Friday, December 29, 2017

Sure, why not?

The Hill: "Trump to repeal Obama fracking rule."

I'm going to have to check my records but I'm positive I lifted an article from Hit and Run that talked about the dangers of the "Imperial Presidency" when everything is governed by executive fiat.  It works great as long as your party has the pen and phone.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Searching for a limiting principle

Kevin Williamson writes about the Masterpiece Cakeshop cake: "The slope is, in fact, slippery."
Telling a black man that he may not work in your bank because he is black is in reality a very different thing from telling a gay couple that you’d be happy to sell them cupcakes or cookies or pecan pies but you do not bake cakes for same-sex weddings — however much the principle of the thing may seem superficially similar. If the public sphere is infinite, then the private sphere does not exist, and neither does private life. Having a bakery with doors open to the public does not make your business, contra Justice Harlan, an agent of the state. A bakery is not the Commerce Department or the local public high school.
A relevant precedent mentioned in the story is Wickard v. Filburn.  Farmer Filburn was minding his own business, growing wheat on his farm for private use, when the government told him he violated a government crop support program.  Thus, somehow, since everything is "public" action since it affects commerce and policy everywhere, there's no room for "private" action.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Rosa Parks of first class

If you ever doubted Sheila Jackson Lee would play the race card: "Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who was accused by a United Airlines passenger of bumping her from a first-class seat, said in a Twitter screed on Tuesday that she believes the incident is all about race."  Of course.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Thumbs down-sizing

I was thinking of seeing this movie because at least the premise was unique.  Maybe not: "How 'Downsizing' Makes Matt Damon and Climate Change Dull."

How now FISA warrant?

Andrew McCarthy has a long review of how the FBI allegedly used the fake Steele dossier to secure a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign: "Was the Steele Dossier the FBI’s ‘Insurance Policy’?"
In conclusion, while there is a dearth of evidence to date that the Trump campaign colluded in Russia’s cyberespionage attack on the 2016 election, there is abundant evidence that the Obama administration colluded with the Clinton campaign to use the Steele dossier as a vehicle for court-authorized monitoring of the Trump campaign — and to fuel a pre-election media narrative that U.S. intelligence agencies believed Trump was scheming with Russia to lift sanctions if he were elected president. 
I'm sure the $700,000 the Clinton Foundation gave to the McCabes for a Virginia Senate seat had no effect on his objectivity and sense of fairness.  He's just like a journalist that way.

Pleasantly surprised

Hot Air: "Taxmageddon: It’s The End Of The World As We Know It And I Feel Fine."  CBS News lined up three families to have their previous year's taxes re-assessed under the new tax plan.  The Doomsday narrative did not match up with reality.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Terrible times when these tax cuts expire

Nancy Pelosi, man.  She's something else.  Rich Lowry: "Nancy Pelosi's Tax Apocalypse."  "It’s a very strange argument against passing a bill to say horrible things will happen once the legislation no longer fully applies."

Monday, December 18, 2017

Nice try, David

Here's David Leonhardt in the NY Times arguing that the payroll tax is now the largest tax paid by most Americans:
It funds Social Security and Medicare, and it has been rising in response to the aging of society and rising medical costs. It increased from 2 percent just after World War II to 6 percent in 1960 to 12.4 percent in 1990, where it is today. It has risen so much that it's now the largest tax that 62 percent of American households pay - larger than the income tax, which gets much more attention.
Yes, it's a flat tax paid equally by everybody in America and everybody is entitled to their promised benefits.  Well, that is, up until 2034 and then you're just going to have to make-do with 75% of what you thought you were going to get.   What's on your mind, David?
[The Republicans'] tax bill doesn't touch the payroll-tax rate - again, the single biggest tax that most households pay.
Yeah, right.  I'm absolutely positive that if Republicans cut the tax that funds Social Security and Medicare, the Democrats wouldn't run ads showing Paul Ryan throwing Grandma over a cliff.  Because they're fair-minded about these policy issues.

Friday, December 15, 2017

And now Dustin Hoffman

I have a soft spot in my heart for Dustin Hoffman because, when I was in college, he insisted that discounted student tickets be made available for his appearance as Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice."  Good show, although it was difficult to imagine him as a Venetian Jew instead of a guy yelling "I'm walkin' here!"  "If you prick me, do I not bleed while I'm walkin' here!?"

Anyway, he's the latest victim of Pervnado: "Three More Women Allege Dustin Hoffman Sexually Abused Them."  

All aboard

It now looks like all the Republicans in the Senate are going to support the tax reform bill.  Fox News: "Rubio, Corker back tax bill as Trump predicts 'monumental' reform will pass next week."

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dire Straits into the Rock and Roll HOF

I can't believe they weren't already in considering that "Sultans of Swing" from their self-titled debut was released in 1978.

Most people are embarrassed by their first concert but mine was Dire Straits at the (then) Brendan Byrne arena in New Jersey.  I saw them around 1985 and the "Brothers in Arms" tour with my buddy Mike.  Great show although at the time I didn't appreciate their full discography.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The unforgivable sin

The Corner: "The Double Standard for Trump Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders."  "Just when you think a media establishment that has lost its collective mind, credibility, and sense of decency since last November can’t go any lower, it does. These sexist, cruel taunts have little to do with Sanders’s job performance or making sure the American public gets the facts from a sometimes fact-averse White House. Viewed from a wider lens, the treatment of Sarah Sanders has little to do with Sanders at all. The vicious ridicule is directed at all conservative women — particularly women from the South — whom the Left will never forgive for helping elect Donald Trump."

