Thursday, June 29, 2017

Speaking of states heading towards junk status

Zero Hedge: "After 164 Years, Aetna Is Leaving Connecticut For New York."  Wow.

How bad is the business environment in Connecticut that Aetna is going to New York City and General Electric recently moved to Boston?  Goodbye tax revenue.

Junk bond status, here we come!

Chicago Tribune: "Illinois Lottery stops selling Powerball tickets after lawmakers fail to cut deal."  In brief, Illinois will lose $90 million in annual revenue simply because the state can't be trusted to pay off lottery winners.

If Illinois can't reach agreement on this no-brainer, imagine the state of the whole state budget.

At least it's expensive

Federalist: "Let’s Stop Pretending Medicaid Saves Lives."

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A really nice protest

This story from Twitchy is kinda funny: some Trump supporters took over a Starbucks because one of their own was disrespected.  But instead of smashing windows, they just sat down, ordered lattes for "Jeff Sessions", and generally were just customers in MAGA hats.

She drove it into the ground with great talent

Hot Air: "Bernie Sanders: My Wife Left Burlington College ‘In Better Shape Than It Had Ever Been’."  That would be ex-college.

When a "cut" is "spending not rising as much as predicted"

Fox News: "Fact Check: Dem claims that Senate bill guts Medicaid ignore billions in new funding."  "According to the latest ‘score’ from the Congressional Budget Office, Medicaid spending would rise from $393 billion in 2017 to $464 billion in 2026—that’s a $71 billion, or 18 percent, increase."

Also, Rich Lowry explains the perverse incentives in the current Medicaid spending that is driving up costs to ever-higher levels.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pick your poison, NYT

Were you purposely malicious or extremely stupid?  Daily Caller: "Sarah Palin Suing New York Times For Defamation."

Back to the echo chamber

Jonathan Turley: "Trump's travel ban victory should force media to examine itself."  "For those of us who have long argued that the legal authority supported Trump, the order was belated but not surprising. However, the order does offer a brief respite for some self-examination for both legal commentators, and frankly, the courts. At times the analysis surrounding the immigration order seemed to drop any pretense of objectivity and took on the character of open Trump bashing."

Like Icarus flying into the sun

CNN has been a bete noire of Trump, a network he continuously derides as "fake news."  So what do they do?  Prove him right: "Three journalists quit CNN in fallout from retracted Russia story."

Maybe a more apt analogue would be Ahab and the white whale, but you get the point.

Monday, June 26, 2017

"Bona dude" is Latin for "good buddy," right?

C'mon, man, this is funny.  Twitchy: "‘This typo ABIDES!’ @SCOTUSblog typo in travel ban tweet wins the Internet."

Stay on Trump's travel ban lifted

Daily Caller: "Supreme Court Allows Travel Ban To Take Effect."  "The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will review lower court rulings blocking enforcement of President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugee and migrant entry, and stayed injunctions barring the order’s enforcement."

Well, mostly: it looks like there's a "friends and family" clause but that's a narrow classification.

If only someone had warned them

WashPost: "A ‘very credible’ new study on Seattle’s $15 minimum wage has bad news for liberals."
The costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweighed the benefits by a ratio of three to one, according to the study, conducted by a group of economists at the University of Washington who were commissioned by the city. The study, published as a working paper Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, has not yet been peer reviewed.

On the whole, the study estimates, the average low-wage worker in the city lost $125 a month because of the hike in the minimum.
It's good to have these little social-engineering experiments in place so we can see how claims of "fairness!" stack up against hard economics.

Extra - Fivethirtyeight: "Seattle’s Minimum Wage Hike May Have Gone Too Far."

"Silicon Valley" title sequence explained

Check out the FBI trucks outside of Theranos:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A playground in Missouri

Big day at the Supreme Court tomorrow.  Reuters: "U.S. top court set to rule on religious rights; travel ban looms."  Plus, there's the whispers about Anthony Kennedy's potential retirement.

Prepare your bookmarks: Scotusblog.  Also from Scotusblog: "And then there were six - the remaining cases."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Smug and contemptuous

Bret Stephens in the NY Times: "Democrats and the losing politics of contempt."
Whatever their misgivings about Trump, those Republicans weren’t about to give Nancy Pelosi the satisfaction of a national victory. Contemporary liberalism now expresses itself chiefly in the language of self-affirmation and moral censure: of being the party of the higher-minded; of affixing the suffix “phobe” to millions of people who don’t appreciate being described as bigots.

