there would be one person on the Boston jury who would hold out for life imprisonment.  By all accounts, Tsarnaev was cold as a fish during the trial.

Shopping out stories

WashPost: "Dear ABC News PR: Tell us you didn’t shaft the Washington Free Beacon."

Captain Awesome strikes again!

I was reading this article by Michelle Malkin about the disintegrating Obamacare exchanges and was blown away by this paragraph:
At a recent White House science fair celebrating inventors, a Girl Scout who helped design a Lego-powered page-turning device asked President Obama what he had ever thought up or prototyped. Stumbling for an answer, he replied: “I came up with things like, you know, health care.”
"Suck on THAT, little Susie!  Your plastic bricks are crap next to health care!"

Seriously, what's wrong with this guy?  Was it so hard to give Susie her moment in the sun?  Is his ego so fragile that he couldn't let it go without trying to one-up an eight-year-old?  Apparently not:
With the sand running out on the Obama presidency, it’s finally dawning on the president’s friends and fans that he can be a real jerk.
Oh yeah!?!  Know who's a real jerk?  Susie and her page-turning Legos.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Germanwings in Philadelphia

This does not sound good at all: "NTSB: Amtrak train sped up before crash."
Right before its fatal derailment on Tuesday night, Amtrak Train 188 accelerated significantly as it approached the Frankford Junction curve, the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday.
In barely a minute, its speed jumped from 70 m.p.h. to 102 m.p.h. three seconds before the crash, said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt at a news briefing. The speed limit in that area is 50 m.p.h.
This story implausibly says it's "unclear" whether the engineer accelerated manually.  I happen to know a little bit about a train throttle from family experience and it's not unclear at all.  It's not like passing out in your car and mashing the accelerator with your right foot.  All the controls in a train engine are designed to cut off power if the engineer is somehow incapacitated.  The throttle needs to be applied.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pass the popcorn

In case you missed it today, the Senate failed to move forward with Obama's trade agenda due entirely to opposition from his own party.  A couple of hours before the vote, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank wrote of Obama: "Why he's in danger of losing."

Here's why: Obama doesn't deign to explain his position and convince even members of own party to his point of view.  There is no principled opposition: only sheer stupidity and base politics practiced by everybody else.
Instead of coming clean, Obama prefers to inform fellow Democrats that he’s the smartest guy in the room. “Some folks are just opposed to trade deals out of principle, a reflexive principle,” Obama told an audience at Nike headquarters in Oregon on Friday. “If you’re opposed to these smart, progressive trade deals, then that means you must be satisfied with the status quo,” he added, also suggesting critics are stuck in the 1993 NAFTA fight, when “I was just getting out of law school.”

Then, with Bai, he mocked those who would “deal with climate change by shutting down global trade,” and he derided Warren as “a politician like everybody else” and one who is “absolutely wrong.” Warren’s arguments “don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny,” he said.
Oh Dana, it's precious that you think this is a new thing.  The only reason this is newsworthy is because Obama is aiming his standard vitriol at Democrats.  And how!
Mr. Obama’s tirades on trade have included accusations that these liberal Democrats are ignorant about trade policy, insincere when offering their opinions, motivated by politics and not the national interest, and backward looking towards the past. Obama’s repeated attacks against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in which he charged that Warren’s concern about the trade bill is motivated not by a reasoned view of what is right for America but by her personal political motivations, is one of the most dishonest and repellant examples of character assassination and contempt by any American president, against any leading member of his own party, in my lifetime.
As I've said before, if you want to understand Obama's modus operandi, look at everything through the prism of his own vanity.  By dismissing opposing viewpoints, he confirms his own wonderful resolve and principled leadership against all those jerks who are probably getting paid by the Koch Brothers.  And Fox News.

Speaking of which: when you can't debate worth a damn, break out the straw men:
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more stunningly brazen example of Obama’s preferred debating tactic than this. The president just loves erecting slanderous straw men in order to reject a “false choice” that precisely no one is suggesting in favor of a more reasonable course. This is a prime example of his compulsive need to engage in that manner of juvenile self-flattery.
Yup.  If you want to understand why virtually all the Gulf State leaders are snubbing Captain Fantastic's Camp David jamboree, here's why:
There are two reasons for the boycott.

The first is that the “key Arab allies” already know that Obama, who genuinely believes he is always right, does not listen to anybody.
Everybody knows, dude.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Crisis du jour

So my son's Dell laptop won't boot up: screen is blank and it just beeps eight times, beeps eight times, beeps eight times....

