Monday, February 29, 2016

Obamacare Buyers' Remorse

If you don't like your Obamacare, you might not want to keep it:
The proportion of U.S. adults who believe the law helped people in the state where they live approximately equals the proportion of people who believe national health reform hurt their fellow state residents. On a personal level, most Americans do not believe the law directly affected them. Among those who do, however, more believe the law directly hurt them than helped them.
....

Among those adults who report being currently insured, more say the cost of their coverage has gone up in recent years than those who say their benefits have increased. Whereas more than two in five (45%) insured U.S. adults say their premiums have gone up in the past two years and more than one-third (35%) say their co-pays or deductibles have risen, about one in six (16%) say their benefits have increased (Figure 12). However, the majority of adults in the U.S. say their benefits, co-pays, deductibles and benefits have stayed about the same over the past two years.
If it ain't necessary, don't make them get it...

Members Wanted

It's hard out there for a non-working man:
Labor unions have experienced dismal membership numbers in recent years and aren’t even doing well in those industries with the highest rates of unionized workers, according to a Monday report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Government, utilities, transportation and warehousing had the highest percentage of union members in 2015. Union membership overall has stalled at just 11.1 percent in the past few years with the majority of workers in all industry choosing not to be in a union. Unionized public-sector workers is substantially higher at 35.2 percent compared to the 6.7 percent of private-sector workers.

“Within the public sector, the union membership rate was highest for local government,” the report detailed. “Which includes employees in heavily unionized occupations, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters.”
You've got to fight hard for those who get paid for doing nothing...

Funny Foreign Money

Spreading the wealth around:
Hansjorg Wyss, a billionaire Swiss citizen and multi-million dollar Clinton Foundation donor, gave 30 contributions to American political campaigns over a nine-year period, according to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
....

Wyss donated $41,000 to seven congressional candidates and to four national political action committees from 1998 to 2003, according to Federal Election Commission records under the name of Hansjorg Wyss.

Colorado campaign finance records also report that Wyss gave $50,000 to Coloradans for Responsible Growth in March 2000, a statewide environmental political action committee that closed its doors only two years later, in part because it reportedly never filed the required financial statements.
I'm sure they all got their fair share...

No Big Thing

Well, okay then:

Street Beaters

Public transportation, DC style:
The streetcar will ferry passengers on a strip between Union Station and Benning Road, east of Oklahoma Avenue NE and includes eight stops. The streetcar faces obstacles like cars, bikes and pedestrians as it lumbers between destinations, which may slow its progress, reports NBC Washington.

The plagued streetcar system, which costed over $200 million to complete over 10 years, takes roughly 26 minutes to make it between its two destinations. Obstacles may add to that time, including street parking. It reportedly took 19 minutes on a bus, 10 minutes on a bike and seven minutes in an Uber to cover the same distance. A pedestrian walking the same path can complete the trip in just 27 minutes, according to The Washington Post.

“I can walk faster than this,” Ternechue Butler, former outreach specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told The Washington Post. “I don’t think it can go any faster because of the parking.”
If it were fast and efficient it wouldn't be in Washington...

Court Cruz

Well, here we go:
State Supreme Court Justice David Weinstein is considering the claim by two men who say Cruz isn’t “a natural born citizen” of the United States as constitutionally required for eligibility.

Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada, though his mother was a U.S. citizen living there. His father was a native of Cuba.

Barry Korman and William Gallo argue that in American common law citizenship status cannot simply pass from parent to child.
Who's the real American? I guess it depends on who has the most time to waste here...

The Sanders Wave

Oh, my:

The Stupid Set

So Ben Sasse goes there:
“I sincerely hope we select one of the other GOP candidates, but if Donald Trump ends up as the GOP nominee, conservatives will need to find a third option,” Sasse wrote.

“Given what we know about him today, here’s where I’m at: If Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee, my expectation is that I will look for some third candidate – a conservative option, a Constitutionalist,” Sasse continued.

“I do not claim to speak for a movement but I suspect I am far from alone. After listening to Nebraskans in recent weeks, and talking to a great many people who take oaths seriously, I think many are in the same place. I believe a sizable share of Christians – who regard threats against religious liberty as arguably the greatest crisis of our time – are unwilling to support any candidate who does not make a full-throated defense of the First Amendment a first commitment of their candidacy,” Sasse added.
This is not smart politics-this is what comes of a party that has given the country a choice between Rubio and Trump. Either might be preferable to an option that would give Hillary more votes.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gang Related

Apparently Fox News was given notice:
A few weeks after Senator Marco Rubio joined a bipartisan push for an immigration overhaul in 2013, he arrived alongside Senator Chuck Schumer at the executive dining room of News Corporation’s Manhattan headquarters for dinner.

Their mission was to persuade Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the media empire, and Roger Ailes, the chairman and chief executive of its Fox News division, to keep the network’s on-air personalities from savaging the legislation and give it a fighting chance at survival.

Mr. Murdoch, an advocate of immigration reform, and Mr. Ailes, his top lieutenant and the most powerful man in conservative television, agreed at the Jan. 17, 2013, meeting to give the senators some breathing room.
And enough rope to hang themselves with?

Bernie's People

About the time that Bernie Sanders liked dictatorships:
In 1985 Sanders traveled to New York City to meet with Ortega just weeks after Nicaragua imposed a “state of emergency” that resulted in mass arrests of regime critics and the shuttering of opposition newspapers and magazines. While liberal critics of Reagan’s Nicaraguan policy rounded on the Sandinistas (talk-show host Phil Donahue told Ortega that his actions looked “fascist”), Sanders refused to condemn the decision. He was “not an expert in Nicaragua” and “not a Nicaraguan,” he said during a press conference. “Am I aware enough of all the details of what is going on in Nicaragua to say ‘you have reacted too strongly?’ I don’t know…” But of course he did know, later saying that the Sandinistas’ brutal crackdown “makes sense to me.”
What “made sense” to Sanders was the Sandinistas’ war against La Prensa, a daily newspaper whose vigorous opposition to the Somoza dictatorship quickly transformed into vigorous opposition of the dictatorship that replaced it. When challenged on the Sandinistas’ incessant censorship, Sanders had a disturbing stock answer: Nicaragua was at war with counterrevolutionary forces, funded by the United States, and wartime occasionally necessitated undemocratic measures.
Spoken like an undemocratic figure...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

It's All Good

Hey, you Republican dandidates, stop bashing our wonderful economy:
“It’s an election year, and candidates can’t stop speaking about our country’s problems (which, of course, only they can solve),” he said, adding later, “that view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”

Buffett noted that there will still be economic troubles as business evolves, but that the country needs to make sure it has a solid safety net to help people who lose jobs.

“The answer in such disruptions is not the restraining or outlawing of actions that increase productivity. Americans would not be living nearly as well as we do if we had mandated that 11 million people should forever be employed in farming,” he wrote.
Things may not be as bad as they seem. But they're not exactly great, either. Got gold?

Don't Make Him Angry

You wouldn't like Bill when he's angry:

Hey, the truth hurts...

Big Bad Dolls

When dolls are too threatening:
Dr. Hildebrandt argues that these dolls are “increasingly lean and muscular,” and that boys who play with dolls are “developmentally unable” to determine that the exaggerated muscles on their dolls are unreal. He grants that unicorn dolls -- with a horn protruding from their little horsey-doll heads -- are identifiable as “unrealistic,” but that superhero dolls, like Ken, are confusing to “the vulnerable ones.”

It is difficult to express sufficient amazement here. As a newly minted 60-year-old, I find it, ah, odd that we have so much to worry about with respect to the mental health of the generation in question.

Has there been so dramatic an advancement in Doll Technology over the past few decades that dolls have transformed the minds of boys to this degree? I understand the concerns with modern electronic devices and children’s developmental processes, but we’re talking about Ken and G.I. Joe here. A psychiatrist at a prestigious medical school now thinks that muscular dolls will make our boys feel inadequate.
Don't tell him about the giant robots...

