Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The fourth estate

Via Instapundit: "Trump is now being asked about the gorilla and media has reached its singularity."

When you've lost Politifact...

The Clinton campaign has maintained a website called "The Briefing" with "Facts about Hillary Clinton's emails."  It includes a link to a sympathetic Politifact analysis...from March.

Just about an hour ago, Politifact updated with this: "Fact-checking Hillary Clinton's claim that her email practices were 'allowed'."

Verdict: FALSE.  Better update that briefing.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Great racing day!

First, rookie Alexander Rossi won the Indianapolis 500 and the poor kid had to compose himself and clean up his tears of joy before climbing out of his car in Victory Lane.

Then in the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600, Martin Truex, Jr (who has had a series of bad luck incidents this season) completely dominated the race tonight for his first win this season.  Like Rossi, he was liberally using a towel to "wipe away sweat" when it was obvious he was hiding some tears.

By the way, I was 90% sure that the NASCAR race was going to be ruined by rain, but not a drop fell to ruin Truex's parade.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

On liars and Hillary...but I repeat myself

There's a great line in the otherwise lackluster movie "Shattered Glass" that always gives me a chuckle.  The serial fabrications of New Republic writer Stephen Glass are discovered and one fact-checker characterizes his story:
[after completely debunking Stephen Glass's New Republic article]
Adam Penenberg: But there is one thing in this story that checks out.
Kambiz Foroohar: What's that?
Adam Penenberg: There does appear to be a state in the union named Nevada.
That's how I think about Hillary's initial press conference at the United Nations to address the email issue.  Here's Jonah Goldberg:
Over a year ago, Clinton held a press conference at the United Nations intended to put the whole controversy to rest. Nearly every significant statement she made was a lie.
What's the clincher?  Hillary refused to cooperate with the State Department IG investigation:
Then again, if Clinton did nothing wrong, she also would have talked to the inspector general, as every other relevant secretary of state did. And she would have happily told her team to cooperate with the IG to clear the air. They all refused. I wonder why.

Just kidding. Of course I don’t wonder why. From the earliest days of this scandal — and it is a scandal — Clinton has lied.
Maybe it's just me (cheerfully biased!) and my buddies at the Politics sub-reddit, but I really don't see how Hillary escapes an indictment recommendation from the FBI.  There are just so many aspects to this controversy that scream violation of either the Federal Records Act or the laws governing classified information.  In fact, I'm placing 50-50 odds that she'll refuse to testify for the FBI and fall into the perjury trap.  You'd better believe her lawyers and PR people are sitting in a room, trying to figure out how to spin it.  Maybe James Comey voted for Reagan once.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Joe Biden, please report to the on-deck circle

Here's Hillary lying back in October:
CNN’s JAKE TAPPER: “And you said it was allowed, too.”
HILLARY CLINTON: “Yes, it was.”
TAPPER: “Who allowed it?”
CLINTON: “It was allowed under the rules of the state department. And, again…”
TAPPER: “So nobody signed off on it?”
CLINTON: “No, it was allowed."
Good ole "passive voice" permission.  Of course, the State Department Inspector General released a report today indicating that: no, using a private email server was not allowed.  Reddit has a megathread on this topic but I think this guy has the best post summing up the accumulation of lies Hillary has lied about:

1) Hillary never sought permission to use a private email server
2) The private server violated standing State Department rules
3) After pledging to be "as helpful as possible", Hillary and key aides refused to talk with investigators
4) Staff was told to STFU about Hillary's server
5) Very early into its existence, the server was subject to several hacking attempts

Let's see: we have the IG report, Guccifer is taking a plea deal, and Brian Pagliano is already spilling the beans to the FBI.

Bernie, you magnificent bastard!

Extra - Free Beacon: "Clinton Failed to Report Multiple Attempts to Hack Personal Email"
“Notification is required when a user suspects compromise of, among other things, a personally owned device containing personally identifiable information,” investigators wrote in the report, which was released on Wednesday. “However, OIG found no evidence that the Secretary or her staff reported these incidents to computer security personnel or anyone else within the Department.”
Of course not.  Too many secret yoga routines.

More - Politico: "The 9 biggest revelations in the State IG report on Clinton's emails."

