Friday, August 31, 2012

Eurocrash

Remember, in the Old World this is considered normal:
Euro-area unemployment rose to a record and inflation quickened more than economists forecast as rising energy costs threaten to deepen the economic slump.
The jobless rate in the economy of the 17 nations using the euro was 11.3 percent in July, the same as in June after that month’s figure was revised higher, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That’s the highest since the data series started in 1995. Inflation accelerated to 2.6 percent in August from 2.4 percent in the prior month, an initial estimate showed in a separate report. That’s faster than the 2.5 percent median forecast of 31 economists in a Bloomberg survey. …
The European Central Bank, which will publish its latest economic projections next week, said in June that the euro-area economy may shrink 0.1 percent this year, with inflation averaging 2.4 percent. The ECB aims to keep annual gains in consumer prices just below zero.
As Marco Rubio said at the Republican Convention, this is what people come to America to get away from...

CIA Coda

Well, this won't make some people happy:
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced Thursday that no one would be prosecuted for the deaths of a prisoner in Afghanistan in 2002 and another in Iraq in 2003, eliminating the last possibility that any criminal charges will be brought as a result of the brutal interrogations carried out by the C.I.A.

Mr. Holder had already ruled out any charges related to the use of waterboarding and other methods that most human rights experts consider to be torture. His announcement closes a contentious three-year investigation by the Justice Department and brings to an end years of dispute over whether line intelligence or military personnel or their superiors would be held accountable for the abuse of prisoners in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The closing of the two cases means that the Obama administration’s limited effort to scrutinize the counterterrorism programs carried out under President George W. Bush has come to an end. Without elaborating, Mr. Holder suggested that the end of the criminal investigation should not be seen as a moral exoneration of those involved in the prisoners’ treatment and deaths.

“Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths, the department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt,” his statement said. It said the investigation “was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct.”
I agree that it's different when you're in charge. That doesn't excuse the lack of accountability from Holder and Company elsewhere, however.

The Last Protest

The protest movement's "glory days" seem to be over before they even began:
Republican National Convention protesters sobbed in each other’s arms as their weeklong series of protests came to an abrupt and unremarkable end…

Following a fragmented march against the GOP, TheDC’s photo team spoke to several protesters who said they were disappointed by low turnout at protests and the lack of open discussion between protesters and Republican leadership…

Lash, 26, described himself as a “conservative” and “a member of the Libertarian Party for six years” as he sobbed on the shoulder of Mike, a fellow protester.

“I love that we have an anarchist forum here, and I really love us, but I hate that our forum can’t even talk with their conservative forum,” he said. “The police just silence us, the Republicans just silence us. We are just getting silenced everywhere we go. It’s like no one wants to even hear what we have to say.”
It's tough when you don't know where to go...

Credit Chasers

With her country's economy still stagnating, Argentina's semi-hot socialist leader has found a new way to get "revenue":
Argentina just made it more expensive for its people to use credit cards outside the country, and more dangerous for cardholders who aren't paying all the taxes they should.
....

The moves target Argentines who have discovered that by using credit cards outside the country, they can get around increasingly tight currency controls and shelter their money from soaring inflation. Purchases outside Argentina using peso-denominated cards soared 48 percent in June compared to the year before, obligating the central bank to send $289 million out of the country in just one month. Overall capital flight soared to $23 billion in 2011.

AFIP chief Ricardo Etchegaray, the government's top tax collector, presented the moves as populist measures that would only affect the wealthiest Argentines, and mainly when they travel outside the country - a reduced group of 168,000 taxpayers who charged $1.5 billion in the last 18 months.

But a closer look shows the measures go much farther, giving the government powerful new tools to combat widespread tax evasion.

Tax and customs agents now will be able to compare better what Argentines declare to the customs and tax agencies with what their credit card bills say. Before, the reporting requirements applied only to expensive charges of more than 3,000 pesos (about $645). Now, every single purchase by every co-signer must be reported. And if the totals show people are living large while claiming to be paupers, they could get into big trouble.
At the rate things are going in Argentina, they might not have to just claim to be paupers anymore...

Ghosts Of 2000

It's been more than a decade, but it seems Al Gore still can't get over the fact that he lost:
Gore said that many voters who live outside the dozen or so battleground states are cheated by the system that allocates delegates from the state level on a winner-take-all basis. He called for presidential elections to be determined by the popular vote.

“I’ve seen how these states are written off and ignored, and people are effectively disenfranchised in the presidential race. And I really do now think it is time to change that,” Gore said on Current TV, an independent cable network that he co-founded.
....

Gore said he supported the Electoral College even after the 2000 election, in which he won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote by 271-266 to George W. Bush. He has since had a change of heart.

“The logic is it knits the country together and prevents regional conflicts and goes back through our history with some legitimate concerns,” he said.
I'm sorry, but logic isn't one of Al Gore's strengths...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Make His Day

Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention:

Newspeak

How stupid do you have to be to work for the State Department? Ask the State Department's diversity officer:
Robinson ticked off several common phrases and went on to explain why their roots are racially or culturally insensitive. The result was a list of no-nos that could easily result in some tongue-tied U.S. diplomats, particularly in an administration that swaps "war on terror" for "overseas contingency operation" and once shied away from using the word "terrorism."

For instance, Robinson warned, "hold down the fort" is a potentially insulting reference to American Indian stereotypes.

"How many times have you or a colleague asked if someone could 'hold down the fort?'" he wrote. "You were likely asking someone to watch the office while you go and do something else, but the phrase's historical connotation to some is negative and racially offensive."

He explained: "To 'hold down the fort' originally meant to watch and protect against the vicious Native American intruders. In the territories of the West, Army soldiers or settlers saw the 'fort' as their refuge from their perceived 'enemy,' the stereotypical 'savage' Native American tribes."

He singled out another phrase, "Going Dutch," as a "negative stereotype portraying the Dutch as cheap."

And "rule of thumb," he wrote, can according to women's activists refer "to an antiquated law, whereby the width of a husband's thumb was the legal size of a switch or rod allowed to beat his wife."

Further, he explained, "If her bruises were not larger than the width of his thumb, the husband could not be brought to court to answer for his behavior because he had not violated the 'rule of thumb.'"
I'd call this retarded, except that the mentally disabled might be offended...

Don't Ask Why

Jay Carney can't seem to explain why incomes are down:

The "C" Word

Chris Matthews makes the claim that actually naming Obama's hometown is somehow racist:

Welfare Reform Redux

Mitt Romney's wrong-except when he's right:
It is striking that everyone who actually knows something about the 1996 welfare reform law says that Romney’s ad is accurate.

One of the principal authors of the 1996 welfare reform, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, and Douglas Besharov, who advised Hillary Clinton on the 1996 welfare reform law, say Romney’s ad is accurate.

Andrew Grossman, also of Heritage, produced something the MSM “fact checkers” avoid: a specific and detailed explanation of how the new waivers will allow states to evade the work requirements.

Even Ron Haskins, one of the reform bill’s authors now at the liberal Brookings Institution — cited far and wide for “blasting” Romney’s ad — doesn’t deny the Obama administration plans to waive the work requirements. He just says he supports waivers for “job training.” That’s not disputing the accuracy of Romney’s ads.
Spinning seems to be harder for them to do these days...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dirty Work

Somebody's got to do it:
A document the National Education Association filed with the U.S. Department of Labor in 2011 indicates that the teachers union donated $100,000 to Media Matters For America nearly two years ago, describing it as a payment for “public relations costs.” In the months that followed, Media Matters’ online coverage of teachers unions increased, focusing largely on attacking the Fox News Channel and other media outlets it considers “conservative” in nature.
....

NEA spokesman Steven Grant told TheDC that “the Media Matters support is not reported as chargeable for agency fee purposes.” But his union’s non-member fee payers have not yet seen the legally required statement of expenses covering the 2010-2011 school year.