Ryan's Bill

Conservatives want Paul Ryan to remember who he's supposed to be:
Rep. Bill Flores, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told House Speaker Paul Ryan the group will not support the fiscal 2017 budget number that was reached just a few months ago. He said the group came to that conclusion after reading a Congressional Budget Office report that projected the budget deficit would grow from $439 billion to $522 billion, in part due to increased federal spending.

Instead, the RSC is backing a budget of $1.04 trillion, which adheres to mandatory spending cuts passed into law under the 2011 Budget Control Act, but which both parties rejected in a 2016 deal to boost spending by $80 billion over two years. That agreement allowed a $30 billion increase for fiscal year 2017.

"The country has some tough fiscal challenges in front of it and we feel like we cannot put off dealing with those fiscal challenges," Flores said in an interview with the Washington Examiner.
You really can't spend what you don't have, even if you're a politician...

Friday, February 26, 2016

What Did She Say And When Did She Say It?

Hillary doubles down on her "protected" speech:
Asked whether she could assure U.S. voters that the speeches would not undermine her calls to rein in the financial industry, Clinton told MSNBC: "Absolutely."

"I'm on the public record. I told them what I'm going to do. I said I'm going to go after big banks that pose a systemic risk. I want you to hold me accountable for that because I will do that exactly," she told the network's "Morning Joe" program.

The New York Times, in an editorial late on Thursday, urged Clinton to release the transcripts, saying "voters have every right to know what Mrs. Clinton told these groups." According to the paper, Clinton earned $11 million in 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 from 51 speeches to banks and other groups and industries.

Clinton has said she will release copies of her remarks when other presidential candidates do the same.

On Friday, she said President Barack Obama's fundraising from Wall Street had not prevented him from enacting Dodd-Frank financial services reforms after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Clinton reiterated her position that regulations must go farther, saying, "Dodd-Frank is great. It gives us a foundation. It doesn't go far enough. We need to look at these other entities that pose systemic risks, as well."
Before or after they pay you?

The Liability Syndrome

Sorry, but this doesn't really fly:
Trump said, “I tell you what, I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met. The New York Times, which is is losing a fortune, which is not going to be around much longer, although someone will probably buy it, I think it’s the worst media I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The worst. They have the worst agenda. You would not believe. And they’re totally incompetent. I have respect for Jeff Bezos. He bought The Washington Post to have political influence — we have a different country than we used to have. We have a different –he owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right. and believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.”

“And one of the things I’m going to do, and this is only going to make it tougher for me — and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope I do, and we’re certainly getting there, I’m going to open up the libel laws so when they write horrible and negative and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” he continued. “We’re going to open up those libel laws, so that when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace, or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see? With me they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money. I’m not taking their money. So we can put up those libel laws and we’ll have people sue you like you never got sued before.”
Criticizing the lamestream media is one thing and they deserve it. Taking them to court over their worthless opinions is something else. They do, after all, still have a right to those opinions.

Wall Wars

Vincente Fox is not a fan of the Donald:
Reacting to Trump saying the “the wall just got 10 feet taller” after Fox’s previous statement, Fox said, “My reaction is it’s more stupid. I mean, that’s a wrong thought. Immigration should be handled in a different manner, that’s why we have a proposal, I feel, in Congress presented by Senator McCain long time ago, that solves and makes the case of migration positive for the United States and Mexico. It’s not attacking everybody, attacking the Mexicans, attacking the Muslims. attacking women, attacking migrants. that’s not the way to go. That chair for the president of the United States is so elegant, so full of power that only people with ability with intelligence and with compassion have sat in that chair and this guy is out of the world. He thinks that by building a wall, which is only a consequence of the fear he builds inside, he feels fear. Only those who feel fear build walls.”

Fox continued, “I would invite this guy to withdraw from the race and go back to his business and forget about what is a nation and what is the presidency of a nation.”
I'm sure Trump will give this all the due consideration it deserves...

Don't Ask About The Unemployment Rate

The Obama administration is doing its best to ignore it:
President Barack Obama and his administration has reported the unemployment rate is now below five percent. Sanders has claimed throughout his campaign, however, that the real unemployment rate is above 10 percent because of labor force dropouts. Earnest doubled down on what the administration has said during Thursday’s press briefing.

“We’ve made a lot of important progress in the last seven years,” Earnest told reporters. “Unemployment rate has been cut by more than half from its high of around 10 percent to now below 5 percent. That is undeniable progress that some Republicans will continue to deny.”
What about denying reality?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

More Money, Less Unions

Indiana teachers' unions aren't thrilled with the idea of teachers actually making more money:
According to Naomi Nix with The 74, Indiana legislators are considering giving superintendents the power to pay teachers more if they are harder to find. Nix gave two examples: "The experienced high school chemistry teacher who quits in the middle of the year for a higher-paying gig across the state can leave dozens of students without a knowledgeable educator in front of the classroom. An opening for a special education teacher that goes weeks without a qualified applicant can mean the neediest students don't get the support their disability requires."

If superintendents had the flexibility to offer more money, they might be able to retain those teachers, or to attract someone of equal talent and expertise. This wouldn't mean a cut in the average teacher's pay — just that certain teachers could be offered higher salaries as the need arose.

Those who know economics well understand the logic at play. When demand for a certain type of teacher is relatively high, the price to get them rises. When prices are high, it encourages more supply.

Teachers' unions tacitly acknowledge this when they call for higher teachers salaries across the board. When it pays more to teach, harder workers and more talented educators will stay in the K-12 teaching profession. But Indiana teachers' unions are having none of it, because it represents a small but real threat to union monopoly power. "I just see it as opening the door for school districts ... to start bargaining with teachers individually," Rick Muir, president of American Federation of Teachers Indiana, told Nix.
They're on your side-until you don't need them anymore...

Sanctuary Sanity?

Cracking down on sanctuary cities?
...the Bureau of Prisons now allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), instead of states and municipalities, the first opportunity to take illegal aliens into custody and deport them.

“Particularly where we’re dealing with a jurisdiction that is not prone to honoring ICE detainers…our policy is going to be that ICE will instead have the first detainer and that individual will go into ICE custody and deportation,” Lynch told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.

“We have in the past deferred because…we work with our state and local colleagues and we want to make sure that they can in fact adjudicate their cases as well,” Lynch added.
Letting them do their jobs works after all, it seems...

Whatever Happened To Leland Yee?

He's going to jail:
Wednesday, after decades as an elected officeholder, he was sentenced to five years in prison for doing political favors in exchange for campaign cash — or, as the judge put it — for selling his vote.

During an hourlong hearing, Yee implored U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer to be lenient. Standing at a lectern near his lawyers, Yee said he had taken responsibility for his crimes and knew that he had shamed himself and hurt his family, his supporters and others…

“It must be that the public has trust in the integrity of the institution, and Mr. Yee, you abused that trust,” Breyer said. “You showed you did not have integrity in your actions.”
Better late than never...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Ministry Of Tweets

Twitter turns into Big Brother:
Last month Twitter stripped right-wing pundit Milo Yiannopoulos of his “verified” user status. Now the company has banned Robert Stacy McCain, an inflammatory right-wing writer. And apparently, not only did Twitter ban him, it also censored the hashtag that welled up in his support.

What’s striking isn’t just that there may be a political bias in those decisions. The more serious problems are a lack of due process and explanation, and a striking imbalance between what happens to semi-prominent Twitter personalities and the countless run-of-the-mill Twitter trolls who are still at large. And how else could it be? As Biz Stone wrote in 2011, “On a practical level, we simply cannot review all one hundred million-plus Tweets created and subsequently delivered every day.” And since then, the number of tweets produced every day has quintupled. The Trust and Safety Council can’t actually protect users from abuse; its only power is stop controversial users from issuing controversial opinions on Twitter.
The Ministry of Tweeting has spoken...