Even more - Commentary: "Why Hillary's rule-breaking matters."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Because socialism

How badly can you screw up a country that is awash in oil and is a founding member of OPEC?  So badly that you have to resort to that old rallying cry of "The Americans are coming!"  Hot Air: "Venezuelan President Maduro says country is ready for American invasion."

P. J. O'Rourke wrote a great book called "Eat the Rich" that reviews economic disparities between countries.  In the chapter "How to make everything out of nothing," he notes that rocky, isolated Hong Kong with very few natural resources is one of the richest places on Earth.  On the flip side, "How to make nothing out of everything," he contrasts Tanzania which has plenty of farmland and natural resources, but is mired in poverty.

Venezuela is in this latter category.  The country is blessed with oil, natural gas, bauxite, gold and iron ore to complement a huge amount of arable land in a temperate climate.  What went wrong?  Money printing, price controls, and all the other accouterments of socialism:
It is incredible that in this day and age, a government could be so blind, stupid, and cruel toward its own people.  It’s one thing to teach this sort of nonsense at expensive universities, but another to put it in practice and ruin people’s lives.
Eventually, even an oil-soaked country like Venezuela runs out of other people's money.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hillary to Bernie: get bent

Fox News: "Clinton declines Fox News invitation to proposed Dem debate."
The campaigns earlier this year agreed in principle to hold a May debate.

It's happening!

The Hill: "Clinton hacker ‘Guccifer’ expected to plead guilty."
However, it is unclear which charges the 42-year-old will plead guilty to, or whether the move is part of a deal to cooperate with federal officials on other cases. 
Oh, sure, he's pleading guilty due to his mens rea.  He feels terrible!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What media bias?

Instapundit reports that the WashPost "begrudgingly" reported their own poll showed Trump ahead of Hillary.  This for a guy with the highest negatives among any candidate in Presidential history.  I tend to think that these negatives have nowhere to go but down, so what does that mean for the general election?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Yawn: another hate crime hoax

Chicago Tribune: "Lessons gleaned from a web of lies in Iowa."  Somebody started a drunk fight and tried to cover up his resulting ass-kicking in the worst way possible.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Today I learned: debt edition

Today I learned that the German word "schuld" means both "debt" and "guilt."

Thank heaven we live in a guilt-free America.  Instapundit: "Here we go again? Credit-Card Debt Nears $1 Trillion as Banks Push Plastic."

Egypt Air 804 found

Fox News: "Debris from EgyptAir plane crash found in Mediterranean, Egyptian military says."

Since reports of an explosion in midair are not reliable and the pilots did not answer a security check while the plane was flying, a struggle in the cockpit now seems to be a developing theory.

Flashback - The Atlantic magazine with this November 2001 story: "The Crash of EgyptAir 990."

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

No love for DWS

Politico: "Sanders camp slams Debbie Wasserman Schultz for 'throwing shade'."  Specifically, they've accused Debbie Downer of putting her thumb on the scale for Hillary.  IIRC, Debbie was against allowing Bernie Sanders to have a prime-time speech during the Democratic Convention.

Monday, May 16, 2016

I think we all knew this

Or did we?  Because sometimes I think the mainstream media gets tired of reporting: "There go those Clintons again!"  Ace: "Wall Street Analyst: Clinton Charities' Finances Are So Convoluted and Dodgy It Rises to the Level of Fraud."

Just a reminder here: Bill's typical haul for a speech skyrocketed after Hillary became Secretary of State.
After his wife became Secretary of State, former President Bill Clinton began to collect speaking fees that often doubled or tripled what he had been charging earlier in his post White House years, bringing in millions of dollars from groups that included several with interests pending before the State Department, an ABC News review of financial disclosure records shows.
Pure coincidence, I'm sure.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tireless cheerleader for Obamacare now reports

New York Times: "Sorry, We Don’t Take Obamacare - The growing pains of the health care act are frustrating patients."
Amy Moses and her circle of self-employed small-business owners were supporters of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. They bought policies on the newly created New York State exchange. But when they called doctors and hospitals in Manhattan to schedule appointments, they were dismayed to be turned away again and again with a common refrain: “We don’t take Obamacare,” the umbrella epithet for the hundreds of plans offered through the president’s signature health legislation.
Supporters of Obamacare are always extolling about how the law has cut the number of uninsured.  The problem is that the insurance is useless if you can't find a doctor:
But when she tried to visit her longtime doctor using the new plan, she found she could not.
I seem to remember certain people noting that when reimbursement rates drop to be in line with Medicare, a lot of doctors are not going to accept such low payments:
Some of the problems may have been predictable.
If only there were some kind of unbiased organization designed to study and report these issues.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016

Meanwhile in Florida

Hot Air: "Florida insurers seeking double-digit rate hikes under Obamacare."

