Saturday, December 31, 2016

I guarantee you won't get answers

Ezra Klein announced that he'll be "interviewing" Obama on Obamacare January 6th.  Many, many people have suggested questions that will never be asked.  Here comes the filibuster.

You loved your executive power when your guy was in charge

Now, not so much.  New York Times: "If Donald Trump Targets Journalists, Thank Obama."
If Donald J. Trump decides as president to throw a whistle-blower in jail for trying to talk to a reporter, or gets the F.B.I. to spy on a journalist, he will have one man to thank for bequeathing him such expansive power: Barack Obama.
Criticism of Mr. Obama’s stance on press freedom, government transparency and secrecy is hotly disputed by the White House, but many journalism groups say the record is clear. Over the past eight years, the administration has prosecuted nine cases involving whistle-blowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined. It has repeatedly used the Espionage Act, a relic of World War I-era red-baiting, not to prosecute spies but to go after government officials who talked to journalists.

Under Mr. Obama, the Justice Department and the F.B.I. have spied on reporters by monitoring their phone records, labeled one journalist an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case for simply doing reporting and issued subpoenas to other reporters to try to force them to reveal their sources and testify in criminal cases.
Instapundit loves to run a tweet of dour White House staffers and the caption "That face when you spend 8 years weaponizing the federal government only to hand it over to Donald Trump."  Well, you set the precedent Obama-ites and now you're going to get an undisciplined guy who loves throw roundhouse punches at every perceived problem.  Enjoy your IRS audits.

Extra - From Althouse: "If you exaggerate your power, your successor will have exaggerated power."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Don't agitate the people from that cult

Scott Adams: "The Climate Science Challenge"  "So today’s challenge is to find a working scientist or PhD in some climate-related field who will agree with the idea that the climate science models do a good job of predicting the future."

Monday, December 26, 2016

Crazy professor gonna crazy

Fox News: "Drexel professor draws ire after posting 'White Genocide' tweet on Christmas."

I tend to believe you can plumb the depths of American academia on any given day and find some nutjob statement.  It's getting exhausting to gin up the outrage at these professors.  If the mindset at Drexel or Oberlin is appealing to you, kids, then go for that oppression studies major.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas

I'm so grateful to spend the holidays with my family to talk and eat and sing.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The greatest scene in cinematic history

"The Bad News Bears" was on yesterday and the scene where Lupus makes the catch is just great.  Such a good movie on so many levels.

That's adorable

Roll Call: "Top Senate Democrats List Requirements for Trump Nominees."

Thanks for weaponizing the White House

Hit and Run: "Trump Has a Blank Check on Executive Power. Thanks Obama!"  "Trump already looks like a thought experiment you'd make up to scare liberals straight about the concentration of executive power," says the Cato Institute's Gene Healy, who has a cover story in the current issue of Reason arguing that Obama's "most lasting legacy" will be to "leave to his successor a presidency even more powerful and dangerous than the one he inherited from Bush."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Clock boy all over again

The Hill: "Delta: YouTube star was kicked off flight for disruptive behavior."

Twitchy has more on the YouTube hoaxer who isn't talking to the media about his awful mistreatment until he speaks to a lawyer.  Good idea, kid, since the Delta countersuit will ruin you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Fox News: "Blame the messengers: Dem boss Schumer fires staffers after November rout."

Blast from the past

I'm posting this New York Times editorial from 2013 in full anticipation they'll be doing a 180-degree about-face any day now:
Republicans warned that the rule change could haunt the Democrats if they lost the White House and the Senate. But the Constitution gives presidents the right to nominate top officials in their administration and name judges, and it says nothing about the ability of a Senate minority to stop them. (The practice barely existed before the 1970s.) From now on, voters will have to understand that presidents are likely to get their way on nominations if their party controls the Senate.
Yeah, voters, get to understanding.

Extra - Fox News: "Slate switches from defense of Electoral College to calling it a tool of white supremacy."

Monday, December 19, 2016

Broken monocles

Commentary: "‘Fake’ News and the Victorian Gentleman."

And now Berlin

What is going on today?  Fox News: "Report: Truck drives into crowded Christmas market in Berlin."  No suspects reported yet but, c'mon.  You know.

Russian ambassador killed in Turkey

This is crazy: "Photographers captured the chilling moment a Turkish special forces police officer-turned-terrorist opened fire inside an Ankara art exhibit Monday, killing Russia's ambassador to Turkey and wounding at least three others as he shouted jihadi propaganda before being killed."