It’s intolerable. It’s why so many well-educated Republicans who find nothing to admire in the president’s dyspeptic boorishness find even less to like in his opponents’ snickering censoriousness. It’s why a political strategy by Democrats that seeks to turn every local race into a referendum on Trump is likely to fail.
I'm one of those well-educated Republicans who did not vote for Trump but is warming up to him only because of the boorish sanctimony of the Democrats.  So keep it up and stick tight to your identity politics and condemnation of the "deplorables."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Shut up, they voted

WashPost: "Wisconsin lawmakers advance bill to suspend or expel students who disrupt campus speakers."
Demonstrations like the one that interrupted Shapiro’s speech last fall have become an increasingly common sight at universities around the country as debate has roiled over how to curb hate speech while protecting free expression and intellectual diversity. Some demonstrations have turned violent, like the recent protests and riots in Berkeley, Calif., that shut down a planned lecture by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

After nearly four hours of debate Wednesday night, Wisconsin lawmakers approved the Campus Free Speech Act in a 61-36 vote along party lines, with no Democrats supporting it.
Really?  Not one Democrat supported something as anodyne and uncontroversial as supporting free speech or - as a minimum - allowing speakers to present their views without a heckler's veto?

I thought the brief protest against Julius Caesar in New York City was a little silly but maybe some sauce for the gander is required, as a matter of principle.

Leave Nancy alone!

NBC News: "Nancy Pelosi Faces Heat From Democrats After Georgia Loss."  She's fine.

Extra - Twitchy: "Conservatives rally behind embattled House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi."

Also - DNC chair Tom Perez is doing a great job also: "Democrats Raise Paltry $4.3 Million In Worst May Total Since 2003."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It's her turn

Daily Caller: "Woman Wins Election, Democrats Outraged."  "The same people who called you a misogynist for refusing to vote for a woman are angry that another woman won something. It’s almost as if Democrats’ ideals and principles are disposable when they interfere with their political goals."

"Nah, we're good here"

Fox News: "Jeh Johnson testifies DNC rejected DHS help on hack, Russia meddling did not alter ballots."  "Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified Wednesday that the Democratic National Committee last year turned down his agency's offer to help protect its network despite being warned about a hack."

I can't even

Politico: "Sen. Murphy on Dem's Georgia loss: Russia has been a distraction."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The "shy" voter again

Just a word on the polls: going into the Georgia special election, nobody but nobody reported a Handel lead greater than 2% and (as of now) she's up by nearly 7%, cruising for victory in the most expensive House race ever.

Two weeks ago, the Atlantic Journal-Constitution had Ossoff up by 7%.  Oops.

Update - With 100% reporting, Decision Desk has it 52.7% to 47.3% for a 5.4% win.

Denial at MSNBC

I'm watching returns for Georgia-6 and everybody is showing Handel ahead except Rachel Maddow's show which has Ossoff solidly at 51% and Handel at 49%.

Nobody shows this result except them.

With 50% of the results in, Decision Desk shows Handel up by >5%.  (9:33pm EST).

Before they went "all in" with identity politics

Peter Beinart: "How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration."
In 2005, a left-leaning blogger wrote, “Illegal immigration wreaks havoc economically, socially, and culturally; makes a mockery of the rule of law; and is disgraceful just on basic fairness grounds alone.” In 2006, a liberal columnist wrote that “immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants” and that “the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear.” His conclusion: “We’ll need to reduce the inflow of low-skill immigrants.” That same year, a Democratic senator wrote, “When I see Mexican flags waved at proimmigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.”

The blogger was Glenn Greenwald. The columnist was Paul Krugman. The senator was Barack Obama.
Don't forget about this guy in 1995:

But Democrats needed the Latino vote so principles had to be subjugated to political expediency.  (Hat tip: Power Line).

That means it's working

Deploy Jonathan Gruber to talk Iowa off the ledge.  Hot Air: "Iowa’s Last Obamacare Insurer Asks For 43% Rate Increase For 2018."  Here's the Iowa insurance commissioner explaining what's what:
"We are concerned that Iowa has hit a point within our market's collapse that a 43% rate increase will drive healthier, younger, and middle aged individuals out of the market. Iowa's individual market remains unsustainable and needs a fix from Congress. Iowa will continue to move forward with the proposed stopgap measure."
But if younger and healthier Americans are driven out of the system that will only drive up premiums even more in the future!  It's like the system is in a terminal downward trajectory, similar to the out-of-control gyrations of a plane going down.