Red Reading Rainbow

Washington socialists are taking lessons from...actual socialists?
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson have toured several schools in Havana during a five-day visit to the communist-run island nation, which boasts a 99.8 percent literacy rate.

“Given Cuba’s emphasis on a strong education, I know there’s a lot we can learn from each other,” Ms. Bowser said Tuesday from Havana in a conference call with reporters. “There’s a focus on teaching here and making sure all citizens have access to high-quality teaching.”

Both Ms. Bowser and Ms. Henderson toured the University of Havana, the oldest university in Cuba, as well as a middle school and a trade school to get a better understanding of how “the country’s literacy, graduation rates and university and college retention rates remain consistently high,” the Democratic mayor said.
Anyone can learn propaganda-look at our own school system...

Obamacon

Where did all the money go?
The federal government has failed to properly monitor enrollee eligibility for Obamacare, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). As a result, the government has made billions of dollars in Obamacare subsidy payments to individuals that may have been committing fraud.

“When the government wastes money, it is wasting OUR money. It is cutting OUR pay. It is damaging OUR lives,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “And the Obama administration is treating us with contempt.”

As the report notes, the system used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relies on data sent by three government agencies – the IRS, SSA, and DHS – to check eligibility for Obamacare. However, the system used by CMS is unable to verify many inconsistencies in the data.

This inability to properly verify enrollment has meant billions of dollars have been sent out to enrollees without verifying whether the applicants were fraudulent.
Kind of like the program itself?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Not His Thing

Oh, my:

Voter Word Association

The people have spoken:

gallup-hillary-reactions



gallup-bernie-reactions

Old and dishonest, or old and crazy? The choice is yours...

Comedy Is Not Pretty

Comedians versus social justice media warriors:
Miller’s implication that she has a connection at Twitter comes as the company increasingly demonstrates a radical progressive bias, with the announcement of creating a politically slanted “Trust and Safety” council and a string of punishments against conservatives and opponents of the regressive left. Miller’s accusations against David follow a pattern set by other progressive activists, such as Anita Sarkeesian and Stephanie Guthrie, whereby political criticism and light derision is portrayed as “harassment” and “abuse.” However, only recently have their biases been reflected in the policy of social media companies.

According to comedians in the L.A. scene, Amy Miller’s attempts to ruin Mike David are just the top of the iceberg. They spoke of domination by an increasingly tight-knit and exclusive clique, whose hyper-progressive politics made it increasingly difficult for dissenting comedians to participate.

“You don’t want to be a conservative in the entertainment industry” said an actor who has appeared in several well-known comedy films, who preferred to remain anonymous. “I’m just a terrified comedian… I’m trying to sell a script, and if these psychos talk sh** to my agents, I can be ruined.”
O brave new world that has such unfunny people in it...

Fighting For Jesus And Votes

When politicians attack:
John Wiley Price and Dwaine Caraway are seen in the video hurling verbal insults at each other while Micah Phillips, another candidate running for the same office, captured the incident on cellphone video, KTVT-TV reported.

“What’s wrong with ya’ll? This is a gospel radio station,” a woman is heard shouting at Price and Caraway in the footage.

The verbal exchange occurred during a commercial break when the two were participating in an on-air candidate forum for KHVN-AM.

Police had to be called to separate the two potential public servants, but the confrontation was not physical.
Who says dueling is dead?

Et Tu, Trudeau?

Well, so much for that:
Trudeau swept to power in part by promising to put an end to an era of fiscal consolidation the Liberals claimed was undermining Canada’s growth, which has been lackluster since the recession in 2009. Still, he has tried to temper worries by laying out three main fiscal promises: annual deficits of no more than C$10 billion, balancing the budget in four years and reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio every year.

On Monday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau indicated none of those three promises will be met. A fiscal update -- released a month before the government’s first budget is due -- showed Canada’s deficit in the year that begins April 1 is on pace to be C$18.4 billion, even before the bulk of the government’s C$11 billion in spending promises and any other stimulus measures are accounted for.

The same document shows the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio will be rising in the coming fiscal year, not falling. Morneau also reiterated that balancing the budget in the near term would be “difficult.”
“They’re trying to justify breaking a campaign promise by somehow suggesting it’s not their fault,” Rona Ambrose, leader of the main opposition Conservative Party, told reporters in Ottawa.
Don't make promises you could have kept...

Unbalanced Speech

Ben Shapiro runs afoul of campus "safe speech":
The lecture, titled “When Diversity Becomes a Problem,” was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 25, and was going to focus on trigger warnings and microaggressions.

“After careful consideration, I have decided that it will be best for our campus community if we reschedule Ben Shapiro’s appearance for a later date, so that we can arrange for him to appear as part of a group of speakers with differing viewpoints on diversity,” CSULA President William Covino wrote in an email to the college’s Young America’s Foundation (YAF) chapter, who was hosting the event.

Covino went on to write that a diverse panel of speakers would “better represent” the university’s “dedication to the free exchange of ideas and the value of considering multiple viewpoints.”
I thought that's what Shapiro represented. Silly me...

Ryan's Appointed Run

Are Republicans ready for Paul Ryan as the backup plan?
“The way it could happen is, they take the first vote, and the pledged delegates vote as they’ve said they will, and it doesn’t go through, there’s not enough. And in the second vote, they’re allowed to, sort of, go where they want, and people say, ‘We can’t agree on any of these guys. Look at him, he’s so handsome, he’s such a nice man, he tries hard, Mitt Romney loved him. Why don’t we make him our nominee?’” Kelly suggested to Ryan, who was shaking his head.

Immediately after the Fox host described the theory, Ryan quickly shot it down.

“No way, ain’t gonna happen,” Ryan replied. “First of all, I think you should run for president if you’re going to be president.”

Ryan went on to say that he discussed running for president with his family last year and, ultimately, they ruled against it.

“I’m not going to be the president,” Ryan, who does not anticipate a brokered convention, insisted. “It’s going to be someone who’s running for president.”
Unless they're desperate enough?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Canadian Common Sense

Maybe Canadians aren't so liberal, after all:
While 79 per cent of Canadians do not doubt the reality of climate change, they are deeply divided on what is causing it, the study indicates.

For example, only 17 per cent of people living in the Fort-McMurray-Cold-Lake riding in Alberta believe climate change is caused by humans.

That compares to 63 per cent in the Quebec riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie, where the rate is the highest in the country.

The results found opinions vary depending on whether the study subjects were living in a city or a small town.

Lachapelle points to the differences in Edmonton and Calgary, compared to smaller Alberta communities.

"Urban dwellers are more progressive in general," he said.

"They are younger, better educated, and have better access to solutions like active transport or public transit, than people in small towns."
And, apparently, more snobbish...

Who Killed The Bush Brand?

Why Jeb failed:
Despite his longtime reputation as the smarter Bush brother, John Ellis Bush showed himself to have many fewer political I.Q. points than President George W. Bush ever had on his worst day—along with all too many of the diffident, distracted presentational deficits of their father on the stump. Paunchy or skinny, with glasses or without, Bush ran a joyless, self-conscious, disembodied campaign in which he always seemed to be looking at his watch, as his father so famously did in his 1992 town hall debate against Bill Clinton. The hortatory exclamation point at the end of his campaign logo only served to underline the oldest truth in politics from Jack Kennedy to Ronald Reagan: If you’ve got it, you don’t have to flaunt it.