That paperwork is due during the 2012-2013 year, said National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorney Milton Chappell, and it shouldn’t include the Media Matters contribution. “The United States Supreme Court has held that both political and public relations expenses are nonchargeable to nonmembers,” Chappell said.

Grant told TheDC via email that “the National Education Association (NEA) supports Media Matters for America and its work to monitor, analyze, and correct misinformation and misleading coverage of public education and other issues important to NEA members.”

He did not answer when asked if any other nonprofit organizations provide his union with public relations services in exchange for financial support. He also declined to state what specific services Media Matters has provided to the NEA in exchange for the $100,000 first disclosed in “Shadowbosses.”
Don't want to upset the apple cart too much, after all...

The Hurricane Campaign

Obama campaigns while New Orleans drowns:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Monday sent a letter to President Obama saying the federal government was not doing enough to help Louisiana cover the expenses it’s taking on in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac…
The action by Obama makes federal funding to the state available immediately, but Jindal said it “only provides for direct federal assistance” and doesn’t “provide for reimbursement of expenses that the state is taking to prepare for the storm.”
“The State’s expenditures for emergency protective measures are already approximately $8,000,000 and exceed the State of Louisiana’s threshold when making a request for a major disaster declaration,” the letter continued.
You're doing a heck of a job, Barack...

Insanity On Parade

The lunatics have officially taken over the asylum:
First it was MSNBC treating convention speakers Artur Davis, Mia Love, and Ted Cruz like nonpersons. And now it’s Yahoo! Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian getting caught on an ABC webcast saying Mitt Romney would be “happy to have a party when black people drown.”

Chalian, not surprisingly, was fired almost immediately when the word got out, but the climate in which he would make such an insane statement is very much alive and well. Why would anyone dream of saying such a thing in a semi-public situation if he didn’t feel safe and among friends?

The left/liberal need to think Republicans and conservatives racists is more than just projection. At this point, it is nothing short of a mental illness. It is so far divorced from reality, it has to be pathological. No longer are these people able to observe reality with anything close to impartiality. We are not in the world of politics, ladies and gentlemen. We are in the world Freud, Jung, Adler, and people bouncing off walls.
Liberalism is a mental disorder! But that's been known for years...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

They Live

ACORN hasn't really gone away:
Many of ACORN’s affiliates, allies, and old chapters remain active under different names—and at least two have received federal dollars—despite the left-wing community-organizing group’s official dissolution and ban on receiving federal funds, according to a new report.

Cause of Action, a nonprofit government watchdog group, recently identified 174 active or rebranded ACORN affiliates, as well as organizations that share former ACORN staff.

The groups shared the same physical location, leadership or staff, or tax ID number as old ACORN chapters, Cause of Action said.

At least two of the groups, Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) and Mutual Housing Association of New York (MHANY), have received federal dollars. According to MHANY, it receives funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Fannie Mae.

“It’s a serious concern because, as we stated in our letter to the IRS, it has been engaging in political activity,” Cause of Action executive director Dan Epstein told the Free Beacon. “We have concerns that these rebranded groups are using the same model that ACORN essentially trademarked: getting tax-exempt funds and using them for political purposes.”
I guess it always helps to have thugs in reserve...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Un Warren-ted Behavior

When Democrats attack:
Massachusetts Republicans have released a video that they claim shows an aide for Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren physically assaulting an employee of the Massachusetts GOP -- but Warren's campaign says the man featured was a cab driver, not a member of Warren's staff.
....

The video shows the person with Warren knocking down the camera of the GOP video tracker, though it does not clearly show a punch being thrown. The man, after knocking down the camera, tells the cameraman repeatedly to "get out of my face."
Warren spokeswoman Julie Edwards released the following statement in response: "Elizabeth did not see what happened. The photographer has a right to film in public locations, and the campaign had allowed him to film the entirety of Elizabeth's event. The confrontation was wrong."
Here is the video in question:

Food Stamp Stereotypes

Newt Gingrich calls Chris Matthews out over his liberal racism:



Hatebook

More evidence of that left-wing tolerance we've all heard so much about:
A Philadelphia blogger is behind a Facebook page calling for the death of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and another page supporting two alleged cop killers.

The page calling for violence against Romney garnered 27 "likes" and remained up for 17 days before coming down on Monday, according to the Washington Free Beacon. It and another page targeting Romney's vice presidential pick, Paul Ryan, was created by blogger Joshua Scott Albert, who drew the attention of the Secret Service, according to a spokesman.

"We are aware of it and we are taking appropriate investigative steps," Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told FoxNews.com.

Donovan said Albert could potentially face prosecution, if the page is deemed more than an ill-advised lark.

"People have a right to free speech, but we have to determine what their intent is," Donovan said.
I think the intent of the insane is pretty clear...

The Righteous Hurricane

Maybe God is a Republican, after all:
Samuel L. Jackson on Monday tweeted it was "unfair" that Tropical Storm Isaac had spared the GOP convention in Tampa and appeared to be heading for New Orleans.

Jackson said in a profanity-filled tweet that he was "not understanding God's plan" given the fact that the storm was not disrupting the Republican gathering.

"Unfair s---," the Oscar-nominated actor known for his colorful language said on Twitter.

"GOP spared by Isaac! NOLA prolly f----- again!"

Less than a half-hour later, Jackson apologized for the earlier tweet, writing that it had stirred up a hornet's nest. "Apologies to God, Tampa, da GOP& Isaac(sp)! Who played the Race card?!," he said on Twitter.
Indeed. After all, what would Nick Fury think?

"You Know You Want Us"

They're just here to help:
“Given that only 15 percent of you turn to government assistance in tough times, we want to make sure you know about benefits that could help you,” USA.gov announced today. The ”government made easy’ website has created a “help for difficult financial times” page for people to learn more about the programs.
....

“Government assistance comes in different forms—from unemployment checks and food assistance to credit counseling and medical treatment,” USA.gov reminded readers.
I wonder if things like this have something to do with the lack of enthusiasm for government support...

Tampa Power

Roger Kimball has some words of advice:
I have no idea who is ultimately responsible for the unpleasant and unnecessary security nightmare that has been assembled in Tampa. Knowing the Obama administration as I do, I would not put it past them to have had a hand in in it. But before the Republican love fest starts in earnest — and let me say I am intending to emit as much good cheer as anyone — it is worth pausing to acknowledge that the unseemly growth of government is as much a Republican problem as it is a Democratic problem. Of course, one needs to be careful. We live in a dangerous world. There are a lot of bad guys out there who mean us, and our leaders, ill. But the most effective security is usually the least obtrusive. Over the last couple of decades we have let our politicians arrogate more and more of the trappings of despotic power to themselves. It’s unattractive and, I’d say, downright un-American. I hope that when Mitt Romney becomes President, he will do something about it.
It didn't help that neither Obama or Bush did...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Don't Vote For Me, Argentina

Bad news: Argentina's semi-hot socialist in chief isn't doing so well these days:
The popularity of the 59-year-old Peronist -- who is part of a bloc of left-leaning South American leaders including Evo Morales of Bolivia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador -- fell by 8.1 percentage points between August and July alone.

The international bond market has shunned Argentina since its 2002 sovereign debt default and subsequent embrace of policies that emphasize state intervention in the markets and heavy government spending meant to stoke economic growth.

As recently as September last year, a month before winning her second term, Fernandez had 64.1 popularity while campaigning on promises of deepening the interventionist policy model of her late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner.

Since then the economy has slowed, and the poll suggests most people are not buying Fernandez's argument that external factors, such as Europe's financial mess, are mostly to blame.

Argentina's economic activity was flat in June, according to the official EMAE index, which is a close proxy for gross domestic product.