Every year the insurance companies ask for significant rate hikes and every year the Obama Administration says: "Oh, you don't need that much".  Then UnitedHealthcare pulled out, showing they weren't bluffing.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Surrounded by sycophants

Former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: "Yeah, Barry was never serious about stopping Iran from getting nukes."

Because: historical history-making.  So suck-up Ben Rhodes was in charge of foreign policy and suck-up Valerie Jarrett is in charge of domestic policy.  We're in the best of hands.

Related - Observer: "As Boyish Ben Rhodes Drops Truth Bombs, Obama’s Media Mask Crumbles - The president's Mini-Me reveals salesmanship—not always consistent with facts—matters above everything else."  Hat tip: Instapundit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It's an investigation

Daily Caller: "FBI Director Disputes Hillary’s Claim That Email Probe Is Just A ‘Security Inquiry’."

Never mind that thing I said the other day

You'd think I'd learn by now to stop betting against Trump.  The other day I wrote: "There is zero chance that Trump can win the general election."  Now Reuters is reporting "Trump surges in support, almost even with Clinton in national U.S. poll."  This is in line with a Quinnipiac and PPP poll earlier this week.

Look, I don't like the guy.  But there are a lot of disaffected voters who don't care: he's their guy.  Back in February, I took note of a guy on NPR who said that if he can't vote for Bernie Sanders, he was going to vote for Trump.  Then on Tuesday, the Hill had this headline: "Nearly half of W.Va. Sanders backers would vote Trump."

This is not a conventional election year, not by a long shot.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"You should acquire a taste for cat food"

Zero Hedge has two separate "WTF Chart" posts today.  The first indicates that Americans have almost no retirement savings and are going to be relying heavily on Henry Winkler to get them a reverse mortgage: "Dead retirees walking."
How can people expect survive for decades on virtually no savings? This chart reveals that a huge percentage of American households will face miserable retirement years and/or having to work until the day they die.
Well, there's always Social Security.  Which is going broke:
The promises made when there were 7 workers for every retiree cannot be kept when there are only 2 workers for every retiree. As automation commoditizes labor, goods and services, the ratio of full-time workers to retirees will continue to slip: it's already under two-to-one, as there are 123 million full-time jobs and 65.48 million Social Security beneficiaries.
Nobody in Washington will reform these programs now.

Hurt feelings in the MSM

Awww....the New York Times story about how Ben Rhodes totally played the media in pursuit of Obama's Iran deal has ruffled some feathers.  Weekly Standard: "The Ben Rhodes Blow-Up."
And now, the echo chamber is mad—but not at Ben Rhodes for what he said. They're mad at Samuels for getting the story they didn't—or didn't even see was there, and they're mad at him for what he reported. The Washington Post has published three different pieces on Samuels, none favorable, including one by the editor of the book section. The Post is mad of course because the Samuels piece publicly shamed the paper—after all, its main brief is to cover the local industry—the workings of the government of the United States. And yet as the article makes plain, Post reporters and especially columnists got spun and conned about the Iran deal. But much worse than that is that the Post got scooped on the story explaining how gullible they are. Scooped by the New York Times, in their own backyard on the biggest foreign policy story of the past four years! That's embarrassing.

And Jeffrey Goldberg is hopping mad, too. The Atlantic just posted his long and seething rejoinder to Samuels, who wrote in his Rhodes piece that, "handpicked Beltway insiders like Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Laura Rozen of Al-Monitor helped retail the administration's narrative."
That's why Obama keeps coming back to Steve Kroft for softball interviews: the White House knows which "Democrats with bylines" (as Instapundit calls it) will get their message out with no fuss.

Western Massachusetts update

MassLive: "Woman calls Amherst police, fakes sickness to get out of bad date."

Monday, May 09, 2016

Sure, why not?

ABC News: "Emails From Hillary Clinton’s IT Director at State Department Appear to Be Missing."

This is the guy the Justice Department gave immunity in exchange for testimony that - oopsie! - they can't find.