Bush had his moments, chief among them a brave and principled argument that Donald Trump’s rampant anti-immigrant stance is not only bad policy but bad politics for his Republican Party, which needs Latino voters more than ever. Yet even a Google search of the phrase “Jeb Bush’s best moments,” yields mostly a litany of “Jeb’s Most Awkward, Dignity-Losing, Cringey Moments” as Talking Points Memo put it.
Jeb seemed able, but unwilling, to carry on the family's legacy. That's not a winning combination.

Ivy League Blues

Oh, the horror of being a social justice warrior on campus:
“There are people breaking down, dropping out of classes and failing classes because of the activism work they are taking on,” David, an undergraduate whose name has been changed to preserve anonymity, said. Throughout the year, he has worked to confront issues of racism and diversity on campus.

His role as a student activist has taken a toll on his mental, physical and emotional health. “My grades dropped dramatically. My health completely changed. I lost weight. I’m on antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills right now. (Counseling and Psychological Services) counselors called me. I had deans calling me to make sure I was okay,” he said. […]

Justice Gaines ’16, who uses the [gender neutral] pronouns xe, xem and xyr, said student activism efforts on campus are necessary. “I don’t feel okay with seeing students go through hardships without helping and organizing to make things better.”
Community organizers have it tough, too...

Candidates Doing It For Themselves

If you have to ask:
Clinton said, “I understand that voters have questions. I’m going to do my very best to answer those questions. I think there’s an underlying question that maybe is really in the back of people’s minds. And that is, you know, is she in it for us or is she in it for herself?”

She continued, “I think that’s, you know, a question that people are trying to sort through. And I’m going to demonstrate that I have always been the same person, fighting for the same values, fighting to make a real difference in people’s lives long before I was ever in elected office, even before my husband was in the presidency. So, I know that I have to, you know, make my case. I have to demonstrate what I have achieved. I have to really make clear that, look, we want a — we want to make progress in our country. We want to make a real difference in people’s lives. That’s what I have always been about. That’s what I would do as president. So, I’m very hopeful. And we will continue to work hard to make that case and to win over as many voters as possible to get the nomination. And then we will see who the Republicans nominate, and we will go from there.”
And you can go with her, until she doesn't need you anymore...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Life In An Elevator

An artist's life is not an easy one:
The Oxford student, who waited in line for hours to get into the elevator with the 29-year-old actor, claimed to be a performance artist himself who wanted a punch from LaBeouf for a project of his own.

“I’m a performance artist. Can you help me with completion of my next piece by punching me in the face?” the student asked.

“Oh man, you want me to punch you in the face?” LaBeouf replied. “I don’t want to punch you very hard!”

The student told LaBeouf not to be a “p—y,” but the actor continued to balk at the request.

“I don’t like doing it though…I just met you.”
The line between suffering for art and stupidity can be a thin one...

Neutral Country

Everyone be neutral:
Jo Heywood, who is headmistress at the Heathfield boarding school in Ascot, made the comments to the Sunday Times, insisting: “Girls and boys should be allowed to explore roles traditionally associated with the opposite sex.”

But the news may come as a shock to parents who over £11,000 a term to send their children to Heathfield, knowing that transgender people face very high suicide rates.

But Ms. Heywood is adamant: “If a little boy wants to explore wearing a princess dress and a little girl wants to spend time in a fireman’s outfit, then that is to be encouraged . . . Have girlie make-up, but let boys have it too.”
....

Professor Alan Smithers, an expert on education at Buckingham University commented: “Putting three-year-olds into clothes for the opposite sex is silly and they will be teased by other children”.

“This kind of parenting will not advance the cause of equality. Instead of opening up a wider range of opportunities, it will actually result in some very unhappy and disoriented children.”
At least they'll be candidates for the welfare state...

The Billionaire Blame Game

No, the rich aren't responsible for our problems:
A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found successful entrepreneurs realize just 3 pertcent of the value of what they produce, while consumers reap the rest, either directly through employment or by social benefit.

"If there is a CEO who creates value for shareholders and wealth for the economy, the value they create is so much greater than their compensation," said Sydney Finkelstein, author of "Superbosses" and a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Given the blame directed at America's millionaire class for inequality, the U.S. economic meltdown and our slow recovery, Fox News spent a week analyzing the Forbes list of 400 wealthiest Americans. Admission to the list starts at a record $1.7 billion. In total, the top 400 created or controlled more than 10 million jobs across the country. The top 100 founded companies that employed, on average, 40,000 workers.

"These are people giving us jobs. To demonize them is to damage the underlying force of this country," said management consultant Eric Schiffer. "We are only as good as our people and we don't want to put our best players on another team. If you tax them, they will leave."
Haters, blame yourselves...

The Senator Who Wasn't There

How to pretend to be a Senator and get away with it:
Izaha Akins, of Marion, visited Mohawk High School in December and claimed to be a lawmaker who was going to replace another senator who was planning on resigning due to an illness. Akins told the school he was second in line for the appointment after the first choice declined, according to The Toledo Blade. He also gave a speech to students.

School officials realized they were duped weeks later after Sen. David Burke, of Marysville, showed up to speak weeks later, as scheduled. Burke told the Associated Press in an email Friday that when he learned about the hoax, he and the high school immediately began working with police.

Akins told The Toledo Blade he wanted to make a point about school security in small communities.

"These country schools think it can't happen to them," Akins told The Blade in a brief interview. He said he wanted to "prove a point — that these kinds of things can happen. They could easily have Googled me, and they didn't."
He lied about himself. Naturally they thought he was a real politician...

Oh, Rob

I wondered whatever happened to him:
It’s been 48 years since Van Dyke used his celebrity status to try and help a presidential candidate — that was back in 1968, when he supported Democrat Eugene McCarthy.

What brought the California-based showman to the Sanders campaign?

Reportedly, a phone call from the candidate made the difference. The four-time Emmy winning actor told the Reno Gazette-Journal, “He’d heard me speak about him and called me up and said, ‘Get over here.’”

After hosting an event for Sanders on Thursday night, Van Dyke stopped by a Las Vegas television station to share his thoughts on his choice to lead the Democratics into the 2016 general election.

The short video closes with a curious comment from Van Dyke. While talking about “casting” a president, he said, “We’ve got a choice between a short Jew and a lady.”
I blame the invaders from planet Twylo...

The Doctor Is Still In

Ben Carson is just getting started, really:
“It’s interesting, but when this thing started, there was 17 candidates. There are only six now, and I’m still one of them,” Carson told the crowd just a few moments prior to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s announcement of the end of his own campaign.

The retired neurosurgeon was all smiles as he gave his stump speech to his supporters who energetically cheered and applauded when necessary — especially when Carson implored his faith.

“We must not allow the secular progressives to remove God from our lives,” Carson said to thunderous applause. “That is a war that I am very willing to fight until the last breath in my body because I believe that the reason that this nation rose to the pinnacle of the world in record time is because we paid homage to God.”
Seems everybody is trying to get God's endorsement these days...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Too Big To Campaign

Hillary among the swells:
It is not an uncommon practice at the big Wall Street banks to pay between $200,000 and $300,000 for luminaries such as former President Bill Clinton, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (pre-Bridgegate), Joe Torre or Derek Jeter to speak, or answer questions as Hillary Clinton did. “That’s the going rate,” explains a senior Wall Street executive who arranges such events. “It’s a pretty efficient market, like anything else.” He says people like George W. Bush, Ben Bernanke and Geithner get paid even more than the $225,000 that Clinton received. “So I certainly don’t fault her,” he said. “In hindsight for her, I do think that you could have seen that if you wanted to run for president, you know …” He left the comment hanging, but he clearly indicated that she should have known that taking so much money from Wall Street banks before the start of the next presidential election cycle was not the smartest decision.