Of those surveyed by Management and Fit, 44.5 percent said government policy was the main cause of the stagnation. Only 8.0 percent blamed it on spillover from sluggish world growth.
Scapegoating doesn't always work...

Money Talks

Via the Weekly Standard, is Obama getting desperate?

Maybe Romney is right after all...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Riders On The Storm

Does this mean that God really is a Democrat, after all?
Republicans announced Saturday that they had effectively canceled the first day of its convention for safety concerns associated with an impending hurricane.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement that “the Republican National Convention will convene on Monday August 27th and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, August 28th.”
That move essentially postpones the activities of the first of four scheduled days of the convention. But Priebus said in a conference call with reporters that the details of the revised schedule were not yet settled, and could be announced as soon as Sunday.due to the approaching storm. The convention will be gavelled in and out, with the schedule being shifted to the remaining three days.
Art least now they can't complain about lack of coverage.

The New Secessionism

What would be the downside of liberal seccessionist fantasies?
If your overriding objective is to have a more left-wing federal government, it’s hard to deny that southern secession would accomplish that goal for the remainder of the United States. The nonsouthern electorate is significantly to the left of the present total US voting population (which of course includes the South). Otherwise, Thompson’s position is dubious at best. In recent decades, the southern states have had higher economic growth and income growth than the North, and many northerners – including even many African-Americans – have voted with their feet for the South because of its greater economic opportunities, lower taxes and regulations, and much cheaper home prices (caused in large part by looser zoning restrictions in southern cities). Without the South, the US would lose a great deal of its economic dynamism.
In other words, they'd be the Europe to the South's America...

The Old Grey Borg

From the NY Times' own public editor:
The Times is hardly transparent. A reader still has to work very hard to find any Times policies online (though some are tucked away there), and there is still no place where Times editors speak on the issues. As for humility, well, The Times is Lake Wobegon on steroids (everybody’s way above average). I don’t remember many autopsies in which, as we assembled over the body, anyone conceded that maybe this could have been done differently.
....

I also noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.

When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.
Maybe that explains the lack of humility...

One Giant Leap

RIP, Neil Armstrong:
Mr. Armstrong died after complications from cardiovascular procedures, according to a statement from his family. The statement did not say where he died. He lived in Cincinnati.

Mr. Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, capping the most daring of the 20th century’s scientific expeditions. His first words after setting foot on the surface are etched in history books and the memories of those who heard them in a live broadcast.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” Mr. Armstrong said.
Landing on the Moon was a signature achievement for humanity. Here he is, taking that famous step:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Let Freedom Online

The Republicans have taken up the cause of Internet Freedom:
“Internet Freedom”, according to the finalized draft language, would entail the removal of “regulatory barriers” for technology businesses, resistance to international governance of the Internet and the “constitutional protection” of personal data.

“We will remove regulatory barriers that protect outdated technologies and business plans from innovation and competition, while preventing legacy regulation from interfering with new technologies such as mobile delivery of voice and video data as they become crucial components of the Internet ecosystem,” said the finalized draft.

“We will resist any effort to shift control away from the successful multi-stakeholder approach of Internet governance and toward governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations,” it said.

“We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data by third parties,” it said.
Hopefully they'll be serious about it if their guy wins.

Imaginary Friends

He'd probably call them composites:
President Obama's Twitter account has 18.8 million followers -- but more than half of them really don't exist, according to reports.

A new Web tool has determined that 70% of Obama's crowd includes "fake followers," The New York Times reports in a story about how Twitter followers can be purchased.

"The practice has become so widespread that StatusPeople, a social media management company in London, released a Web tool last month called the Fake Follower Check that it says can ascertain how many fake followers you and your friends have," the Times reports.

"Fake accounts tend to follow a lot of people but have few followers," said Rob Waller, a founder of StatusPeople. "We then combine that with a few other metrics to confirm the account is fake."
Under Democratic Party rules, people who don't exist will still be eligible to vote...

Sell 'Em If You've Got 'Em

Score another victory for common sense:
A U.S. appeals court on Friday struck down a law that requires tobacco companies to use graphic health warnings, such as of a man exhaling smoke through a hole in his throat.

The 2-1 decision by the court in Washington, D.C., contradicts another appeals court's ruling in a similar case earlier this year, setting up the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on the dispute.

The court's majority in the latest ruling found the label requirement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration violated corporate speech rights.

"This case raises novel questions about the scope of the government's authority to force the manufacturer of a product to go beyond making purely factual and accurate commercial disclosures and undermine its own economic interest -- in this case, by making 'every single pack of cigarettes in the country mini billboard' for the government's anti-smoking message," wrote Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The FDA "has not provided a shred of evidence" showing that the graphic labels would reduce smoking, Brown added.
That hasn't stopped them from trying, of course...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Last Race

How the mighty have fallen:
With stunning swiftness, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday night it will strip Lance Armstrong of his unprecedented seven Tour de France titles after he dropped his fight against drug charges that threatened his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists of all time.

Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, said Armstrong would also be hit with a lifetime ban on Friday. And under the World Anti-Doping Code, he would lose the bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics as well as any awards, event titles and cash earnings.

Armstrong, who retired last year, effectively dropped his fight by declining to enter USADA's arbitration process - his last option - because he said he was weary of fighting accusations that have dogged him for years. He has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests he passed as proof of his innocence while piling up Tour titles from 1999 to 2005.

"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, `Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now," Armstrong said. He called the USADA investigation an "unconstitutional witch hunt."

"I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999," he said. "The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today - finished with this nonsense."

USADA reacted quickly and treated Armstrong's decision as an admission of guilt, hanging the label of drug cheat on an athlete who was a hero to thousands for overcoming life-threatening testicular cancer and for his foundation's support for cancer research.
A sad day for Armstrong, but if he is guilty, hopefully a lesson for others.

Spin Sanity

A former NPR reporter wants some truth:
“I realized that there is a part of covering Congress, if you’re doing daily coverage, that is actually sort of colluding with the politicians themselves because so much of what I was doing was actually recording and playing what they say or repeating what they say,” Seabrook told POLITICO. “And I feel like the real story of Congress right now is very much removed from any of that, from the sort of theater of the policy debate in Congress, and it has become such a complete theater that none of it is real. … I feel like I am, as a reporter in the Capitol, lied to every day, all day. There is so little genuine discussion going on with the reporters. … To me, as a reporter, everything is spin.”

As a result, Seabrook is trying to do something about it. Her new project is DecodeDC, a website that will feature Seabrook’s blog posts and podcasts that aim to “decipher Washington’s Byzantine language and procedure, sweeping away what doesn’t matter so listeners can focus on what does.”

“We need to stop coddling lawmakers, stop buying their red team, blue team narrative and ask harder questions of them,” Seabrook says in an introductory audio clip.
It would be nice if her colleagues who are still on the job would do this-beginning with the President himself, perhaps?

Closed For The Duration

From the same party that accused Romney of killing cancer patients, comes word that a local cancer treatment center will have to close while the Democrats are in town:
Matthews resident Sue Falco is fighting stage four colon cancer, and says the DNC will force a major cancer treatment center to close. Carolina's Hematology Oncology Associates on South Tryon will close for four days during the DNC, because of security and traffic concerns.

"It's kind of fascinating how an event like this impacts a city," Falco said.

Carolina's Hematology Oncology Associates will have two other locations open around Mecklenburg County during the DNC. An employee says South Tryon patients will be able to receive treatment at the two other locations.

"I'm very fortunate that I can drive myself to and from chemotherapy but I know a lot of people depend on family members who have to drive a distance to get to their therapy," she said.
Well, at least they'll still have other options...

"Have You Heard..."

Isn't this kind of, you know, prejudiced?
On Monday, a "team member" named Laurence De Palma, who lists his location as East Nashville, presented volunteers with some talking points to convince Southern Christian voters they shouldn't vote for a Mormon. The message was available under "Resources" and tagged "persuasion."