Ugh, I'm going to skip the "big" news today

Here's Nancy Pelosi doing what she does best: lie.  Hot Air: "Three Pinocchios For Pelosi On Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act."

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Right hates free speech?

Hit and Run: "The End of Free Speech - In 2017, the left eats its own and the right shows its true colors."
But as the weather cooled, the GOP revealed its true colors. Led by an increasingly vehement and erratic President Donald Trump, the same party that was poised to die on the hill of free speech when it was being threatened by angry progressives was suddenly ready to eliminate First Amendment rights on the football field, revoke citizenship for flag burning, pull broadcast licenses over bad comedy sketches, and expand libel laws to take down annoying members of the media. There are greater threats to speech, it turns out, than a bunch of angry co-eds.
For the record, I don't believe in any of this nonsense.  I'm on record a year ago stating that Colin Kaepernick can protest all he wants but the NFL is under no obligation to provide him with a job.  All that other stuff is the fever dream of Trump who can't suppress his punitive tendencies.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

They can't help themselves

The thing I love about journalists - like Democrat donors on the Mueller team - is that they actually believe they can turn off their bias once they get to their jobs.  But if you assume they're just Democrats with bylines (as Instapundit characterizes), it all makes sense.  The Intercept: "The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened."
But what one should expect with journalistic “mistakes” is that they sometimes go in one direction, and other times go in the other direction. That’s exactly what has not happened here. Virtually every false story published goes only in one direction: to be as inflammatory and damaging as possible on the Trump/Russia story and about Russia particularly. At some point, once “mistakes” all start going in the same direction, toward advancing the same agenda, they cease looking like mistakes.
It's astonishing that the media faces a President who consistently calls it "fake news" and then just as consistently supplies it.

Flashback - Gallup: "Americans' Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low."  This poll was two months before you "got Trump." 

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Liberalism is a hell of a drug

I find it hard to believe that this is the first time Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw has read something by Paul Krugman.  The naivete of this statement is stunning; he must be reiterating what everybody already knows:
Paul seems to take the position that unless you agree with him about the tax bill, you are unprincipled. In the world as I see it, reasonable people can disagree, and progress is best made when people do not question the moral rectitude of others simply because they hold different opinions.
Here's a reminder that the New York Times ombudsman found that Krugman shades the truth:
Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults.
Well, his mindset is that he has his opinion and you're wrong.  Must be fun at parties.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Debt forever

Hit and Run: "Who's Ready for Some Trillion-Dollar Republican Deficits?"  "And now, after another Obama-era doubling of the debt, and the successful removal of Democrats from federal power, Republicans are ushering in a new era of…would you believe trillion-dollar deficits?"

Skynet, here we come!

Ars Technica: "DeepMind AI needs mere 4 hours of self-training to become a chess overlord."

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

You had one job

Hot Air: "Remember Our Yuuuge Trump Scoop Yesterday? Well …."  "For the second time in a week, a major media outlet has blown its coverage of Trump with shoddy reporting and a lack of editorial oversight." 

It is inexplicable when you have a President who constantly talks about "fake news" and then the mainstream media falls into the same trap over and over again.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

High infidelity

Of course, I saw the 2007 movie "I Am Legend" first but recently I picked up the book at a library book sale; just finished it last night.  Here are all the similarities between the movie and the book:

There's a character named Robert Neville.

That's about it.  When I was done, it was bizarre to think the movie was based on the book: the setting, themes, characters and story are only peripherally related.  It would have been less jarring to read about the Joads heading out to California.

Monday, December 04, 2017

There is no collusion

USA Today: "If Michael Flynn's 'crime' is all Robert Mueller has, it is time to move on."

I've been involved in a comment war on the local newspaper's web site with people who fervently believe that every day will be the day Mueller releases his bombshell that will bring down Trump.

The man with a plan

Hot Air links to a CNN article: "FBI Agent Dismissed From Russiagate Probe For Bias Altered Language In Comey’s Clearing Of Hillary Clinton."

From the legally parlous "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless" on the way to "honest mistake."

Extra - A lot more from Ace.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

R.I.P. America

PJ Media: "5 Absurd Overreactions to the Senate Passing Tax Reform."

Allowing Americans to keep a little more of their income = mass murder.

Is it ever

Daily Beast: "SNL’s Toothless Trump Schtick Is Tired as Hell - After a record-breaking, Emmy-winning season, ‘Saturday Night Live’ is struggling to get laughs with its unimaginative Trump-bashing skits."

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Something I missed last night

I confess: I stayed up until 2am watching C-Span to see if the Republicans would finally pass the tax reform bill.  The Democrats' point man was Oregon senator Ron Wyden who did nothing to dispel the notion that the Dem leadership is full of old-timers; the man looks like death warmed over.

But my glee should have been doubled.  The Hill: "Senate GOP repeals ObamaCare mandate."  Thus ends the thing I always hated the most about Obamacare: forcing Americans to buy something.