Friday, March 31, 2017

That's a man, man

Intellectual Takeout: "When a Man in a Women’s Restroom is Finally Seen as Wrong."

This story is something: a dude walked into the women's bathroom at Disneyland and everybody was so terrified of being called intolerant, nobody said or did anything.

Another one bites the dust

And it's a big one.  The Resurgent: "Death Spiral: Anthem to bail on Obamacare."
Insurer Anthem Inc. is looking to exit “a high percentage of the 144 rating regions in which it currently participates.”

Anthem has been single-handedly propping up Obamacare in many states, and its departure would leave some consumers in Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio with ZERO Obamacare insurers available.   Consumers will face fines for failing to buy a product that is not available to them.

According to the article, Anthem lost $374 million in the individual market in 2016, and is pleading with the administration for regulatory relief so they can stay in the market.
This shoddy law was slapped together in such a way that whenever Congress couldn't figure out how to craft the legislation, the Democrats just shoehorned in "The Health and Human Services Secretary will figure it out."  Now we have an Administration disinclined to bend the law with the whim of a bureaucrat.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Democrats demand an up-or-down vote

"No matter who's in power!" said Chuck Schumer....back when President Hillary was a foregone conclusion and Democrats were predicted to take back the Senate.  Good times.

Attacking your own right flank

Hit and Run: "Trump declares war on the Freedom Caucus."
What's the old saw? They told me if I voted for Hillary Clinton, the president would declare war against the House Freedom Caucus. And he did!
As somebody who has never had to deal with the give-and-take of politics, Trump is out of his depth.  He energized the base by appealing to Tea Party ideals, and now he wants them gone.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mark your calendar

Hot Air: "McConnell: Gorsuch will be confirmed next Friday."

A "nudge" vs. a "gun to the head"

Hit and Run has a good review on the Constitutionality of the Trump Administration's action on sanctuary cities: "Jeff Sessions Threatens Unconstitutional Action Against Sanctuary Cities - The Attorney General aims to dragoon state and local officials and leave them "no real option but to acquiesce."

It's a little inside baseball (legally speaking) but the federal government cannot compel states to enforce federal policy by threatening to cut off spending.  The Feds, however, can "nudge" the states as the did by withholding 5% of highway funds for states that didn't raise the drinking age.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Russians and American supermarkets

If you're a big fan of the FX show "The Americans" (as I am), you would know that the new season is focusing on food shortages in the old Soviet Union and American shipments of wheat in the mid-1980s.

Reddit's "Today I Learned" has a story about a MiG pilot who defected and became convinced that the CIA was stocking supermarkets to fool him.  The comments in this thread are great.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Trump's short attention span

A couple of weeks ago, National Review editor-in-chief Rich Lowry gave a talk at Amherst College.  The audience was very respectful (this was in the wake of the Middlebury College incident) and Lowry gave a review of the past election and what Trump means for America.

One story I thought was interesting in hindsight.  Allegedly, Speaker Paul Ryan has a standard presentation to review policy and procedure in Congress but it's a half-hour long.  Concerned that the new President wouldn't be inclined to sit around that long, Ryan abridged the presentation to six minutes.  According to Lowry, Trump lasted all of 90 seconds into the stripped-down presentation and waved it away, saying "I get it, I get it."

That anecdote seems entirely plausible given this Politico report:
Donald Trump had heard enough about policy and process. It was Thursday afternoon and members of the House Freedom Caucus were peppering the president with wonkish concerns about the American Health Care Act—the language that would leave Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” in place, the community rating provision that limited what insurers could charge certain patients, and whether the next two steps of Speaker Paul Ryan’s master plan were even feasible—when Trump decided to cut them off.

"Forget about the little s---," Trump said, according to multiple sources in the room. "Let's focus on the big picture here."
This report confirms all the stereotypes and predictions made about Trump: he has no patience for the details of complicated legislation, he is dismissive of his peers, and alienates the very people he needs to advance his agenda.  The meeting with Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows is a perfect example: instead of listening to the Congressman's concerns, Trump indicated he expected his party's support so Meadows better get on board.

Meadows did not.

Friday, March 24, 2017

You had one job

PJ Media: "Paul Ryan Takes the Barzini Meeting."  "If the House GOP had wanted to insult and infuriate their voters, this bill was the best way to do it. Sin in haste, repent at leisure."

Extra - Washington Examiner: "GOP cave on Obamacare repeal is the biggest broken promise in political history."

Not ready to go

The Hill: "Fox's Stuart Varney: 'The Republican Party is a disgrace'."
“I personally believe at this moment in time the Republican Party is a disgrace,” Varney declared during an interview with Juan Williams, a Fox News and The Hill contributor. "I’m serious. I am serious.”