"I'm thinking that even though we don't LIKE campaigns to get nasty, we in the south (TN) come to EXPECT it," De Palma began. "What we also know is that we have a very 'rigid' view of Christianity, and apparently, Mormonism isn't anywhere in our views. This could easily win TN/SC/AL/GA, etc."

The post goes on to include brief, oversimplified summaries of Mormon doctrines, framed to clash with evangelical Christianity.
....

President Obama's advisers have consistently pledged not to make Romney's religion part of the campaign, directly or through veiled innuendo.

But Chicago has little control over what messages its grassroots volunteers decide to spread — something the Romney campaign has learned for itself.
And then there are the professional volunteers...

Middle Class Malaise

They're not feeling the non-recovery:
The Associated Press reports that most middle class people feel they have to reduce spending and even fewer feel their hard work will get them ahead in life. Middle class families also feel their children’s future will be the same or worse.

The survey found that 85 percent of the middle class believe it is more difficult now to maintain a standard of living then it was a decade ago.

“The job market is changing, our living standards are falling in the middle, and the middle-income parents are now afraid that their children will be worse off than they are,” Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison economic professor, told The Associated Press.

“These are the disaffected middle class who work hard and play by the rules of society, but increasingly see their situation declining by forces beyond their control. No matter who is president, the climb back up for the middle class and the recovery will be slow and often painful,” Smeeding added.
When there's no recovery, just more of the same, it's even worse...

The Loonie Arm Of The Law

New Hampshire has been known for producing its share of crackpots. Take, for example, this guy:
Szabo is running as a Republican for Hillsborough County Sheriff. But he injected a new issue in the debate when he sent out a press release saying he would arrest anyone performing an abortion.

He took it a step further when asked how far he’d go to stop one.

“Deadly force is the last thing law enforcement should be using, if a citizen’s life is in danger they should be protected,” says Szabo. “If there is no other choice, that’s what’s needed to protect the citizen.”

Republicans called Szabo’s statement, “Irresponsible, outrageous, and inappropriate.”

Democrats said, “Every Republican officeholder and candidate in New Hampshire must condemn and reject this man and his beliefs.”
Neither side has a monopoly on fringe types. Regardless of how one feels, this isn't helpful. Stay home, Mr. Szabo.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Double Dip Income

Only in government can you get fired and still get a paycheck:
In an unusual arrangement, a senior official of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives involved in the controversial gun operation Fast and Furious is receiving his government salary while working full time for the investment bank J.P. Morgan, according to two Republican lawmakers.

In a letter Tuesday to B. Todd Jones, the acting ATF director, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said that Deputy Assistant ATF Director William McMahon, who oversaw the agency’s Western region during the Fast and Furious operation, has been receiving two salaries simultaneously.

The lawmakers said the ATF apparently approved allowing McMahon to remain on paid leave for four or five months while working for the investment bank in order to reach retirement eligibility.

“ATF has essentially facilitated McMahon’s early retirement and ability to double dip for nearly half a year by receiving two full-time paychecks — one from the taxpayer and one from the private sector,” Issa and Grassley wrote.

ATF spokesman Mike Campbell said the agency is reviewing the letter. “Due to privacy act considerations, all we can confirm is that Bill McMahon is still currently employed by ATF,” Campbell said.
Being lazy and corrupt is a full-time job...

Cliff Notes

It's another gloomy fall forecast:
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Wednesday warned the economy will enter a recession next year if the country goes over the so-called fiscal cliff.

In its most dire warning yet about the fiscal cliff, the CBO said the economy would contract by 0.5 percent in calendar year 2013 if the George W. Bush-era tax rates expire and automatic spending cuts are implemented.

Unemployment also would rise from 8.2 percent in 2012 to 9.1 percent next year, the office estimates.

“The stakes of fiscal policy are very high right now,” CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said. He urged Congress to act in September to avoid the fiscal cliff.
This would be a big issue for the Obama campaign-if they were willing to talk about it...

High In The Middle

It seems to be a bad week for photo ops:


Meanwhile, the WaPo has to backpedal. Hey, campaigning in all 57 states is hard work...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Familiar Warning

The forecast is in:
The odds the United States will slip back into recession next year have risen, ratings agency Standard & Poor's said, citing risks from the European debt crisis and budget tightening at year-end.

The US ratings firm raised the chance of the US falling into recession to 25 percent, up from a 20 percent chance estimated in February, as the world's largest economy struggles to recover from a severe 2008-2009 slump.

It also pointed to the looming possibility of the government being forced by existing law to severely cut spending and increase taxes on January 1, the so-called fiscal cliff that would crunch the economy.

"Economic activity has downshifted sharply from earlier this year," S&P said in a report on North American credit conditions amid global uncertainty, dated August 20.

"At the same time, possible contagion from the European debt crisis, the potential so-called 'fiscal cliff', and the risk of a hard landing for China's economy have added greater uncertainty to US economic prospects," it said.
I'm sure that Madeline Albright, et al, will find some way to keep blaming Bush for this...

Hands Off

What the hell is wrong with some people?
According to a video report by CBS Philadelphia, on Monday police in Dover, Del., arrested Tiana Harris, 19, Lisa Parker, 47, and Estefania Myers, 21, after a cell phone video emerged that shows the three watching and encouraging two 3-year-olds to fight each other.
In the video, which police have not released, one child can reportedly be heard crying and yelling, “He’s pinching me,” a complaint that one of the workers answers by declaring, “No pinching, only punching.”
Dover Police Captain Tim Stump told reporters, “Clearly one of the children is crying and does not want to continue on and he is pushed back into the fray by one of the adults.”
Cristyl Slack, one of the parents, says her 4-year-old daughter was in the room when the fight occurred in March and that she have been informed. Another parent is incredulous that such a thing could be permitted to happen, let alone encouraged, while other children in the room looked on.
The three suspects have been charged on multiple counts of assault, endangering the welfare of a minor, reckless endangerment, and conspiracy.
I guess cockfighting wasn't available...

The Other Side Of The Street

Can one man be in two campaigns at once? Apparently so:
Benioff has helped raise more than $500,000 for Obama's re-election effort, and even hosted a $35,800-a-plate fundraiser featuring Stevie Wonder and hip-hop artist Will.i.am.

The founder and CEO of Salesforce.com (CRM) is also an Obama national campaign co-chair, a distinction awarded to select Democratic heavyweights like Rahm Emanuel, Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold.

"I'm squarely a supporter of the president, and he is absolutely the right man for the job," Benioff said Monday.

But the tech executive is also a fan of Ryan -- Mitt Romney's running mate and a rising Republican star. In June, Benioff donated $10,000 to Ryan's political action committee after meeting with the candidate, who at the time had not been named to the GOP ticket and was running for re-election in the House.

How is that possible?

"My approach to politics is that I'm not a Democrat or a Republican. I'm an American and I always support candidates I think are great for the country," Benioff said.
In business, this is what's known as keeping your options open...

Paid Advertising

I guess they had to spend the money somehow:
The Labor Department paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal stimulus funds to a public relations firm to run more than 100 commercials touting the Obama administration’s “green training” job efforts on two MSNBC cable shows, records show.

The commercials ran on MSNBC on shows hosted by Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann in 2009, but the contract didn’t report any jobs created, according to records reviewed recently by The Washington Times.

Spending reports under the federal Recovery Act show $495,000 paid to McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations LLC, which the Labor Department hired to raise awareness “among employers and influencers about the [Job Corps] program’s existing and new training initiatives in high growth and environmentally friendly career areas” as well as spreading the word to prospective Job Corps enrollees.