The bigger issue, of course, is whether, when all is said and done, Clinton is simply too closely aligned with the views of executives at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and the other big banks, private equity firms and hedge funds, many of which have thrived since the financial crisis and continuously lined her pockets, as well as those of her husband, her campaign and her family’s foundation. In other words, is Bernie right? Clinton hasn’t helped herself by equivocating over whether her campaign would release transcripts of her Goldman appearances, saying she would “look into” the possibility of doing so. In the process, she has handed Sanders a perfect cudgel with which to beat her up over the idea that she must have something to hide or be pandering to the rich on Wall Street and would never take them on if she were elected president, or both.
Big money doesn't always bet on winners...

Town And Country Wages

Oregon is trying a rather unique approach to raising the minimum wage:
Oregon’s new plan imposes a series of gradual increases over six years. By 2022, the state’s current $9.25 an hour minimum – already one of the highest in the nation – would climb to $14.75 in metro Portland, $13.50 in smaller cities such as Salem and Eugene, and $12.50 in rural communities.

Those minimums dethrone Massachusetts – where the statewide rate will climb to $11 an hour next year – from the top spot, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a D.C.-based think tank that tracks wage laws across the nation.
At least they're willing to recognize that the cost of living matters...

Friday, February 19, 2016

Telling It To The Judge

So, yeah, this is happening:
Lawrence Joyce, an Illinois voter who has objected to Cruz’s placement on the Illinois primary ballot next month, will have his case heard in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago. Joyce’s previous objection, made to the state’s Board of Elections, was dismissed on February 1. He appealed the decision and was granted a hearing for Friday before Judge Maureen Ward Kirby.

Joyce challenges Cruz’s right to be president in the wake of questions put forth by GOP rival Donald Trump about being born in Canada. Cruz maintains he is a natural-born citizen since his mother is American-born.

“What I fear is that Ted Cruz becomes the nominee, come September, Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida will go forward with his threats and probably several other Democrats will file suit to prevent Ted Cruz from being on the ballot,” Joyce, a pharmacist and attorney from Poplar Grove, Ill, told USA TODAY.
Regardless of what you think of Cruz's views or his campaign tactics, the law pretty much establishes that the guy is an American citizen. See what happens when you play this game?

Lie Of A Lie

Hillary's honest dishonesty?

Shooting At Snowflakes

Oh, the horror:
“I felt my identity was getting shot at by what he was saying and by what other people were saying,” sophomore Jasmine Dennis noted during Monday’s forum, according to the Daily Targum, the New Jersey school’s newspaper.

As part of his “The Most Dangerous Faggot Tour,” Yiannopoulos — who indeed is gay — lambasted many schools’ attempts to shield students from ideas that might offend them during his Feb. 9 speech, calling out their “culture of safe spaces and trigger warnings.”

“Of course, they’re not really traumatized or upset — they’re just upset that someone disagrees with them,” he offered. “In my view, anybody who asks for a trigger warning or a safe space should be immediately expelled.”
Disagreement! Danger, danger!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Sanders School Of Economics

How spending works, Sanders style:
Sanders' wife assumed the presidency of Burlington College in 2004, where expansion was at the top of her agenda. One of her priorities was to pretty much build a new campus. The school secured millions in loans to buy a new plot of land from the Roman Catholic Diocese. The diocese was anxious to sign off on the deal since they needed money to pay for the various sex abuse-related lawsuits they faced at the time.

Burlington would pay off the debt with a two-pronged strategy of increasing enrollment and fundraising efforts. It turned out to be a complete fiasco, which threatened the school’s accreditation.
We may get a new America under Bernie Sanders. Too bad we won't be able to afford it...

Border Left And Right Cross

So it seems that Pope Francis has decided to pick a fight with Donald Trump over immigration. However:
The reason for the humanitarian crisis driving people north is the corrupt anti-capitalist governance so common to Latin America – the same sort of governance the pope believes is apparently more godly than the capitalism drawing people like a magnet to the United States. So the same system the pope decries is the system the pope wants inundated with victims of those who oppose that system. How ironic. Even more ironic: the Vatican remains one of the most immigration-restrictive states on earth.
Doesn't the Bible say something about hypocrisy from those in high places who lecture?

Robber's Roost

Yesterday's friend is today's campaign target:
Hillary Clinton slammed Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, the former chairman of the private equity firm GTCR, as a throwback to the “robber barons…of the 19th century” during a populist-themed campaign speech in Chicago on Wednesday.

But it was Clinton who dipped into that robber baron dough in June 2014 when she accepted a $280,000 payment to speak at a GTCR event hosted in Chicago.
....

Clinton’s jab at Rauner as a robber baron is “quite ironic, coming from someone who cashed a $280,000 check for a paid speech to GTCR less than two years [ago],” Rauner spokesman Lance Trover told The Chicago Tribune.

Though Rauner retired from GTCR before running for governor, he remained an investor in the private equity firm, which specializes in leveraged buyouts and corporate turnarounds.
Apparently he couldn't afford Hillary enough...

Mine Ghosts

Rivergate continues to haunt Team Obama:
House Natural Resources Committee Republicans subpoenaed the Department of the Interior and Army Corps of Engineers Wednesday night, demanding records related to the Corp’s peer review of the government’s technical evaluation of the Gold King Mine blowout.

“The Department of the Interior has been actively working to withhold information from the Committee that members on both sides of the aisle are seeking,” Utah Rep. Rob Bishop , chairman of the committee, said in a statement.

Bishop’s request comes on the heels of a report issued by his committee showing evidence government workers knew there was a risk of a mine blowout before they began working on Gold King in Colorado.

The report also slammed the Obama administration “shifting accounts of the events leading up to the spill and contain numerous errors, omissions, and inconsistencies, some of which are not attributable to error or incompetence alone.”

“It’s time to come clean. The credibility of the DOI’s Technical Evaluation is collapsing,” Bishop said.
Unfortunately, "Clean" doesn't seem to be a word that the administration is familiar with...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bernie The Bum

Bernie Sanders, bum about town:
Sanders took his first bride to live in a maple sugar shack with a dirt floor, and she soon left him. Penniless, he went on unemployment. Then he had a child out of wedlock. Desperate, he tried carpentry but could barely sink a nail. “He was a shi**y carpenter,” a friend told Politico Magazine. “His carpentry was not going to support him, and didn’t.”

Then he tried his hand freelancing for leftist rags, writing about “masturbation and rape” and other crudities for $50 a story. He drove around in a rusted-out, Bondo-covered VW bug with no working windshield wipers. Friends said he was “always poor” and his “electricity was turned off a lot.” They described him as a slob who kept a messy apartment — and this is what his friends had to say about him.
He could have been a contender-well, he is, but still...

Blogging In The Years: 1987

The Democrats won, but at what cost?
The President's supporters insist vehemently that, having won the 1984 election, he has every right to try to change the Court's direction. Yes, but the Democrats won the 1986 election, regaining control of the Senate, and they have every right to resist. This is not the same Senate that confirmed William Rehnquist as Chief Justice and Antonin Scalia as an associate justice last year.

The division of power thus makes moderates of both parties decisive. Against this change in political reality, for Mr. Reagan to nominate Robert Bork was to stick a thumb in moderates' eyes. The Senate need not and should not endorse views so alien to the Supreme Court's honored role as definer and defender of constitutional liberties.
As opposed to some of the views endorsed by liberal politicians?

Texas Cuff 'Em

This should happen more often:
Mayor Ricardo Lopez became angry and argued with police at a City Council meeting after claiming that a woman bumped into him, according to KENS-TV.

KSAT-TV reported that Lopez was charged with resisting arrest and Crystal City police are determining whether to additionally charge “him with assault and hindering proceedings by disorderly conduct.”

Lopez was indicted on conspiracy and bribery charges earlier this month.

In addition to the mayor, several other city officials are facing bribery charges, and many residents are calling for them to be removed from office.

According to KSAT, one councilman, Marco Rodriguez, has been indicted in a separate incident for allegedly smuggling immigrants in the country illegally.
It's crooks all the way down...