Something like that.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Michelle Carter found guilty

MassLive: "Michelle Carter found guilty by judge in text message suicide case."

I really thought she was going to get off on a freedom of speech defense but I guess the judge found her text messages encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide so beyond the pale, he had no choice but to mete out punishment.  Some of them are so disturbing.

This case reminds me of when Abraham Lincoln exiled a Copperhead Democrat to the Confederacy because Lincoln reasoned that encouraging men to desert the Army was akin to signing a death warrant:
Long experience has shown that armies cannot be maintained unless desertion shall be punished by the severe penalty of death. The case requires, and the law and the Constitution sanction, this punishment. Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wiley agitator who induces him to desert?
In this case, freedom of speech took a backseat to martial law.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Illinois is a zombie state

It's dead but it keeps moving....Zero Hedge: "Unable To Pay Bills, Illinois Sends "Dear Contractor" Letter Telling Firms To Halt Road Work On July 1."  They're out of money: "Illinois is essentially bankrupt. Unfortunately, there is no provision for states to declare bankruptcy.  States can default, however, and default is an easy prediction for Illinois’ public union pensions."

The mainstream media is bonkers

Twitchy: "WaPo editorial writer to NYT editorial board: Hold my beer."

The media is as confused as Ricky Bobby who didn't know what to do with his hands.

The New York Times must be bankrupted

As somebody noted, rolling out this old lie is actual malice.  Ben Shapiro doesn't mince words: "The New York Times Runs The Worst Editorial In Human History, Blames SARAH PALIN For Giffords Shooting AGAIN."

Daily Caller: "NYT Uses GOP Shooting To Falsely Attack Sarah Palin With Debunked Conspiracy Theory."  Commentators on the left and right agree:
Ben Dreyfuss, a senior editor with left-wing Mother Jones, called the editorial “stupid,” adding: “Palin didn’t make that loon shoot Gabby Giffords.”

“Unbelievable. The Times is still peddling this despicable lie,” said Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto. He added: “This is shockingly dishonest.”
Finally, there's the Twitchy roundup: "New York Times determined to find political balance in shootings, even if means reviving old lie."

The Pravda on the Hudson must be put out of business, although I'm not sure how to do it.  Maybe a lawsuit from Sarah Palin for defamation is a good start.

Update - The Old Gray Lady corrects to avoid a libel suit:
Correction: June 15, 2017
An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.
Sue 'em anyway, Sarah.

When the shoe's on the other foot

Hot Air: "The Washington Post Has Suddenly Forgotten How The ‘Climate Of Hate’ Works."  "If you want to say that the right is wrong to connect the shooting to left-wing rhetoric, fine. I’m all for blaming the shooter. But you can’t denounce the right for making the “climate of hate” argument without first admitting the left was wrong to make the same sort of argument back then when there was a chance for them to blame it on the right."

Extra - Hit and Run: "Bernie Sanders Links Political Rhetoric to Violence When ‘Right-Wing,’ Not When Perpetrated by His Own Volunteer."

And this - Today's NY Times editorial is its usual drivel, notable only for dragging out this old chestnut: "NYT still peddling trash about Palin and the Gabrielle Giffords shooting."

More - City Journal: "Incitement to ViolenceThe Left has raised America’s political temperature to the boiling point."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Congressman shot in Virginia

All sorts of conflicting info with this breaking news: "Steve Scalise, Roger Williams shot in Virginia, aides also hit."

Hot Air: "Shooter Asked If It Was “Republicans Or Democrats” Playing."  That's not what the statement from Rep. Ron DeSantis says.  He said a man asked who was playing and then three minutes later the shooting started.  Coincidental but not proven yet.

Update: Just heard on Fox News that Roger Williams injured himself taking cover but was not shot.

Update 2: The now-dead gunman had issues.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Preaching to the Upper East Side choir

Althouse on Julius Caesar: "It seems to me that theater should disturb, upset, and provoke the audience in the theater, not show them the things they already firmly believe are disturbing, upsetting, and provoking. So I'd say you are not doing your job. You're presenting hatred of Donald Trump in the center of Manhattan. Don't preen, and don't bring God into it. You've got "the mirror." Look at yourself."

Nothing to hide here!

Politico: "Trump surrogates go after Mueller - Many in the president's circle praised the special counsel's appointment last month but have publicly turned against him in recent days."