The firm ultimately negotiated ad buys for “two approved spots” airing 14 times per week for two months on “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” and “The Rachel Maddow Show,” according to a project report, which listed the number zero under a section of the report asking how many jobs had been created through the stimulus contract.

David Williams, president of the nonprofit watchdog Taxpayers Protection Alliance, called the contract “questionable” because it created no jobs and because of the placement of the ads on shows viewed as friendly to the administration’s policies.

“Hiring a PR firm does not create jobs, and this was obviously meant for selling a particular political agenda,” Mr. Williams said. “The placement really reeks of a political ad rather than a job ad, and taxpayers see through this.

“Taxpayers would be a lot happier at the end of the day to see a completed road rather than a bunch of ads on cable television,” he said.
Or to not have had the stimulus created in the first place...

TOTUS Takes Over?

Via Ace of Spades:


Following The Script

How Obama controls the press conferences:
The White House is doing something with its local TV interviews that it could not easily get away with in encounters with the White House press corps, which President Obama has been studiously ignoring: choosing the topic about which President Obama and the reporter will talk.

In interviews with three local TV stations Monday, two from states critical to Obama’s reelection effort, Obama held forth on the possibility of “sequestration” if he and Congress fail to reach a budget deal, allowing him to make his favorite political point that Republicans are willing to cause grievous harm to the economy and jobs in order to protect the rich from tax increases.
....

The reporters were able to ask about other topics. But with their face time with the president limited to under ten minutes, and Obama well rehearsed to discuss at length his favored topic, there was little room for much else to come up.
Which is pretty much the way the President-and much of the media-wants it...

Another Agenda Bites The Dust

Score one for the states:
A federal court has struck down an Environmental Protection Agency rule that forces cuts in soot- and smog-forming power plant emissions that cross state lines, dealing a major blow to the White House’s air quality agenda.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that forces cuts from plants in 28 states in the eastern half of the country, finding that it exceeds EPA’s powers under the Clean Air Act. …
The judges said the Obama administration rule allows EPA to “impose massive emissions reduction requirements on upwind states without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text.”
Several states, including Texas, Alabama and Georgia, challenged the rule alongside the National Mining Association, power companies and other parties. But other states such as New York and Delaware, as well as environmental groups, joined the case in defense of EPA.
Unfortunately for them, it's back to the drawing board.

Forever And Ever

How long will the Democrats keep blaming Bush? Just ask them:

Monday, August 20, 2012

California Scheming

It's another example of how others paid for the former Golden State's failures:
Originally, banks and lenders were supposed to pay 50 percent of the cost of reducing the principal for those whose homes are worth less than their mortgage. But when the banks refused, California took the controversial step of paying the entire amount, up to $100,000.

"We thought, you know, 50-50 was much more attractive and we'd have much more traction with lenders, and it just didn't turn out to work as well as we would have liked," said Diane Richardson, legislative director of the California Housing Finance Agency.

The program, known as the Hardest Hit Housing Market fund, is part of a $7.6 billion federal effort to help underwater homeowners in 18 states. California received $2 billion. But when banks and lenders who service loans refused to write down even a small portion of the negative equity loans, California decided to use the taxpayer money to pay 100 percent of the mortgage reduction.

Richard Green, a professor of real estate at the University of Southern California, said it's not what taxpayers signed up for.

"I think taxpayers would be furious at the idea that everybody gets completely off the hook for this," Green said. "There are people that say, look, I've been a renter all these years, I've been paying my mortgage all these years, why am I bailing out these people who made a bad decision? I think the politics of it are very combustible."
Unfortunately this is a familiar pattern, and not just in California...

Tall Tales

Obama engages in a bit of revisionist capaign history:



That's funny; that's not what he said earlier. How soon they forget...

Downfall In The Show Me State

Todd Akin may be calling it quits:
Missouri Republican Todd Akin has begun moving toward ending his candidacy after his remarks on rape and abortion provoked a firestorm, a top Republican said.

"Akin is taking concrete steps to withdraw by tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.," a senior Republican told BuzzFeed, adding that Akin could still change his mind.

But a Republican close to Akin said his position hasn't changed: He's still in the race.

Tomorrow afternoon is an important deadline: If he files papers to end his candidacy in Jefferson City tomorrow he can end his candidacy unilaterally; after that, he would have to file an application in court.
I guess we'll find out soon enough. There are enough idiots on the other side that the Republicans don't need adding their own into the mix, and many have called Akin on what he said.

The Lady Laughs Last

Remembering Phyllis Diller:
Ms. Diller, a 37-year-old homemaker when she took up comedy, mined her domestic life for material, assuring audiences that she fed Fang and her kids garbage soup and buried her ironing in the backyard. She exuded an image that was part Wicked Witch of the West (a role she actually played in a St. Louis stage production of “The Wizard of Oz”) and part clown.
....

Among Ms. Diller’s few female predecessors was Jean Carroll, sometimes called “the female Milton Berle,” who made numerous appearances in nightclubs and on Ed Sullivan’s variety show, where she mined her marriage and family for laughs. There were others: Minnie Pearl got laughs as an outrageous Southern spinster, Moms Mabley as a raunchily outspoken black philosopher.

But Ms. Diller’s hard-hitting approach to one-liners — inspired by Bob Hope, who became an early champion — was something new for a woman. Her success proved that female comedians could be as aggressive or unconventional as their male counterparts, and leave an audience just as devastated. She cleared the way for the likes of Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen DeGeneres and numerous others.

Although Ms. Diller used writers to help create her act, she estimated that she wrote 75 percent of the jokes herself. Her approach to humor was methodical. “My material was geared toward everyone of all ages and from different backgrounds, and I wanted to hit them right in the middle,” she explained in her autobiography, “Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy” (Tarcher, 2005), written with Richard Buskin. “I didn’t want giggles — I could get those with my looks — I wanted boffs, and I wanted people to get the joke at the same moment and laugh together. That way I could leave everything to my timing.”
And laughs she got. RIP.

Money Talks

Who cares more? It seems that Republicans give more than their supposedly compassionate counterparts:
Red states give more money to charity than blue states, according to a new study on Monday.

The eight states with residents who gave the highest share of their income to charity supported Sen. John McCain in 2008, while the seven states with the least generous residents went for President Barack Obama, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found in its new survey of tax data from the IRS for 2008.

The eight states whose residents gave the highest share of their income — Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Arkansas and Georgia — all backed McCain in 2008. Utah leads charitable giving, with 10.6 percent of income given.

And the least generous states — Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire — were Obama supporters in the last presidential race. New Hampshire residents gave the least share of their income, the Chronicle stated, with 2.5 percent.

“The reasons for the discrepancies among states, cities, neighborhoods are rooted in part in each area’s political philosophy about the role of government versus charity,” the study’s authors noted.
Yes-liberals, especially the wealthy ones, always believe that government (and others) should give more than they themselves do...

The Big Question

Somewhere, Ronald Reagan is saying, "See, I told you so:"
A majority of voters in key 2012 election swing states say they are not better off than they were four years ago; 40% say they are better off. Swing-state voters' assessments of their situation compared with 2008 have varied little since last fall.
....

Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan famously asked Americans, in a 1980 presidential debate, if they were better off than four years ago. Shortly thereafter, he decisively defeated incumbent Jimmy Carter in the presidential election.

The question is relevant again in 2012 as Barack Obama seeks a second term as president with the economy still struggling to recover from the 2008-2009 recession. The fact that the majority of voters in the crucial states that will decide the election believe they are not better off is a challenge for the Obama campaign. That includes 50% of independent voters in the swing states, in addition to 36% of Democrats and 84% of Republicans saying they are not better off.
This might help explain why Team Obama seems to be having problems these days...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Whistle While You Wait

Julian Assange speaks:
Julian Assange demanded that the United States drop its "witch hunt" against WikiLeaks on Sunday as he made his first public appearance after months effectively confined to the Embassy of Ecuador in London.