Coincidentally, just last night I was saying that I would like to visit the Blue Mosque in Istanbul someday.  Now, I don't think so.  Turkey appears to be transforming into a full Islamic state.

Dang, these voters are dumb

Zero Hedge: "Obama Admits Hillary "Lost Badly" By Failing To "Make An Argument" That Inspired People To "Show Up"."
Of course, when pressed on whether the electorate understood the democratic argument and simply chose to reject it, Obama assured NPR that that simply couldn't be the case.  As Obama has told us many times, if anyone disagrees with his position on a certain policy then it is simply because they must not fully understand it. 
Pretty much.

What's the over/under on faithless electors?

My guess is one attention-seeking defector.  One.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

This is why people hate the mainstream media

I finally got around to leafing through the latest issue of the Atlantic today.  In the back of each issue, they have a feature called "The Big Question" where they ask "experts" (or just people who return their calls, I don't know) who answer a general question.

This month the question is "Who is the worst leader of all time?"  Of all time throughout history, keep in mind.

The answers from experts were as follows:
Jefferson Davis (Hitler mentioned)
George W. Bush
Romulus Augustus
The Devil (with a subset of Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and Adolf Hitler)
Ronald Reagan

Then Atlantic readers added:
Neville Chamberlain
Napoleon Bonaparte
Czar Nicholas II
Kaiser Wilhelm II

So if you're keeping score, it's Republican Presidents: 2 and Communists: 1 (Pol Pot under "The Devil").

The knock against Reagan was that he was insufficiently responsive to the AIDS crisis and let gay men to be "wiped off the map."  This is worse than Mao Zedong systematically starving tens of millions of Chinese during the Great Leap Forward.  Or Stalin sending millions to the Gulags.  Or Fidel Castro's rule that compelled Cubans to launch rowboats to Florida.  Or Kim Jong Il and his family who have created a modern-day prison country.  I would have even taken that drunk Russian Khrushchev who took the world to the brink of nuclear war.

You would think that the editors of the Atlantic would find some new "experts" or at least realize they're beclowning themselves with the conspicuous and ahistorical bias in this list.

Heartless corporation refuses raises for workers

Don't we love stories like this, where reality intrudes?  WashPost: "Huffington Post union blasts management over talks on pay."

Friday, December 16, 2016

You can go now

Washington Free Beacon: "Liberal Media Turns on Obama."


Legal Insurrection: "NBC News: Obama didn’t get tough with Russian hacking because thought Hillary would win anyway."

And here's a little history via Power Line: "Remember when Russians hacked the White House's computers?"  But that was October 2014 and there was a narrative to protect before the midterm elections.

Now John Podesta is whining in the Washington Post that - gosh darn it - the FBI didn't drive down to the DNC and force their way into Debbie Wasserman-Schultz's office.  By several accounts, the DNC IT department ignored multiple warnings from the FBI, fell for obvious phishing scams, and appeared to scan for intrusion using anti-virus freeware.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Oh do tell

Twitchy: "PolitiFact deserves extra-large ‘pants on fire’ for this B.S. claim."  That risible claim is: "We're neither liberal or conservative."  Yeah, I know.

Some of us still remember their factual coverage of Obamacare: "PolitiFact rewrites its own history in Obamacare 'Lie Of The Year' decision."
In an impressive display of chutzpah, the Tampa Bay Times' fact-checking organization PolitiFact has designated President Obama's promise that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" as their "Lie of the Year" for 2013 while simultaneously distancing itself from its own years-long record of failing to identify it as a lie.
Politifact: "better late than never."

Pajama Boy gets results

Instapundit: "ObamaCare was sold in part as the only way to “save” private insurance, when it fact its only real success was massively expanding the welfare state."

A really futile and stupid gesture

Zero Hedge: "Hollywood Celebrties Urge Electors Not To Vote For Trump."

I actually support this since it will throw the election to the House of Representatives...who will vote for Trump.  So let's prolong the agony.

Title reference from:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Fake news update

As the web address of this Slate article indicates, the original title was "NY Subway Riders Stand By as Three Men Verbally Assault Muslim Teenager."

And now if you go to that link: "NYPD Says Story About Muslim Teenager Being Verbally Assaulted on Subway Is a Hoax."  And yet the original article leaves little doubt that the incident really happened, because narrative.

Extra - From Power Line.

The important thing is that he went to the briefings

Maybe he zoned out, thinking about the back-nine at Augusta.  Weekly Standard: "Obama Was Briefed on Russian Hacking But Did Nothing."