And The Nominees Are...

Well, that didn't take long:
SenateJudiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, didn’t rule out confirmation hearings and a vote by his panel on an Obama selection.

“I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decision,” Mr. Grassley said Tuesday in a conference call with Iowa radio reporters. “In other words, take it a step at a time.”

Asked whether he thought the controversy over filling the court vacancy might endanger his re-election chances this fall, Mr. Grassley said, “I think I have a responsibility to perform, and I can’t worry about the election. I’ve got to do my job as a senator, whatever it is. And there will be a lot of tough votes between now and the next election.”
He seems to have an odd definition of the word "Tough..."

Gamblers On Drugs

This is your bet on drugs:
The medication naltrexone is usually given to those with severe drug and alcohol problems, at a monthly cost of £800 per patient.

But it was revealed today that it is now being used to help compulsive gamblers unable fight their 'cravings' - at a cost of thousands of pounds to the NHS.

According to The Times, the first clinic to prescribe the drug was the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London, which handed the medication to a patient two months ago.

Last year, GPs referred almost 1,000 problem gamblers to the clinic.

Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a researcher from the clinic, said: 'The medication is used to stop the most compulsive gamblers who are resistant to treatment. It helps stop craving.'
Until they become addicted to the cure for their disease?

Secretary Of Entertainment

John Kerry wants a few good movie moguls:
“Great convo w/ studio execs in LA. Good to hear their perspectives & ideas of how to counter #Daesh narrative,” Kerry tweeted, along with a photo of his meeting with Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group; MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd; Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara; DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg; 20th Century Fox Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos; 20th Century Fox Co-Chair Stacey Snider; Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Motion Picture Production; Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley; Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group; Universal Pictures President Jimmy Horowitz; Amblin Partners CEO Michael Wright; and NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer.

Daesh is an acronym for the Arabic phrase “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa al-Sham,” another term for ISIS. The terrorist group reportedly hates the term, but western leaders have been using it instead of Islamic State.

The meeting was held at Universal Studios, and lasted about 90 minutes.

One attendee who was there said that the executives also exchanged ideas and observations about studio worldwide marketing of movies and TV shows, a way of showing how narrative storytelling can cross cultures. The attendee described part of the gathering as a “brainstorming session,” including how to involve storytellers in regions afflicted or threatened by ISIS, as a way to counter the narratives promulgated by the terrorist organization. “Let’s figure out how to involve people who are there,” the attendee said.
We must win the hearts and minds of movie-goers everywhere...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Slippery Censorship Slope

Is free speech on the decline?
"Largely what we're seeing, especially on college campuses, is that if my view is in the majority and I don't agree with your view, then I have the right to shout you down, disrupt your events, or otherwise suppress your ability to get your voice heard," Pai added.

"Private actors like Twitter have the freedom to operate their platform as they see fit," Pai said, "[but] I would hope that everybody embraces the idea of the marketplace of ideas. The proverbial street corner of the 21st century, where people can gather to debate issues is increasingly social media, which serves as a platform for public discourse." Twitter announced last week it was establishing a "Trust and Safety" panel to police speech on the site.

Pai concluded that if voters and institutions fail to defend free speech within their own spheres, it could lead to more government regulations curtailing that freedom.
If you like your First Amendment, you can keep your First Amendment...

President Droid

We could do worse:
Supporters of Watson believe that its advanced artificial intelligence makes it uniquely positioned to assess vast amounts of information and make informed and transparent decisions on all issues, ranging from education to foreign policy. Even Istvan believes in the potential of a computer to run the country, highlighting a number of benefits AI has over its human counterparts.

“Historically, one of the big problems with leaders is that they are selfish mammals,” Istvan tells Newsweek. “An artificial intelligence president could be truly altruistic. It wouldn’t be susceptible to lobbyists, special interest groups or personal desires.

“I think in 2020 you will see a field emerge with competing AI robots for president, who want to debate and discuss policy. It’s unlikely any of them will be sophisticated enough to take on the job, but I do believe by 2028 robots may be suitable for political office—including the presidency.”
The software vote?

You Owe, You Owe

Remember that loan you took out thirty years ago? The government does:
Believe it or not, the US Marshals Service in Houston is arresting people for not paying their outstanding federal student loans.

Paul Aker says he was arrested at his home last week for a $1500 federal student loan he received in 1987.

He says seven deputy US Marshals showed up at his home with guns and took him to federal court where he had to sign a payment plan for the 29-year-old school loan.
It's never too late for a shakedown...

Paying For The Move

They got their cut:
At the time, John Gibbons, director of Carrier’s residential product and platform strategy, said the cash “has been instrumental in helping Carrier’s Indianapolis manufacturing facility accelerate production of our high-efficiency gas furnace line.”

Despite the money, the company announced last week they decided to move 1,400 jobs to Mexico. Local union representatives will discuss the move with Carrier. Fox 59 reported that some “employees will be entitled to severance benefits, including access to the company’s Employee Scholar Program, which pays for tuition, books and fees at accredited higher education institutions.”
You could say they certainly got an education...

Dog House

So here's Hillary Clinton, explaining the dog's POV:

Old Red Versus Red Lite

Socialism is still socialism:
Modern “socialism” today appears to be a gentler, kinder version. For instance, countries like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway offer a far more generous social safety net with much higher taxes.

In this view, government just covers people’s basic needs (from everybody’s pockets, of course), but doesn’t seize all the businesses and try to run them, or overtly attempt to control people’s consciences.

These countries actually are not socialist, but “socialistic.” To accommodate their massive social welfare spending, these countries opened their economies to free-market forces in the 1990s, sold off state-owned companies, eased restrictions on business start-ups, reduced barriers to trade and business regulation, and introduced more competition into health care and public services.

In fact, today these countries outrank the United States on business freedom, investment freedom, and property rights, according to the Heritage Economic Freedom Index. So, if anything, the lesson from Scandinavian countries is that market reforms, not socialist ones, explain their prosperity.
This might not be your father's socialism, but too many want it to be...

Monday, February 15, 2016

Entitlement Culture Talk

Let's talk:
Candor would compel clarity. Why do we have budget deficits? The main reason is a fundamental mismatch between what the public wants from government and what it is willing to pay in taxes. The fact that we’ve had only five budget surpluses since 1961 eliminates the business cycle as a central cause. The annual gap between our wants and needed taxes is at least $500 billion and possibly twice that.

Further: The basic conflict posed by the budget is not between rich and poor but between workers and retirees. Present policy favors retirees over workers — the past over the present and future — because, politically, tampering with benefits is off-limits. The rest of government absorbs the fiscal consequences of an aging population.
When it comes to entitlements, honesty may indeed be the best policy...

For Your Discomfort

Are you discomforted?
“We ask members of our community to SPEAK UP and report alleged incidents of discrimination and incidents of discomfort regarding observed or experienced interactions of intolerance,” the University of Portland stated on the page.

To report such incidents, students are asked to call the university’s public safety department, a 24/7 emergency service that includes a director, two sergeants and nine public safety officers.

Listed next on the webpage under “Reporting Options” are the Title IX, student conduct and human resources departments.

“The University of Portland takes seriously its responsibility to provide an inclusive environment for all members of our community,” UP Director of Marketing and Communication Rachel Barry-Arquit told The College Fix in an email.

UP’s campus paper, the Beacon, reported that Speak Up was launched last month because “students of color feel isolated on campus” due to the widespread use of microaggressions on campus.

“The creation of this webpage reflects our desire to create a welcoming community for everyone. Campus safety is simply one of the many resources available and would be up to the discretion of the individual as to whether public safety needed to be involved,” Barry-Arquit told College Fix.
For those for whom safe spaces are not enough. Comforters all around!

Next In Line?