"As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all our societies," the founder of website said to cheers from his supporters outside the embassy.

"The U.S. war on whistle-blowers must end," Assange said, calling for the freedom of Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier suspected of giving hundreds of thousands of pages of secret American government documents to Assange for publication on WikiLeaks.

Assange also referred to The New York Times, the Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab and the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot in his 10-minute appearance.

The founder of WikiLeaks spoke from a balcony at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where he has been holed up since June.
It's always easier when you can hide in plain sight...

Because Fluff Matters

Why People and Entertainment Weekly are important, according to Team Obama:
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter argued Sunday that People Magazine is “equally important” as the White House press corps.

“That is where a lot of Americans get their news,” Cutter said.

Mainstream media outlets have criticized President Obama in recent weeks for refusing to take questions from the White House press corps. Obama has not taken questions from the press corps in eight weeks, but he has been interviewed by People and “Entertainment Tonight.”

Obama answered questions like “What would your super power be, if you were a super hero” in a Friday interview with KOBFM in New Mexico. He also mispronounced the name of rapper Nas, an avowed Obama fan.
Ah, yes-the important issues...

Hit The Road, Jack

Heh. Considering that just three years ago we were treated to the image of Obama as FDR on the cover of TIME, this is a big turnaround (via the Daily Beast):


Obamascam

Who benefits from Obamacare? Government flunkies:
Here are some very disturbing details from the Pueblo Chieftan in Colorado.

Eye-popping salaries proposed for employees of the health benefits exchange being formed in Colorado grabbed the attention of Republicans and Democrats alike on Thursday. A subcommittee of the board charged with establishing the exchange is considering a draft budget for its federal grant application that would create 24 positions and pay those employees a total of more than $3 million annually to manage the health care cooperative. The average annual salary of a health benefits exchange employee would exceed $125,000 under the plan. …“We have executive directors (of state departments) that are in charge of thousands of people here that make significantly less than that,” said Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs. …A Democrat on the committee overseeing enactment of health benefits exchange legislation in the state agreed that the figures are worthy of scrutiny. …Under the health care overhaul, states were required to establish exchanges. Colorado authorized its exchange this year in SB200.

Keep in mind that the $125,000 figure is an average, which means many of the bureaucrats will be getting much bigger paychecks.
It's good to be the Obamacare kings...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

No Questions Until Election Day, Please

Why President Obama is avoiding the press:
Well, in fairness not all the press. As Ace of Spades notes, he has been granting interviews to ESPN, Entertainment Weekly, and People magazine. He has also taken questions from regional media. Consider the hard-hitting questions he fielded in this interview with radio station KOBNFM in New Mexico on Friday. (The first question, which is not clear from the context, is which color of chili pepper he favors.)
It is obvious that the president’s strategy is to continue to duck the legitimate press for the 80 days remaining until the election.
After which he'll presumably be willing to answer all the questions he wants as to why he lost...

Putin And The Pussy Cats

The sad story of tough guy Putin versus Russia's most famous girl band:
They are going to prison for two years, not for causing an actual riot, but for briefly invading a Moscow cathedral to play an anti-Putin number. The prosecution seemed to regard their performance as an episode of religious blasphemy, calling witnesses shocked that they would wear short skirts in a church -- and right before Lent, no less.

Their real goal, however, was to disparage the authoritarian-minded president, and that's what got them in trouble. Human Rights Watch said, "The case against the Pussy Riot band members seems aimed not at protecting public order and security but at setting boundaries for political criticism."

To Putin, Western leaders may seem weak because they routinely tolerate the most outrageous insults and vicious attacks. But they are really demonstrating the strength that lies in democratic processes. American presidents are strong enough not to be fearful of protests and dissent.
Well, some American presidents, anyway...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Steady On Upward

It's the end of another non-recovery summer:
Close to 90 percent of states saw their unemployment rates rise in July, a potentially worrisome development for President Obama’s reelection campaign.

The Labor Department reported Friday that 44 states in all saw their jobless rate go up, with four states seeing no change at all. Only Idaho and Rhode Island — along with Washington, D.C. — saw their rates drop last month.
....

Even though the unemployment rate remains north of 8 percent, some analysts expected Obama to get a boost because many of the swing states that both campaigns are targeting have jobless rates below the national average.

But among the dozen or so states that both parties are contesting, only Ohio — which saw its rate stay at 7.2 percent — did not see an increase in July.
It says something about the state of our economy when a steady high unemployment rate is considered a "boost..."

Forbidden History

In Britain, it's come to this:
British schools are increasingly dropping the Jewish Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, according to a report entitled, Teaching Emotive and Controversial History, commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills.

British teachers are also reluctant to discuss the medieval Crusades, in which Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem: lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.

In an effort to counter "Islamophobia" in British schools, teachers now are required to teach "key Muslim contributions such as Algebra and the number zero" in math and science courses, even though the concept of zero originated in India.
Ignorance is bliss, for those who teach it...

Cleaning Up Our Act

America is getting greener:
In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for "cautious optimism" about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that "ultimately people follow their wallets" on global warming.

"There's a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources," said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.
And if it comes from the free market, all the better.

Hiding In Plain Sight

What the naming of names can reveal:
A Democratic committee chairman overrode his own subpoena three years ago in an investigation of former subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. to exclude records showing that he, other House members and congressional aides got VIP discounted loans from the company, documents show.

The procedure to keep the names secret was devised by Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y. In 2003, the 15-term congressman had two loans processed by Countrywide's VIP section, which was established to give discounts to favored borrowers.

The effort at secrecy was reversed when Towns' Republican successor as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, California Rep. Darrell Issa, issued a second subpoena. It yielded Countrywide records identifying four current House members, a former member and five staff aides whose loans went through the VIP unit. Towns was on the list.

Issa, in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday, said, "It was a long fight to expose how Countrywide used its VIP program to advance its business and policy goals."
There certainly seem to be a lot of greasy palms in the Democratic Party these days...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Friends In Low Places

Who says crime-and cronyism-doesn't pay?
A criminal investigation into the collapse of the brokerage firm MF Global and the disappearance of about $1 billion in customer money is now heading into its final stage without charges expected against any top executives.

After 10 months of stitching together evidence on the firm’s demise, criminal investigators are concluding that chaos and porous risk controls at the firm, rather than fraud, allowed the money to disappear, according to people involved in the case.
....

In the most telling indication yet that the MF Global investigation is winding down, federal authorities are seeking to interview the former chief of the firm, Jon S. Corzine, next month, according to the people involved in the case. Authorities hope that Mr. Corzine, who is expected to accept the invitation, will shed light on the actions of other employees at MF Global.

Those developments indicate that federal prosecutors do not expect to file criminal charges against the former New Jersey governor. Mr. Corzine has not yet received assurances that he is free from scrutiny, but two rounds of interviews with former employees and a review of thousands of documents have left prosecutors without a case against him, say the people involved in the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
I'm sure they'll be happy taking the fall for their boss...

Freedom Of Suppress

How's that revolution working out?
Several recent moves by government authorities against Egyptian journalists have drawn sharp criticism from the news media and led to accusations that the country’s new Islamist president is willing to tolerate — if not employ — the same heavy-handed tactics used by former President Hosni Mubarak to stifle dissent.


Last week, the authorities suspended a satellite television channel that featured a program whose host is Tawfik Okasha, a strident opponent of President Mohamed Morsi, a former leader in the Muslim Brotherhood. On Saturday, the authorities confiscated copies of the daily newspaper Al Dustour, which has published regular condemnations of the Islamist group.

In other cases, editors have been faulted for tamping down criticism of Egypt’s new rulers. And on Wednesday, for the second time in a week, the editor of a state-owned daily newspaper was accused of censoring writers who wrote columns critical of the Brotherhood.