I managed to get an external display long enough to download critical files, return to a restore point, run diagnostics, run malware software, etc.  Then I shut down normally and tried to restart and nothing.  Great.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Something's got to give

I've written many times before that the trajectory of the federal government is towards a income-transfer station where taxes are taken in and sent back out for entitlements and debt service, leaving little aside for what we call "the government."  Look to Illinois for the future: the state's Supreme Court has ruled that a pension reform law is unconstitutional so pay up.
The ruling means Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly will have to come up with a new solution after justices appeared to offer little in the way of wiggle room beyond paying what's owed, which likely would require a tax increase. Coming up with a way to bridge a budget gap of more than $6 billion already was going to be difficult with little more than three weeks before a scheduled May 31 adjournment, and now the pension mess has been added to the mix.
So Illinois needs money which means either steep cuts to state spending or raising taxes and exacerbating what is already one of the worst business environments in the country.  Citizens are getting the message and doing the Super Bowl shuffle to other states.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Slouching towards Detroit

Chicago Tribune: "Moody's blues: A closer look at Chicago's dire fiscal future."  Basically, Moody doesn't believe for a moment that Chicago will take necessary steps towards solvency:
What's new, and useful, is the credit rating agency's mathematical vision of a Chicago that can't or won't curb its pension debacle, slash its spending, or substantially raise its taxes. In other words, if Chicago doesn't take one or more of those off-ramps, it will glide down Interstate 94 toward Detroit.
You know whose fault this is?  William Hale Thompson, that's who!

Cue the Amish suicide bombers "Double standard on offending Christians and Muslims."

Now let's all watch Jesus and his shenanigans on "Family Guy."

Extra - Via Instapundit: "This is all about class."  That's right: the media elite don't want to be remotely associated with the low-class, blunt-speaking Pam Gellar so better to condemn her techniques than to defend her rights.

More - This, too.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The NY Times endorses the assassin's veto

When the NY Times has a choice between constitutional principles and strident moralizing, you can always be sure where they'll fall.  Here's their editorial on the attack in Texas: "Free Speech vs. Hate Speech."
There is no question that images ridiculing religion, however offensive they may be to believers, qualify as protected free speech in the United States and most Western democracies. There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers.

I'll stop right there.  The "but" is that, sure it's "free" speech, but well we just can't go about provoking members of a certain religion.
What makes this editorial extra special is that the Times has been famously hypocritical about reprinting blasphemous images over the last few decades. They had no problem with “Piss Christ” or Chris Ofili’s elephant-dung portrait of the Virgin Mary, both of which “inflicted deliberate anguish” on million of devout Christians, but they wouldn’t touch the Danish Mohammed cartoons 10 years ago and they wouldn’t touch the Charlie Hebdo Mohammed cartoons this winter even though both were at the center of major international news events.
As usual, the media and the Left (but I repeat myself) wants to be the arbiter of what is "free" speech, explicitly ignoring the language of the First Amendment.  The NY Times doesn't like Pam Geller and if ISIS kills her, it won't defend her rights but will say, in effect, she asked for it.  Then when Sharia law (hypothetically) shuts down the free press, the Times will ask: what happened?

Super deflation

Oh no!  Fox News: "NFL finds Patriots employees probably deflated balls."

Here's a distraught Tom Brady wiping the shameful tears from his eyes:

Then he went to bed in his mansion, sleeping next to his supermodel wife.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Bad timing in Baltimore

NPR had a story this morning about a young guy in Baltimore who was complaining that nobody was listening to the NPR person had him act as a tour guide.  And wouldn't you know it, Charm City is great!
"Look at this atmosphere! People out dancing," he says. "Every day, this is the atmosphere. It's not an atmosphere of aggression. It's not an atmosphere of violence!"
Cool!  Let's check out your house, bro!
We head to the last landmark Addison wants to show me: a row house where he pays $400 a month to sleep on a mattress in the unfinished basement. When we get to the street, it's cordoned off with yellow crime tape.

Neighbors tell him two men were shot on the street about an hour ago, one in the stomach, one in the head.

Three Pinocchios

WashPost: "Pelosi’s perplexing claim that House bill would ‘cut’ VA medical care funds."

Clogging the ERs

Emergency room visits are expensive for hospitals and one of the selling points of Obamacare was this: if people are healthier, there will be fewer ER visits.  Win-win.

Except that's not what happened.  USA Today: "Contrary to goals, ER visits rise under Obamacare."

Who saw this coming?  Oh yeah, I did back in 2009.

Saturday, May 02, 2015


Gateway Pundit: "New York City Police Officer Ambushed, Shot in Head."  Details are sketchy at this point.

Update - Suspect in custody.

From that Expedia commercial

This is a trippy little song.  "Waves" by Electric Guest - lyrics version.

Six officers arrested in Baltimore

WashPost: "A look at the six Baltimore police officers charged in the Gray case."
The officers — three white, three African American — represent a broad spectrum of experience on Baltimore’s police force. Three of them joined the force three years ago. The driver, who faces the most serious charges, is African American and has been on the force since 1999.
And one woman,whose crime appears to be insufficiently assessing Gray's medical condition.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Critics say

You know how the media will never report Clinton's factually-demonstrable transgressions as neutral facts, but must always controversialize the points by introducing them with "Critics say..."
Winston Churchill once allegedly said about Clement Attlee that he's "A modest man, who has much to be modest about."  Well, people criticize Hillary because she has much to be critical about.  When the press frames their reporting in the guise of partisan attacks, it's designed to diminish the factual fact that she has skirted the rules at best and committed a crime at worst (and probable).