“We elected the Republicans who run the House, the Senate, and the White House and the very, very first thing that comes up on the legislative agenda they vote no, they’re split. They can’t do it. They can’t govern. I am really fit to be tied." 
Hard to argue with that.  I was going to embed "Send in the Clowns" but I already used a YouTube video today.  It would be easy for me to blame Trump who forced a vote in Congress before the requisite support was assembled, probably because he thought he understood how to make a "deal" in Washington.  But Paul Ryan, who certainly understands how hard it is to ratchet back entitlements, never sold the public on this bill and it was easy for Republicans to walk away from both the legislation and a President they don't particularly like.

This whole endeavor has been...the review for this album:

Ready to go

Weekly Standard: "McCain Responds to Filibuster Threat: 'We're Going to Confirm Gorsuch'."

As one of the Gang of 14 members, McCain was on the short list of Republican Senators who would balk at changing the Senate rules for judicial nominees.  Maybe it's a bluff but I suspect not.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Of course they will

Red State: "Democrats Choose Stupidity: They Will Filibuster Neil Gorsuch Nomination."

So this guy was unanimously approved to the Circuit Court, received the ABA's "highly qualified" rating, and has been getting glowing reviews from the media.  But all the Democrats have is "resist!" so resist they shall.  Meanwhile, McConnell waits to pull the nuclear trigger.

Is it too early for a boy to dream what will happen after the nuclear option?  This guy is just dreamy....

Only the Narrative was harmed

Minuteman: "Israeli-American Teen Arrested In Bomb Hoax Calls" to Jewish community centers in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

Here we go again

Hit and Run: "Republicans Are Rushing To Vote on a Health Care Bill They Haven’t Read. They Learned Nothing From Obamacare. - The House is planning a vote today on a bill that still isn't finalized."

Considering that Republicans have been waiting seven years to replace Obamacare, it's hard to believe this clown show.  Save us, budget reconciliation!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The problem with hate crimes

Via Ace, there's a story about some kids who committed an unmistakable act of anti-Semitism:
Sometime during the night the Menorah, which is approximately eight feet in height and constructed out of PVC pipe, was reconfigured into a swastika.
And yet these suspects are only being charged with trespassing and vandalism...for some reason.  How does the AG know that these suspects didn't hate Jews and committed this crime out of pure malice?  There must be some method.

Who can watch TV anymore?

i was checking TV listings for tonight and noticed that "Titanic" is on AMC from 5:30 to 10pm.  Four-and-a-half hours for the worst film to ever win Best Picture.  Sweet mercy.

He's referring to the World Champion New England Patriots

C'mon, this was kinda funny.  MassLive: "'I hate the New England Patriots,' says FBI Director James Comey in comparison to Russia supporting Donald Trump."

The way I understand it, Comey was trying to say that Russia/Putin was rooting against Hillary no matter what and that benefited Trump.  But he's a Giants fan, so who knows what that loser was saying.

Let it go man, let it go

Hot Air: "No evidence to support Trump’s wiretapping tweets."
I forgot that Trump is holding a rally tonight in Kentucky, ostensibly to sell the House health-care bill! Odds that he’ll digress to attack Comey, Rogers, and the intelligence community instead: High.
This is no small reason why we have headlines like this: "Poll: Trump job approval hits new low."

SCOTUS bound

Daily Caller: "The Gorsuch Hearings Are Starting. Here’s What To Expect."

Chuck Schumer will make an ass of himself again and Merrick Garland will be invoked ad nauseum.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Coyote Blog: "The Continuing Climate Disconnect and the Climate Bait and Switch."

Punish the kids

Politico: "How to fix Obamacare with this one amazing trick - Forcing young, mostly healthy Americans off their parents' coverage could help Republicans make good on their promise to salvage the health care system."

Obamacare re-jiggered the way insurance works by capping the amount older Americans paid for health care by shifting the costs to younger, healthier Americans.  How do you get these kids to buy expensive insurance they probably won't use?  Add the individual mandate.  But, still, they refused to buy.

So, to make Obamacare work, we need to force the kids to buy insurance.  Easy-peasy: throw them off mom and dad's policies!

Friday, March 17, 2017

You can't make this up

From the school that took down the American flag, here's the latest from the Happy Valley: "Hampshire College student denies assaulting Maine basketball players over ‘cultural appropriation’."
A Hampshire College student denied physically assaulting a visiting basketball player over what the student called “cultural appropriation.”

Carmen Figueroa, 20, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct, assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown Friday morning.

The charges stem from a Jan. 27 incident at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center. According to court documents, Figueroa approached members the  Central Maine Community College women’s basketball team and ordered them to remove braids from their hair citing “cultural appropriation.”
These kids are in for a rude awakening once they put down the reefer.