While many people here argue that new media figures like Mr. Okasha went too far — seeming to threaten Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood with violence on a recent show — the government’s actions have revived concerns about the methods the Islamists are willing to use to strengthen their hold on power.

“What’s happening is very serious,” said Hani Shukrallah, the editor of Ahram Online, an English-language site. “We’ve got an organization that is not interested in democratizing the press, or freeing the press,” he said, referring to the Brotherhood. “It’s interested in taking it over.”
Meet the new Egypt, same as the old one...

The Thrill Is Gone

2012 just isn't turning out like 2008:
It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. The good “Liberals” (i.e., the illiberal liberals) who voted for Obama first time around, the mostly white, privileged products of elite schools and progressive attitudes: they were supposed to be on the winning side of all such controversies. They were the enlightened ones. Republicans, the people who voted for John McCain and —Ohmygod! — Sarah Palin: they didn’t go to the right schools, they didn’t ingest the proper balance of gluten free, free-range, macrobiotic, whatever: they wore the wrong sorts of cloths, had funny hairdos, owned guns and (often) were God-fearing people who took religion seriously. Such people were less objects of pity than of contempt, though when their politics were not on view they provided vast fodder for interventionist government programs aimed at transforming these unfortunates into consensus-chic, testosterone-free liberals.
They are no longer the ones they were waiting for...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Exit The Young

Younger voters seem to be abandoning Obama:
Pollster John Zogby of JZ Analytics told Secrets Tuesday that Romney received 41 percent in his weekend poll of 1,117 likely voters, for the first time crossing the 40 percent mark. What’s more, he said that Romney is the only Republican of those who competed in the primaries to score so high among 18-29 year olds.
“This is the first time I am seeing Romney’s numbers this high among 18-29 year olds,” said Zogby. “This could be trouble for Obama who needs every young voter he can get.” …
In his latest poll, Obama receives just 49 percent of the youth vote when pitted against Romney, who received 41 percent.
The enthusiasm just doesn't seem to be there these days:

20th Century Man

Joe Biden, living in the past (literally):



Crank out those Model T's!

Bullets For The Elderly?

Well, in all fairness, they are called a "Security administration":
A solicitation posted by the SSA on the FedBizOpps website asks for contractors to supply 174,000 rounds of “.357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point pistol ammunition.”

An online ammunition retailer describes the bullets as suitable “for peak performance rivaling and sometimes surpassing handloads in many guns,” noting that the ammo is “a great personal defense bullet.”

The synopsis to the solicitation adds that the ammunition is to be shipped to 41 locations within 60 days of purchase. A separate spreadsheet lists those locations, which include the Social Security headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland as well as major cities across the country including Los Angeles, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Denver, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle.
Obviously they need to protect themselves from mobs of angry grandparents...

Weakest Of the Weak

The "recovery" limps forward:
The recession that ended three years ago this summer has been followed by the feeblest economic recovery since the Great Depression.

Since World War II, 10 U.S. recessions have been followed by a recovery that lasted at least three years. An Associated Press analysis shows that by just about any measure, the one that began in June 2009 is the weakest.

The ugliness goes well beyond unemployment, which at 8.3 percent is the highest this long after a recession ended.

Economic growth has never been weaker in a postwar recovery. Consumer spending has never been so slack. Only once has job growth been slower.
But hey, Obama is still a wizard!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chains Of Fools

Mitt Romney finally got angry:
“Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago,” Romney said while campaigning in Ohio…
“His campaign and his surrogates have made wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the Presidency. Another outrageous charge came a few hours ago in Virginia. And the White House sinks a little bit lower,” Romney said.
“This is an election in which we should be talking about the path ahead, but you don’t hear any answers coming from President Obama’s re-election campaign. That’s because he’s intellectually exhausted, out of ideas, and out of energy. And so his campaign has resorted to diversions and distractions, to demagoguing and defaming others. This is an old game in politics; what’s different this year is that the president is taking things to a new low.”
For the record, this is what he was referring to. It's enough to make one wonder if Biden really is that crazy, isn't it?

Dirty Packages

What happens when nannystaters get their way:
Australia's highest court upheld the world's toughest law on cigarette promotion on Wednesday despite protests from tobacco companies that argued the value of their trademarks will be destroyed under new rules that will strip all logos from cigarette packs.

The decision by the High Court means that starting in December, tobacco companies will no longer be able to display their distinctive colors, brand designs and logos on cigarette packs. The packs will instead come in a uniformly drab shade of olive and feature graphic health warnings and images of cancer-riddled mouths, blinded eyeballs and sickly children. The government hopes the new packs will make smoking as unglamorous as possible.

"This is a victory for all those families who have lost someone to a tobacco-related illness. For anyone who has ever lost someone, this is for you," Attorney General Nicola Roxon and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said in a joint statement. "No longer when a smoker pulls out a packet of cigarettes will that packet be a mobile billboard."

British American Tobacco, Philip Morris International, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International are worried that the law will set a global precedent that could slash billions of dollars from the values of their brands. They challenged the new rules on the grounds that they violate intellectual property rights and devalue their trademarks.

The cigarette makers argued that the government would unfairly benefit from the law by using cigarette packs as a platform to promote its own message, without compensating the tobacco companies. Australia's constitution says the government can only acquire the property of others on "just terms."
Fortunately, our own courts have kept this from happening here-at least for now...

Failure Is Our Business

Leave it to the Obama asministration to call this a success story:
The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That's 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.
In a monthly report sent to Congress on Friday, the Obama administration boosted its forecast of expected losses by more than $3.3 billion to almost $25.1 billion, up from $21.7 billion in the last quarterly update.
The report may still underestimate the losses. The report covers predicted losses through May 31, when GM's stock price was $22.20 a share.
On Monday, GM stock fell $0.07, or 0.3 percent, to $20.47. At that price, the government would lose another $850 million on its GM bailout.
The government still holds 500 million shares of GM stock and needs to sell them for about $53 each to recover its entire $49.5 billion bailout. At the current price, the Treasury would lose more than $16 billion on its GM bailout.
The steep decline in GM's stock price has indefinitely delayed the Treasury's sale of its remaining 26 percent stake in GM. No sale will take place before the November election.
Remember, he wanted to do this for everyone else, too...

Blogging In The Years: 2005

Senator Barack Obama challenges President Bush over Medicare reform:



It would be interesting to see what he, as a liberal Democrat, would have to say about Medicare reform if he were President...

Animal Agency

So, Democrats, how's that war on men going?
The number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement workers who claimed they faced retaliation from superiors has more than doubled since Janet Napolitano took over, according to data obtained by The Post.

The stats — which also show an increase in sexual-harassment claims — come as James Hayes, a senior law-enforcement official, moves ahead with a lawsuit charging he faced a “hostile work environment” in which male employees face discrimination under Napolitano, who oversees ICE as head of Homeland Security.

Hayes, who also said higher-ups created a “frat-house” atmosphere, claims agency bosses tried to intimidate him by opening several investigations of his own conduct after he filed a complaint.

Agency-wide, the number of “reprisal” claims jumped from 43 in 2009 to 63 in 2010 and then hit 103 in 2011, as reported under the “No Fear Act,” which offers anti-discrimination and whistle-blower protections to federal workers.

The number of sexual-harassment claims jumped from two in 2009 to 10 in 2011, and the number of “nonsexual”-harassment claims rose from 37 in 2009 to 81 in 2011.
To keep her own job, Janet Napolitano must keep others from doing theirs...

The Quicksand Of Care

The law of unintended consequences and its impact on enforcement of Obamacare:
Public officials, at both the federal and the state level, are grappling with the Herculean task of implementing the law. Its internal complexity and flawed design make it a program that was built to fail. The most recent evidence of the ACA’s administrative breakdown comes via the New York Times in a story by Robert Pear—no enemy of Obamacare—who reports that the fine print of the ACA could leave the dependents of millions of low-income employees without coverage from either their employers or the ACA’s insurance exchanges.