Update - Soviet hacker exposed.

This won't end well

For the current Department of Energy staffers.  NBC News: "Energy Department Refuses to Provide Names to Trump Team - Trump's transition team asked for identities of staffers who worked on Obama administration climate policy efforts."

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Is it really hacking when it's so easy?

Ace: "Podesta's Emails Got Hacked Because His IT Guy Misspelled "Legitimate"."

That's right: he meant to say "illegitimate" to warn Podesta he was being hacked.  Despite the typo, the second sentence of the email warns Podesta to change his password which, of course, he didn't.  But remember that despite their technical sophistication, the Russians probably didn't penetrate Hillary's bathroom server.

Extra - Minuteman: "Call In The Forensic Grammaticians!"

Bernie Sanders said that?

Hit and Run: "Bernie Sanders: Donald Trump Won Because People Are Tired of Political Correctness"
"One of the arguments as to why Trump won," Sanders continued, "is the belief that most or many of his supporters are sexists or racists or homophobes. I happen not to believe that's the case. I think what he did do is he said, 'You know what, there's a lot of pain in this country, people are scared and people are worried.' People are tired of status quo politics. He broke through that."
I know I've said this before, but I was struck by a story on NPR where a Democrat voter said that if he couldn't vote for Bernie, he would probably vote for Trump in the general election.  That should have been the tip-off that people didn't want to vote for an establishment candidate like Clinton.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Russians and their mind-control tricks

Hot Air: "Krugman: Trump’s victory tainted and ‘illegitimate’."  Paul Krugman is very, very angry at the Russians and maybe James Comey too for swinging the election by one percent in certain states.  But as John Sexton notes, nearly anything under the sun could be the cause for such a minor swing.

Of course, there was no talk of "tainting" when the media was actively working to get Obama elected and re-elected.  That's the kind of intervention that Krugman's ilk supports.

Not his fault

McClatchy: "Obama mocked Romney over Russia, but now he blames Russia for Trump."

Obama blames _________ for _________ is the hallmark of his Presidency from the terrible economic record (Bush's fault) to the Syrian "red line" (I didn't draw that!)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The first one wasn't great shakes either

Jim Geraghty: "Obama’s Second Term Was a Complete Failure."  And poor Hillary couldn't distance herself from it.

A little less universal, a little more progressive

Although Social Security is supposed to be a "universal" program - your benefit is proportional to your contribution - it's always had a bit of progressiveness for lower-income Americans.  It looks like the Sam Johnson plan is designed to shift towards more means-testing.  Andrew Biggs does an excellent job of unpacking some parts of the reform proposal:
Safety net: While benefits would be reduced for higher-earning retirees, Johnson’s plan introduces a stronger safety net component to Social Security. For a low-earner who worked a full career, a new minimum benefit would boost monthly benefits by about 10 percent over current benefits. For a very-low earner with a full career, benefits would rise by over 20 percent. There also would be a bump up in benefits for individuals after their 20th year of retirement, a policy designed to offset some of the effects of lower COLA payments.
The Democrats will reflexively spin this as pushing Grandma off a cliff.  It's what they do.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Let the lies and hysteria begin

TPM's main hack Josh Marshall leads with this headline: "GOP Plans Major Social Security Cuts" then follows up with nearly nothing of substance before shifting to a cut-and-paste job of old proposals.  But that headline caught your attention, right?

In fact there are no "major" cuts planned unless you count a slight reduction in cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) phased in over decades and hitting mostly affluent families.  Meanwhile the actual and factual major cut in Social Security (see figure 2 on the SSA's review of Johnson's proposal) are just something we have to live with.  Here's Marshall at peak insouciance:
The big picture is that the current Social Security Trust Fund is predicted to be exhausted in the mid-late 2030s. So roughly in 20 years. People often refer to this as 'bankruptcy'. But that's not really accurate. At that point Social Security would only be able to pay 79% of benefits recipients will be entitled to in those years.
Gosh, why's everybody throwing around these inaccurate terms like "bankruptcy?"  So remember this important semantic lesson: when current law cuts your benefits by 21-25% that's a "fairly stable drop-off."  But when benefits are slowly reduced over decades, that's a "major cut."

Fake news update

Mediaite: "Newsweek Writer Kurt Eichenwald Falsely Reports That Trump Supporters Booed John Glenn."

There's a reason why Newsweek went belly-up and was sold for $1.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

An American hero

Fox News: "Former astronaut and US Senator John Glenn dies at 95."