I agree with 90% of this article

Here's Max Boot writing in the LA Times: "The Republican Party is dead."
There has never been a major party nominee in U.S. history as unqualified for the presidency. The risk of Trump winning, however remote, represents the biggest national security threat that the United States faces today.
What pains me is that this was a winnable election against an extremely flawed Democratic candidate: a congenital liar with historic unfavorability numbers.  There is zero chance that Trump can win the general election.  He's been a Republican all of ten minutes, a conservative of no standing, and his undisciplined style will drag down the whole party.  I'm in the camp of Boot and other conservatives who would rather see him go down to a Mondale-style beatdown to save the party.

But the Republican party is not dead - let's not get crazy now.

Extra - Here's one of my favorite authors, P. J. O'Rourke:
"I am endorsing Hillary, and all her lies and all her empty promises," O'Rourke continued. "It's the second-worst thing that can happen to this country, but she's way behind in second place. She's wrong about absolutely everything, but she's wrong within normal parameters."

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Big Dig accounting in Boston

You'd think that Beantown would learn.  The Central Artery project (aka the "Big Dig") was originally supposed to cost $2.8 billion but ended up costing nearly $15 billion.

Today's Boston Globe reports on the MBTA Green Line extension.  Big surprise: sloppy planning and a rush to secure federal funds led to unexpected cost over-runs:
Decades after the project to extend the light rail line into Medford and Somerville was first proposed, Governor Deval Patrick stood alongside Congressman Michael Capuano, US Senator Elizabeth Warren, and other officials to celebrate winning a federal grant that would bring the state nearly $1 billion.

But just seven months later, the project was stopped in its tracks, dogged by newer estimates that showed the project could cost $1 billion more than projected. And on Monday, state transportation officials will receive a report on how to scale back the project dramatically. They will ultimately have to decide whether to proceed with a stripped down plan — or to pull the plug altogether.
It's conservative dogma that a public program paid with taxpayer money never dies, so I don't expect they'll kill this project.  And despite the efforts to proceed with a scaled-down project, I further expect - surprise! - taxpayers across the Bay State will be forced to pay for this latest boondoggle.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Hillary: I'm recklessly stupid but don't have malicious intent

Too bad that this has no distinction in the eyes of the law, no matter how Clinton and the media try to spin it.  Hot Air: "“Malicious intent” is not required to break the law in Hillary Clinton’s case."

At one point in this email saga, Hillary whined that there had to be markings since she's too dim to figure out what might be classified.  There do not have to be markings - this is all a red herring.

Refresher - "@HillaryClinton Meet 18 U.S.C § 793".  "The fact that Secretary Clinton’s camp claims the particular emails in question were not marked “classified” or “top secret” at the time (even though the IG states that the emails “were classified when they were sent and are classified now”) is irrelevant.  “Gross negligence” is the standard."

Friday, May 06, 2016


Vodkapundit: "ObamaCare Insurers Considering Dumping Bronze Plans."  As Stephen Green notes, the bronze plans are where the young and healthy support the rest of the people on Obamacare.  Cutting them out while raising the cost of the silver plans = recipe for a death spiral.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

You will be made to care

Inside Higher Ed: "From Suppressing to Compelling - The diversity requirements at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst demonstrate a troubling shift from proscription of speech to prescription of political attitudes."

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Western Massachusetts Snowflake alert

This story is unintentionally hilarious.  MassLive: "Hampshire College, which couldn't get BeyoncĂ©, President Obama or Bernie Sanders, replaces commencement speaker to address student gripes."

They invited every politically-correct person under the sun and settled on Dr. Emily Wong who worked on infectious diseases in Africa.  But that just wasn't good enough for the kids.  So they dis-invited the doctor and invited Reina Gossett, a filmmaker who made a movie about the Stonewall riots.

Graduation is Saturday, May 14th.  The competition among Gender Studies majors at Applebees will be intense on Sunday.

Monday, May 02, 2016

All for Clinton

Here's Politico: "Clinton fundraising leaves little for state parties - The Democratic front-runner says she's raising big checks to help state committees, but they've gotten to keep only 1 percent of the $60 million raised."

So the "Hillary Victory Fund" operates under the same guidelines as the Clinton Foundation: "Government Watchdog Calls The Clinton Foundation "A Slush Fund"."

What? No!

Hot Air: "CNN president: You know, we may have been “a little too liberal” in the past."  And now ratings are rising.  Funny that.