Sometimes I think Trump is like George Costanza where he decides to do the opposite of everything.  In this case, if logic and precedent indicates you should cooperate and come clean with all the evidence, Trump is going to bluster and stonewall.  It's his modus operandi.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Denmark hates cars

Denmark imposes a 180% tax on combustion-engine cars (not a typo) and now they've phased out government subsidies for electric vehicles: "Denmark is killing Tesla."

I met somebody in Copenhagen on a business trip and she mordantly joked that when you buy a car in Denmark, you buy another one for the government.

Obamacare repeal advances under the radar

American Spectator: "Obamacare repeal moves steadily forward"
Last week, while most of Washington obsessed over the self-serving cavils of a cashiered federal bureaucrat, Senate Republicans focused on a project much nearer to the hearts of the voters — repealing Obamacare. And the GOP made significant progress in that effort. The Senate parliamentarian ruled that repeal can be passed via reconciliation and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fast-tracked the process by invoking “rule 14,” which permits the Senate to skip laborious committee hearings that Democrats planned to use for protracted grandstanding. Meanwhile, moderate Republicans are coming around on proposed changes to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion about which they had expressed reservations.
Sarah Kliff is an indefatigable cheerleader/propagandist for Obamacare and she's getting nervous: "Obamacare is in real danger."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Hope springs eternal

In the loony left.  Hot Air: "Feinstein: Let’s Get This Obstruction Of Justice Train Rolling Anyway"
During the endless ratings bonanza which was the Comey testimony, you may recall that the former FBI Director was asked multiple times in several variations of wording about what the President said to him about the Flynn investigation and, in a more general sense, all of the Russia questions. Was he asked to drop the investigation? No. Was he told to drop the investigation? No. Was he ordered to drop the investigation? Again and again… no. And did he, after all the inferences and “hopes” allegedly expressed by the President of the United States, actually wind up dropping the investigation? Nope.
If that was a case of obstruction of justice in the legal sense, the would-be obstructionist was really bad at their job.
Yesterday, the Politics subreddit over at Reddit was all a-flutter because somebody found three obstruction cases where somebody had been convicted while using the word "hope".  In one case, it was an unambiguous threat: "I hope you aren't doing what I think your doing because that's unhealthy."  Another case didn't have the word "hope" in it at all and the last one was in the context of hiding evidence.  All this was detailed by one poster in response so, of course, he was downvoted into oblivion.

Friday, June 09, 2017

The blue collars are going to love this

Hot Air: "Democrats, Please Stop Trying To Fake Populist Authenticity By Swearing."  Our children are watching.

Dershowitz on Presidential powers

Fox News: "Comey confirms that I'm right - and all the Democratic commentators are wrong."

I think he may have written this in some haste because he quotes Comey and...I'm not sure he said it.  Still, he makes a valid point about the pardon power of the President: "Just as the president would have had the constitutional power to pardon Flynn and thus end the criminal investigation of him, he certainly had the authority to request the director of the FBI to end his investigation of Flynn."

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Comey bombshell!

Not.  Legal Insurrection: "Comey: Told Trump not personally under investigation, no attempt to interfere in Russia probe."

India's cash grab

Breitbart: "Trump just dodged a $2.5 trillion bullet."  That's how much India expected to be bribed under the Paris agreement.  "In other words, Paris was never really about climate. It was a wealth-redistribution scheme in which rich nations were expected to shower poor nations with free money."

Prepare for disappointment...and cat food

Hit and Run: "A Troubling Number of Young People Expect Social Security To Be a 'Major Source' of Retirement Income" - "Twenty-five percent of young adults anticipate paying for retirement with Social Security benefits. The number should be zero."

Please don't

PJ Media: "Trump May Live Tweet 'If He Feels the Need' During Comey's Testimony."

Sacrifices must not be made

NY Post: "Eco-friendly deBlasio won't give up SUV rides to the gym."  "Mayor de Blasio says all New Yorkers must change their lifestyle to curb carbon emissions — well, all except one man: Mayor de Blasio."

The guy lives in a mansion; can't they carve out a room for an exercise bike and some weights?

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Seattle's sweet soda

Hit and Run: "Seattle Passes Regressive Soda Tax - The city will now tax soda at a rate eight times higher than beer."
Several activists who spoke on behalf of the measure acknowledged that the tax is regressive but argued that this would be mitigated by the spending it will allow. "We understand this is a regressive tax," said a dietitian with the group Got Green. "We only support it because we know and are pushing for it to go back and serve the community."
That's the nice thing about our betters: they're willing to take your money and give some of it back.