Drop that croissant!

Miami Herald: "Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem."  This is stark 1984 stuff.

A dearth of deference

Lawfare: "The Revolt of the Judges: What Happens When the Judiciary Doesn’t Trust the President’s Oath."

On both sides, to be clear.

Typical Schumer

Hit and Run: "Chuck Schumer's indecent attacks on Neil Gorsuch."  "Make no mistake, though: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) now opposes a potential SCOTUS justice because he promises to be impartial when upholding the Constitution.
Since Gorsuch's confirmation hearing starts Monday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and opponents have found "little to latch onto," according to Politico (which means they've found nothing to spin into accusations of misogyny or racism), Schumer and his allies have launched a ham-fisted effort to paint Gorsuch as a corporate stooge."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The hit job that wasn't

Daily Caller: "NYT Dumped The Biggest Nothing-Burger Yet On Neil Gorsuch."
The real news in the piece comes in its remarkable concession in the sixth graph.

“But it is not clear how well the two know each other,” the Times writes of the judge and the billionaire, as if to apologize for the forthcoming banality.
This is innuendo edging up to the line of fake news, coming right on the heels of Rachel Maddow's Geraldo Rivera moment, which plays into Trump's effort to play the press as a foil.  Why do they feed into further distrust in the media?  I suspect it's because MSNBC and the NY Times play to their audience, despite their earnest statements that "the truth matters more than ever."

Turkey and the spirit of Ataturk

Hot Air: "The Washington Post notices Turkey’s “downward spiral”."
The rapid downward slide of a once very promising democracy in a primarily Muslim nation and the public rise to power of an aspiring tyrant is a very real tragedy playing on the world stage in front of us all. 
This once-secular NATO ally is going the way of the Islamists.  Mustafa Kemal Ataturk formed modern Turkey by abolishing the caliphate and establishing a secular society, to be enforced by the army when necessary.  Bit by bit, Recep Erdogan is reversing those reforms.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

"I tell my children not to go into medicine"

Legal Insurrection: "From the patient trenches: Lies, Damn Lies, and CBO Scoring."  Prof. Jacobson recounts some front-line observations and concludes "things are getting worse" with Obamacare.

Extra - Hot Air: "The GOP’s best hope here may be to remind voters that CBO’s projections on health care have proved to be hot garbage in the past and probably will again this time..."

That Max makes some good points

I turned off SNL the other night when Alec Baldwin was doing another tiresome Trump sketch.  But it looks like I should have stuck around for this one:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Kneejerk jerk

Legal Insurrection: "Elizabeth Warren howls over Trump replacement of U.S. Attorneys - Predictable for someone who fancies herself leader of “the resistance”."

Friday, March 10, 2017

Confused old Nancy

Hot Air: "We need to know what’s in the health care bill before we pass it, says … Nancy Pelosi."

Under normal circumstances, I would call this "trolling" but I don't think Nancy is that sophisticated.  Harry Reid, yes, but not Nancy.

Oh do tell

FiveThirtyEight: "There Really Was A Liberal Media Bubble."

Heat Street: "Study: Hillary Clinton Ran One of the Worst Campaigns in Years."

What's funny in the Heat Street article are the graphs showing the panicked ad buys in Michigan and Wisconsin literally the day before the election.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Surprise! Labor surcharge

Restaurants who are forced to pay higher labor costs are slipping in a labor surcharge on the bill and hoping you don't notice.

Obamacare 2.0

Veronique de Rugy: "House Republicans' Obamacare Replacement Plan Is a Disaster. Here's Why. - It's health care that matters, not health care insurance."

And I like this trenchant observation from Philip Klein:
2010: Elect us to stop Obamacare.
2011: Can't stop it without Senate.
2015: We need the WH to stop Obamacare.
2017: We can't stop Obamacare.
As the kids like to say: you had one job.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Hillary Trump and Donald Clinton

Hot Air: "Academics swapped gender of Trump, Clinton for restaged presidential debate and the results surprised them."

Pretty interesting: two actors mimicked the words and mannerisms of the candidates but with swapped genders.  People in the audience really liked that crazy "Brenda King" and her direct language.  One guy wanted to punch "Jonathan Gordon" in the mouth.

The entitlement ratchet

Powerline: "Are Republicans blowing it on health care?"

Heavens, no!  They're replacing health care funded by government subsidies with health care funded by government-funded tax credits.  Geez.

Extra - Conservatives don't like per Fox News and Politico.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Craziest story evah

The Lid: "Same NY Times Reporter Said Trump Team Was Wiretapped In Jan., But Said TRUMP Lacked Evidence In March."  "Either the Times editors and Mr. Schmidt are trying to skew the story, or they are all suffering from a form of dementia and have no memory."