Health Insurance by Administration

The ACA commands that employees who receive “affordable” healthcare from their employers—defined as care that costs less than 9.5 percent of income—are not eligible to participate in either the ACA’s state or federal insurance exchanges. As Pear notes, these exchanges operate as insurance “supermarkets” that allow prospective enrollees to compare the benefits of the various healthcare plans they will receive a large federal subsidy to buy. But that task is not as easy as it sounds. The devil lies in the details.

The statutory language requires an employer to offer proper healthcare to “its full-time employees (and their dependents)” in order to avoid the ACA’s penalties. The status of “dependents” under this ruling is unclear, and the IRS lawyers, in the Obama administration no less, have interpreted this provision to say that so long as the cost of coverage to the individual employee is below that 9.5 threshold, the employee is not eligible to seek out family coverage under the exchanges. The cost of covering dependents is ignored in making these calculations.
That seems to be the overall rule with regards to how the Obama administration has been handling the health care law...

Forecasting For Trouble

Why would the National Weather Service want ammo?
A solicitation which appears on the FedBizOpps website asks for 16,000 rounds of .40 S&W jacketed hollow point (JHP) bullets, noted for their strength, to be delivered to locations in Ellsworth, Maine, and New Bedford, Mass.

A further 6,000 rounds of S&W JHP will be sent to Wall, New Jersey, with another 24,000 rounds of the same bullets heading to the weather station in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The solicitation also asks for 500 paper targets to be delivered to the same locations in Maine, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

The National Weather Service is is one of six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The solicitation requires a response by August 21.
Maybe they're literally going to declare war on the drought...

Lunatics Wanted

Times are tough all over:
pparently low on bombers, al-Qaeda is running a (short-term) employment advertisement on its Shumukh al-Islam Internet forum. Under the heading “Area of activity: The planet Earth,” the ad seeks jihadists to carry out suicide attacks.

Applicants must be Muslim, mentally mature, dedicated, able to listen, and utterly committed to completing their mission, the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Tuesday.

Several email addresses are provided for applicants. While their real names are not required, candidates are asked to send details of their nickname or handle, their age, marital status, languages spoken and a list of passports in their possession.

The ad on the forum, which is accessible only to al-Qaeda members, specifies the targets of the terror attacks that applicants will be expected to carry out, including “People who fight Islam and Muslims” and enemy “financial, military and media targets.”

The ad indicates that the anticipated attacks will be solo operations: “Only one person will be in charge. He will gather all of the intelligence, he will prepare the operation — and he will complete the attack.” However, it continues, “a military panel” will oversee the bomber’s training and select the target.

The job description promises only a “very slight chance of being caught.”
The good news is they have a great dental plan...

Captive Audience

When attendance is mandatory:
Documents and a whistle-blower affidavit obtained by The Daily Caller charge that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., and Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., participated in an unethical — and possibly illegal — effort to force 76 employees of an Illinois state agency to engage in political activity on the taxpayers’ dime.

According to the whistle-blower, Rev. Jackson also encouraged the government employees to load first-generation and low-income college students up with student loan debt — because Democrats in Congress, he allegedly promised, would eventually pass laws to forgive that debt later. “[T]hose people will continue to vote Democratic,” Jackson Sr. said, according to the whistle-blower.
Maybe not after this, they won't...

Monday, August 13, 2012

You Have Been Served...

They said it would happen:
House Republicans on Monday asked the federal courts to intervene and force the Obama administration to turn over documents from the botched Fast and Furious gun-walking operation, escalating what had been a simmering constitutional crisis.

House Speaker John A. Boehner said President Obama and his team were ignoring a congressional subpoena — something the courts have long recognized as valid — and said lawmakers were left with no choice but to ask the third branch to referee.

“By stonewalling Congress and ignoring a contempt order, the Justice Department has left the House no choice but to take legal action so we can get to the bottom of the Fast and Furious operation that cost border agent Brian Terry his life,” Mr. Boehner said.
Looks like Mr. Holder has run out of distractions...

Dueling Visions

Compare and contrast. First, President Obama:
"Do we go forward towards a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared?" Obama asked. "Or do we go backward to the same policies that got us in the mess in the first place?"

"I believe we have to go forward," Obama said. "I believe we have to keep working to create an America where no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, no matter who you love, you can make it here if you try. That's what's at stake in November. That's what is why I am running for a second term as president of the United States of America."
And, in rebuttal, Paul Ryan:
"America, America is just more than a place, though. America is an idea. It's the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not from government. That's right. That's who we are, that's how we built this country. That's who we are. That's what made us great. That's what made us great. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes," Ryan said.
Notice the difference between "shared prosperity" and "equal opportunity." You have the right to pursue happiness in America-it doesn't mean that you'll always get it, or that it should come from government.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Do Not Bank Until Doomsday

Planning for the fiscal apocalypse:
U.S. regulators directed five of the country's biggest banks, including Bank of America Corp and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, to develop plans for staving off collapse if they faced serious problems, emphasizing that the banks could not count on government help.

The two-year-old program, which has been largely secret until now, is in addition to the "living wills" the banks crafted to help regulators dismantle them if they actually do fail. It shows how hard regulators are working to ensure that banks have plans for worst-case scenarios and can act rationally in times of distress.

Officials like Lehman Brothers former Chief Executive Dick Fuld have been criticized for having been too hesitant to take bold steps to solve their banks' problems during the financial crisis.

According to documents obtained by Reuters, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency first directed five banks - which also include Citigroup Inc,, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co - to come up with these "recovery plans" in May 2010.

They told banks to consider drastic efforts to prevent failure in times of distress, including selling off businesses, finding other funding sources if regular borrowing markets shut them out, and reducing risk. The plans must be feasible to execute within three to six months, and banks were to "make no assumption of extraordinary support from the public sector," according to the documents.

Spokespeople for the five banks declined to comment. The Federal Reserve also declined to comment.
While they head for the bunker, I wonder if it's not too late to start stuffing my mattress...

Blogging In The Years: 2009

Rep. Paul Ryan goes after the health care reform bill:



Call me crazy, but I think the kid has a future...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Red And The Blue

Are we really getting ready for Civil War 2?
At issue is an article in the respected Small Wars Journal titled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A ‘Vision’ of the Future.” It was written by retired Army Col. Kevin Benson of the Army's University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Jennifer Weber, a Civil War expert at the University of Kansas. It posits an “extremist militia motivated by the goals of the ‘tea party’ movement” seizing control of Darlington, S.C., in 2016, “occupying City Hall, disbanding the city council and placing the mayor under house arrest.” The rebels set up checkpoints on Interstate 95 and Interstate 20 looking for illegal aliens. It’s a cartoonish and needlessly provocative scenario.

The article is a choppy patchwork of doctrinal jargon and liberal nightmare. The authors make a quasi-legal case for military action and then apply the Army’s Operating Concept 2016-2028 to the situation. They write bloodlessly that “once it is put into play, Americans will expect the military to execute without pause and as professionally as if it were acting overseas.” They claim that “the Army cannot disappoint the American people, especially in such a moment,” not pausing to consider that using such efficient, deadly force against U.S. citizens would create a monumental political backlash and severely erode government legitimacy.
....

The scenario presented in Small Wars Journal isn’t a literary device but an operational lay-down intended to present the rationale and mechanisms for Americans to fight Americans. Col. Benson and Ms. Weber contend, “Army officers are professionally obligated to consider the conduct of operations on U.S. soil.” This is a dark, pessimistic and wrongheaded view of what military leaders should spend their time studying.
And, at any rate, if the Occupy movement was any indication, it's not the Tea Partiers government should be worried about...