Supreme Court Justice Loretta Lynch:
Lynch is a "very serious possibility," Goldstein wrote. "The fact that Lynch was vetted so recently for attorney general also makes it practical for the president to nominate her in relatively short order."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, fearing that whoever Obama picks will tip the ideological balance of the nation's highest court to the left, has already made it clear that he believes next president should be responsible for appointing a justice. GOP presidential candidates, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio, have made similar statements.

But tapping Lynch to fill the seat of Scalia, who died suddenly Saturday, poses a perception problem for Republicans because her "history as a career prosecutor makes it very difficult to paint her as excessively liberal," Goldstein wrote.
Actual conservatives, however, wouldn't have a problem pointing out her flaws...

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Job Description

What, exactly, does the Fed Chair do? Even she might not know:

The Lost Good Decade

Why liberals are remembering the 90's wrong:
They allege that the 1994 crime bill caused an effectively racist surge in mass incarceration. (It didn’t.) They attack the 1996 welfare reform for immiserating the poor. (Two recessions later, the best evidence still suggests that welfare reform has reduced poverty.) They blame the repeal of Glass-Steagall for causing the 2007 financial crisis. (Its role was modest at best.)

Now it is true that Clintonian policies and rhetoric also didn’t cause all of the good things that happened in the 1990s. The 1993 budget deal didn’t kick off the dot-com boom. The crime bill played at best a secondary role in reducing homicide rates. Bill Clinton’s talk of “safe, legal and rare” and his willingness to talk about the cost of single parenthood were hardly decisive factors in reducing abortion or teen pregnancy.

But the Clintonian synthesis has been orphaned for ideological reasons, not because it was tested and found to fail. Liberals simply don’t want to believe that low-income Americans, black and Hispanic as well as white, might benefit from public paternalism in welfare policy, soft “values” rhetoric on marriage and family, and restrictions on illegal immigration — even though the working class’s best recent decade featured a Democratic president who embraced all three.
History may be written by the winners, but the losers sometimes remember how it actually went...

Mountain Man

Will Smith, for the people?
“I’m a climber, so if I see a mountain, I have to climb it. I’m not a camper; I don’t like hanging in one place too long. So I think, at this point, I’m elevating my ability to be useful in the world. I think that that’s what my grandmother always hoped, that I would make myself useful to people in this lifetime. I’m working really hard and my storytelling is elevating, my ability to be eloquent with my body and with my voice and to deliver ideas as an actor is elevating. And, you know, as I look at the political landscape, I think that there might be a future out there for me. They might need me out there. This is the first year that I’ve been incensed to a level that I can’t sleep, you know? So I’m feeling that at some point, in the near future, I will have to lend my voice to the conversation in a somewhat different way.”
He'll keep us safe from the aliens...

Facebook Faceoff

Milo Yiannopoulos is not a fan:
The other thing to bear in mind is that Facebook so far has a really really bad track record when it comes to free speech. And not just a bad track record censoring different political opinions like Twitter does. Facebook’s moves are even more sinister, in a way. Facebook has teamed up with governments to censor certain political opinions that the incumbent party doesn’t like. In Germany, for instance, Facebook has teamed up with Angela Merkel to censor reasonable, respectable, mainstream concern about mass Muslim immigration–or just about mass immigration in general–and has started removing this stuff and classifying it as “hate speech.” It is effectively slandering its own users saying that their perfectly reasonable points of view constitute “hate speech” and that they’re not going to be allowed on Facebook, and Facebook has promised the German government that this stuff will be removed within 24 hours. That is outright Orwellian. That is outright terrifying.
The Ministry of Friends?

Waiting Period

There will be no new Supreme Court justice this year:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that the Senate should wait until a new president is elected to confirm a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, whose sudden death Saturday shook Washington and threatened to reshape the 2016 presidential race.

Democrats said that with 11 months left in President Obama’s tenure, the Senate has enough time — and indeed an obligation — to confirm a replacement. Sen. Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the chamber, said it would be “shameful” to put off a replacement that long.

Mr. Obama said he would in fact make a nomination, forcing the issue on the GOP-led Senate.

“Obviously today is a time to remember Justice Scalia’s legacy. I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibility to nomination a successor in due time,” the president said while traveling in Rancho Mirage, California.
That sound you hear is of the Democrats licking their chops...

Blogging In The Years: 1988

Larry King interviews Donald Trump:

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Yahoos Of Yahoo

What is going on over there?
Despite Yahoo having been involved in a number of high profile and expensive failures under CEO Marissa Mayer, the company has not been deterred from trying to get involved with eSports. The Daily Dot recently revealed that Yahoo would be launching an eSports news section and would be making a number of hires in that area. It has been strongly rumoured that novelty League of Legends interviewer Travis Gafford would be first among a number of people brought on to Yahoo’s team after he announced his departure from Gamespot.

The start of Yahoo’s eSports content is off to an inauspicious start after they lifted an article in its entirety from the Red Bull website. An in-depth look at a Japanese eSports organisaton DetonatioN Gaming, written by freelance journalist Cameron Gilbert, was copy-pasted to Yahoo News without any changes being made whatsoever. Embarrassingly, whoever was responsible didn’t even bother to remove the author’s name, although bizarrely they didn’t copy the accompanying photographs.
I know it sucks for them to be in Google's shadow, but still...

Cash And Carry

Their money is better than yours:
The Democratic National Committee has rolled back restrictions introduced by presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 that banned donations from federal lobbyists and political action committees.

The decision was viewed with disappointment Friday morning by good government activists who saw it as a step backward in the effort to limit special interest influence in Washington. Some suggested it could provide an advantage to Hillary Clinton’s fundraising efforts.

“It is a major step in the wrong direction,” said longtime reform advocate Fred Wertheimer. “And it is completely out of touch with the clear public rejection of the role of political money in Washington,” expressed during the 2016 campaign.
What's a little corruption between friends of Hillary?

Justice At Rest

RIP Antonin Scalia:
Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, federal officials said.

Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa.

According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.

Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, of the Western Judicial District of Texas, was notified about the death from the U.S. Marshals Service.
Agree or disagree with him, no one could doubt his intellect and defense of the Constitution. RIP.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Zero Sum

No more zeroes:
The Greenville County School Board believes that a zero is “too destructive” and that this new policy will allow students a fair chance to bounce back from a low grade.

Some parents do not share the beliefs of the school board.

“The child doesn’t deserve a 60,” Greenville Co. parent Laurie Knapp told FOX Carolina. “They need to be prompted to get their grades up, and like I said be held accountable.”

The school board maintains that being held accountable does not have to involve receiving a zero grade, claiming that studies show students are more motivated in school when not faced with the possibility of receiving a zero.

“The idea that we’re not putting zeroes in the grade book or not putting grades below 61 has been really a positive thing for children,” says Principal Karen Knapp of Sevier Middle School, which is already implementing the policy.
It means their feelings won't get hurt...

Truth In Broadcasting

The right to be censored?
Look, throughout the history of radio and broadcasting, from Orson Welles to Howard Stern, people have stood up for the right to say and the right to argue and the right to make points. And people have lost their jobs, and opportunities, and they’ve been chastised for that. And they sacrificed. Throughout the history of broadcasting, you have these people. And I have no right to accept censorship. I’ve never been censored. In 35 years, I’ve never been censored, and I shouldn’t have been censored for this. And I have no right to accept censorship based on what broadcasting is. And nor should you accept censorship, ever. You should make sure that the people on the radio are telling you the truth as they see it. Now, you’re gonna argue with them and you can disagree with them, but don’t let the program director there, don’t let the general manager, don’t let some clown in New York tell them what to say, and then you think it’s their opinion, or what not to say. That’s what happened here, and I’m not accepting it. So, demand the truth. We’ll see how they feel about the truth, trust me, if I’m on the air tomorrow morning.
They can't handle the truth!