I know everybody is going to say this but "The Right Stuff" is a great book about the Mercury astronauts.  Movie's pretty good too.

Obamacare foe to Labor

I've recognized this guy's name right away because he's written a bunch of articles in the Wall Street Journal on Obamacare and minimum wage laws.  Hit and Run: "Andy Puzder, Trump’s Pick for Labor Secretary, is a Fast Food CEO Who Has Criticized Obamacare and the Minimum Wage."

Mafioso punching bag speaks

After weaponizing the Senate for Donald Trump, the Senate's outgoing minority leader wants everyone to know that this is fine.  "No big changes needed" - oh, and those darn Koch brothers.

Extra - Harry Reid tweet.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Suddenly substandard

Hot Air: "Now that Trump’s won, media suddenly notices that a lot of new jobs are crappy."

This is a topic that Zero Hedge brings up with every monthly unemployment report: "Since 2014 The US Has Added 547,000 Waiters And Bartenders And Lost 36,000 Manufacturing Workers."

So the great Obama recovery has brought us low unemployment rates through: 1) record low participation and 2) a surplus of crummy jobs.  ("Shovel ready" anyone?)  Not to worry: now that President Four-putt is leaving the issue of "McJobs" will be all the rage again.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

It's too late, baby, now it's too late

Federalist: "Why The Mainstream Media Can’t Hold Trump Accountable - The mainstream media have lost credibility. Under Obama, they were compliant. Under Trump, they're hysterical. So who will hold Trump accountable now?"

Mafia beatdown forces Harry Reid out of the Senate

Washington Examiner: "Harry Reid wants to stay, says blind eye forced retirement."  He's sticking to the "exercise accident" story, just like Fat Tony told him.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

The mainstream media has beclowned itself

I'm usually a big supporter of Reason Online's blog Hit and Run but this post runs off the tracks: "Why Trump’s War on the Media Matters - Most presidents distrust the news media. Trump wants to undermine it as an institution."

Yes, Trump is stirring the pot on some well-earned criticism on the media for political gain.  But his tactic would fall flat if Americans maintained trust in the media which they most definitely have not:
Americans' trust and confidence in the mass media "to report the news fully, accurately and fairly" has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.
The post discusses the political polarization of the media but the Gallup data indicates that faith in the press has dropped steadily among independents, whose views are more closely aligned with Republicans than Democrats.  In the most recent poll, Democrats have a 21% gap over independents and a 37% gap over Republicans when it comes to faith in the media.  And why not?  They like what they see.

They should teach Chris Wallace's moderation of the final Presidential debate in journalism school.  That would be a good place to start.


Megan McArdle: "The Left's Doomed Effort to Coerce the Right."  She start out reviewing the hit-job against the HGTV couple Chip and Joanna Gaines: "Those of us who are worried about the parlous state of our country’s politics may, however, remain worried that this faux scandal could ever have led someone to write an article and some outlet to publish it."

Friday, December 02, 2016

This "music" is awful

Pandora has an end-of-year list of songs called the "Top Thumb Hundred 2016" including the songs that got the most "thumbs up" on their rating system.  Dear Lord, these songs are horrible.  They're all repetitive computer-generated drumbeat and percussive shuffle accompanied by unintelligible lyrics.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

But...Fox News!

Victor Davis Hanson: "Beware the law of unintended consequences."  "Almost every major initiative that Obama pushed has largely failed. Obamacare is a mess. He nearly doubled the national debt in eight years. Economic growth is at its slowest in decades. Reset with Russia, the Asian pivot, abruptly leaving Iraq, discounting the Islamic State, red lines in Syria, the Iran deal -- all proved foreign policy disasters."

Picking winners and losers

The Federalist: "Donald Trump’s Carrier Deal Is Just Cronyism as Usual - The Carrier deal shows that Donald Trump isn't going to 'drain the swamp.' He's just going to favor a different set of swamp creatures."
But you can make the same case for somebody else’s business, or for the customers who won’t benefit from cheaper goods that might have been made elsewhere. Somebody has to choose the winners and losers in this contest. And that’s how we got the swamp in the first place. There’s always an excuse for why your gang’s favor-trading is in the public interest, while the other guy’s favor-trading is cronyism.
This is Solyndra all over again where Washington forces the invisible hand.  All the competitors of Carrier are suckers for not announcing their own "movin' to Mexico" plans.

Extra - Hmm...maybe it was a Mike Pence arm-twisting.