A pinky-swear cash-grab

The Week: "Don't cry for the Paris agreement."

Monday, June 05, 2017

Can we agree this is a great name?

Too bad she's going to end up at Leavenworth.  Fox News: "NSA contractor accused of leaking top secret report on Russian hacking efforts."  "Reality Leigh Winner, 25, appeared in U.S. District Court in Augusta, Ga., to face one charge of removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, the Justice Department said Monday."

Update - Here's a shocker: "NSA Leaker Is A Bernie Supporter Who ‘Resists’ Trump."

Grinding noise on Pontiac Vibe

I like to post these stories in the non-so-remote chance that somebody else has a similar problem and they're looking for a solution.  Today my son called me and said he had hit a pothole and now there was this horrible sound that appeared to be coming from the rear of the car, maybe the right wheel.

He had pulled over to the side of the road and we swapped cars so that I could drive the car the mile or so back home.  At very low speeds, there was no noticeable sound.  But once I hit, say, 20mph the racket was deeply unsettling: a kind of metal-on-metal sound that resembled a grinding noise.  Considering he said he had hit a pothole, I thought it may have been a wheel bearing or something in the rear disc brakes.  This made some sense because the sound got louder and more frequent as the speed increased.  But here's the counter-fact: there was no shaking of the wheel, no vibration, and no pulling of the car to one side or the other.  In fact, the car seemed to run fine except for the awful noise.

I came home and jacked the right rear tire then gave it a shake to check the bearing; it was OK.  I pulled the wheel off and nothing really appeared out of the ordinary.  I was stumped so I called my neighbor, who has much more experience than me.

Almost right away, he found the culprit: there is a thin metal heat shield around the exhaust running down the center of the underside.  The pothole must have popped a rivet and it was loose.  When air flowed under the car, it rattled back and forth making a racket but otherwise it didn't affect the drive.

Easy - and cheap - fix with a couple of self-tapping screws.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

We can't quit that thing we never joined

Hot Air: "Newsflash: America never joined Paris Agreement."  That thing "signed" by Mr. Pen and Phone is undone by the next guy.

Stuff *she* said

Legal Insurrection: "How can Ginsburg participate in Travel Order case after her *campaign* statements about Trump?"

We can reasonably infer from RBG's comments that she cannot be objective and impartial in this case, based on her previous statements.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

More terror in the UK

Live Reddit feed is here.  Van attack and stabbings; multiple suspects are being pursued.

Absolutely sickening eyewitness report:
He was at a pub with some mates, decided to leave and get something to eat at around 10pm. Walks in the direction of London Bridge, passing under the train bridge. He saw someone who had been stabbed, then saw 3 "Muslim guys" running up, started stabbing a girl. They then stabbed someone else.
He then started shouting at everyone to run, went back towards the Borough. They then stabbed the bouncer at the Tavern (pub). They were running in all the pubs, bars, stabbing everyone.

Aetna to follow GE out of CT

Wall Street Journal: "Connecticut’s Tax Comeuppance - With the rich tapped out, the state may resort to Puerto Rico bonds."  Anything but cutting taxes.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Bring it to the Senate

The Corner: "The Paris Agreement Is a Treaty. Treat It as Such."

No, 23 million aren't going to be "kicked off" insurance

Daily Caller: "Reports That 23 Million Americans Will Lose Health Care Are WAY Off."
Nineteen million of the 23 million people said to be losing their coverage don’t currently have coverage, according to Forbes. The Congressional Budget Office arrived at that number by assuming many millions of people who don’t have coverage now but are predicted to gain coverage under Obamacare by 2026.

These misguided projections are the result of a combination of factors including an outsized faith in the influence of Obamacare’s individual mandate, overconfidence in the number of states that will seek to expand medicaid in the next few years and a reliance on demonstrably false 2016 projections of future exchange enrollment.
Basically, the CBO estimate of total insured is based on assumptions about the individual mandate, guesses which have been way off target thus far.

Hillary invites ridicule

She invites it with a gold-filigreed RSVP served on a silver platter.  I've never seen anything like it from a Presidential election loser.  I'd like to move on but she won't let it go.  Stephen Green: "If I’m reading this correctly, Clinton’s judgement was sound, but women-hating Russians at the FBI forced her to set up an unsecured email server and prevented her from campaigning in Wisconsin."