Related - PowerLine: "Don't look now, but..." the Russian collusion story is collapsing while the wiretapping story is, well, alive.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

People don't plan to fail. They fail to plan.

I've said this phrase to my kids a hundred times as a signal that life demands deferred satisfaction.  Sure, it's a lot of fun to spend money on a shiny toy, but it's much more fun to live your golden years eating steak instead of cat food.  So this article spoke to me: "Stop taking pride in not knowing how to do basic shit":
“Being an adult” isn’t some really prestigious title we have to be intimidated about, it’s literally what we all are, whether we like it or not. The question is whether you are a cool, collected adult whose life is not constantly on fire, or whether you’re a Carrie Bradshaw, who literally had to go visit her ex-boyfriend at work to ask for money to not be evicted because she bought too many statement accessories.

Choose wisely, and don’t take pride in being the latter.
The Washington Free Beacon had an article recently about how a Teamsters Pension Fund was essentially broke and could only pay about half of promised benefits.  It's a tough situation for people who worked their entire lives for a comfortable retirement.  But the article highlighted one of these workers and my sympathy dissolved when i read the following:
Acosta's monthly pay out will now be $760 after taxes. He told the Washington Free Beacon that his family is struggling to stay afloat. The stress of his four-decade career in manual labor has left him without any employment prospects and he has turned to his construction worker son and Social Security to help him make his mortgage payments, which are roughly $2,300 each month.
This guy has been working for 40 years and he still has a $2300/month mortgage?  The most charitable thing I can say is that Mr. Acosta depended on his Teamster pension to pay for his outlandish mortgage, the one that should have been paid off a decade ago.

When you place your financial destiny in somebody else's control, sometimes things don't work out like you had hoped.

This guy is a kook

Fox News: "Trump accuses Obama administration of wiretapping Trump Tower phones."

I don't think Trump is "crazy like a fox."  Will somebody please delete his Twitter account?

Update - Via Hot Air.

Friday, March 03, 2017

The Left hates free speech, college edition

Tolerance in Vermont.  Hit and Run: "A Professor Who Attended Charles Murray’s Middlebury Talk Is Now Wearing a Neck Brace. Protesters Attacked Her."  "The principle of free speech was not the only thing to suffer injury at Middlebury College on Thursday: a professor was physically assaulted by members of the mob that shut down Charles Murray's talk."

Outrage then overplay

The Young Turks: "The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation."

Arrest in bomb threats against Jewish community

Shot: From the Intercept: "Trump Can’t Accept That His Allies Are Targeting Jews — So He Blames His Opponents."

Chaser: "Former journalist arrested, charged with threats against Jewish facilities."
Thompson is a journalist who was fired from the Intercept, an investigative journalism website, for fabricating quotes and misleading colleagues to cover his tracks. In an editor’s note last year, the publication said Thompson had engaged in “a pattern of deception” and wrote that he created fake email accounts to impersonate people.
Hangover: Gateway Pundit: "Juan Thompson – Who Threatened US Jewish Centers – Is BIG BERNIE SANDERS Supporter!"

Have fun storming the castle!

Hot Air: "WaPo: Don’t count on a perjury charge sticking against Sessions."

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The truth is important

The NY Times stealth edits a story without correction then demands Jeff Sessions' execution before the trial.

So what's today's Dem freakout?

Question: do we have to bother with Jeff Sessions' resignation if we skip right over to Trump's impeachment?  And did you see what Ivanka wore to the speech?  Tack-y!

This story might have some traction if the Democrats didn't turn every issue, every cabinet nomination, and every Administration press release into the worst thing that has happened ever.  As far as I can tell, Jeff Sessions was maybe less than forthcoming about his meetings with the Russians but that the specific questions he was asked concerned his involvement with the Trump campaign.  So, when asked "about the 2016 election" he responded: "No."  As in, no, we didn't talk about the election, there was no collusion with Russia, and there's nothing more needed to respond to that specific question.

Is that hyper-literal?  Yes, and Sessions should recuse himself and then clarify his remarks.  Just like Claire McCaskill did when she said: "No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador.  Ever."  Then to clarify a couple hours later: "Oh, when I said that, I totally meant as a member of the Armed Services committee.  What made you think "ever" meant "ever."  Geez."  For extra fun, let's go to the Polaroids, Claire.

As cooler heads will aver: "There’s Almost No Chance That Sessions Committed Perjury."  When asked about what he did talk to the Russian ambassador about, Sessions should say "grandchildren and golf."

Extra - Legal Insurrection: "Read the Questions – WaPo creates Sessions media firestorm over nothing."

Update - Sessions recuses.