The Transformative Man

He can change, people:

They Heart Socialism

Today's kids like their socialism:
Less than two decades after socialism seemed to have been confined to the dust-heap of history, another generation may have to learn hard lessons.

The survey, taken at the end of January, found that 43 percent of Americans under 30 had a favorable view of socialism. Less than a third of millennials had a favorable view of capitalism. No other age or ethnic demographic preferred socialism over capitalism.

Seniors, unsurprisingly, had the most favorable view of capitalism. Just 23 percent of Americans older than 65 had a positive view of socialism. Sixty-three percent of seniors, though, had a favorable view of capitalism.

Seniors, after all, experienced the long-standing intellectual battle between capitalism and socialism played out in real life. They witnessed a post-war economic euphoria grind down into a socialist malaise, only to be reinvigorated by a global embrace of disruptive technology, deregulation, and global trade.
The kids will learn...

The Delegate League

Could Hillary win no matter what?
Today, Clinton or Sanders will need to win 2,382 votes on the convention floor to be named the party nominee. As noted, Clinton has a big lead in superdelegates, meaning she’s got a wide lead at the moment, despite winning Iowa by only a whisker and losing big in the Granite State.

This has outraged many Sanders supporters and amused some Republican pundits, who say it undermines the Democratic charge that requiring identification at the polls disenfranchises voters.

“All those Democrats voting in New Hampshire may not have had as much impact on the process as they thought they did,” writes Jim Geraghty at the right-leaning National Review.

In the past, however, superdelegates haven’t overturned primary and caucus results. This became an issue in 2008, when Barack Obama’s slim lead in pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses seemed threatened by Clinton’s superdelegate supporters.

But unlike pledged delegates chosen by voters, superdelegates aren’t bound by rules to vote for anybody. Those who currently support Clinton have endorsed her, but endorsements aren’t forever, particularly if the endorsee is struggling.
The Convention would be quite interesting if they do...

Anger Brain Management

Literally take a pill:
An 'anger pill' that could even calm down ‘The Incredible Hulk’ may be on the horizon after scientists identified the rage centre of the brain.

Violent outbursts like those depicted by the movie superhero happen when neurons that control anxiety break down.

The discovery could lead to the development of new drugs to treat people who struggle to keep a lid on their temper, replacing anger management classes.

Experiments on male mice found chemical changes in the lateral septum (LS) which lies in the middle of the brain made them attack peers without warning.

The finding may lead to better understanding of aggression in other animals, including humans.
Hulk feeling mellow?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Wave Riders

Somewhere, Einstein is smiling:
The discovery confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity. Gravitation waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot be obtained from elsewhere.

Not only have they fascinated scientists, but found their way into pop culture -- namely through movies such as "Back to the Future," where the space-time continuum was used as a medium for the DeLorean time machine to go back in time. It also was featured in the "Terminator" series.

Their existence was first demonstrated in the 1970s and 1980s by Joseph Taylor, Jr., and colleagues. In 1974, Taylor and Russell Hulse discovered a binary system composed of a pulsar in orbit around a neutron star. Taylor and Joel M. Weisberg in 1982 found that the orbit of the pulsar was slowly shrinking over time because of the release of energy in the form of gravitational waves. For discovering the pulsar and showing that it would make possible this particular gravitational wave measurement, Hulse and Taylor were awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Flux capacitors for everyone!

Progress Or Perish

Did the fear of god help humans advance?
“Throughout the years, there’s been an increasing awareness of how human social complexity is remarkably unprecedented in the animal kingdom,” said lead author Benjamin Purzycki, an anthropologist at the University of British Columbia. “So we’ve got to come up with some satisfactory way of explaining how it’s all possible that we can have remarkably complex societies interact with each other but have quite a fair amount of in-group cooperation and coordination as well.”

Scientists have increasingly found a connection between the type of religion these societies have and their ability to expand, Purzycki said. It's part of a growing field of research called evolutionary research studies, which looks in part at the way human societies and human belief systems have co-evolved, and how religious beliefs can bring adaptive advantages.

“For quite a few decades, cultural anthropologists have repeatedly observed in a variety of ways that there’s this relationship between the kinds of deities or religious systems that cultures have, and their degree of social complexity,” he said.
Thou shalt not stagnate...

Blame It On The Obamacare

They know who to blame:
"Congress, as I noted in my testimony, has underfunded … the Affordable Care Act," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told a panel of the House Appropriations Committee. "That does not remove the statutory mandate we have that we have to implement the act."

Koskinen delivered his remarks in response to a question from Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., who pointed out that Congress had "increased funding specifically for taxpayer services" in 2014 and 2016.

Koskinen said it didn't matter where Congress intended the money to go, explaining the agency had pulled funding for customer service and cybersecurity in order to ensure compliance with the ACA.

"As I said two years ago, at the continued level of underfunding, the things that were going to suffer were going to be enforcement, taxpayer service, and ultimately … information technology," Koskinen said.
Obamacare ate their competence?

Great Recession II?

Should we be worried?
History never repeats itself exactly, but the last time a recession was met by pure, unadulterated populism was in the Thirties, when the Americans turned a stock market crash and a series of monetary policy blunders into a depression. President Herbert Hoover signed into law the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, dreamt up by two economically illiterate Republican senators, slapping massive taxes on the imports of 20,000 goods and triggering a global trade war. It was perhaps the most economically destructive piece of legislation ever devised, and it took until the Nineties before the damage was finally erased.

That is why we must all hope that the turmoil of recent days in the financial markets, and the increasingly worrying economic news, will turn out to be a false alarm. It would certainly be ridiculously premature, at this stage, to call a recession, let alone a financial crisis. But at the very least we are seeing a major dose of the “dangerous cocktail of new threats” rightly identified at the turn of the year by George Osborne, a development which will have political repercussions even if the economy eventually muddles through.
The fear of a "cure" might be worse than the disease...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Clean As A Whistle

The Obama administration, scandal free? Not really:
Fast and Furious. The IRS scandal. The $2 billion spent building Healthcare.gov. The Veterans Administration letting veterans die waiting for care. The Office of Personnel Management hacking. Lying about Bowe Berghdahl. “Companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter, more prosperous future.”

Jonathan Gruber’s declaration that Obamacare depended upon the “stupidity of American voter.”

The NSA and Edward Snowden.

The stimulus “was riddled with a massive labor scheme that harmed workers and cheated unsuspecting American taxpayers.”
But aside from that, how did he do?

Red Bull Gives You Protests

So the Black Lives Matter movement has decided to take on...winter sports:
The Red Bull Crashed Ice event attracts tens of thousands of winter sports enthusiasts who get together to drink and watch athletes take on physical challenges. These aren't pushovers. It will be interesting to see how they react to Black Lives Matter agitators attempting to shut down their event.
They do seem to pick targets that can't fight back...

The New Hampshire Message

the establishment loses big in the Granite State:
Hillary lost among voters of every age group up to 65 and over; she got cleaned by an 85 percent to 14 percent margin among young voters. She lost with every income bracket except those earning over $200,000. She lost among men; she lost among women. There will be plenty of women in hell for failing to vote Hillary tonight. Voters who worried most about honesty voted for Sanders by a margin of 91 percent to 5 percent for Hillary; for which candidate cares more about people like them, they said Sanders by an 82 percent to 17 percent margin.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, Donald Trump destroyed the competition. He more than doubled the second-place finisher, Ohio Governor and black belt fruit ninja John Kasich, winning 35 percent of the vote to Kasich’s 16 percent. Senator Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)97%, whom the establishment despises, finished a surprising third with 12 percent of the vote, despite spending well under $1 million in the state in television advertising. Cruz actually won about the same percentage as fourth-place finisher Jeb! Bush, who spent $35 million on television advertising in the state.
The voters speak, media pundits and family dynasties hardest hit...

Order From The Court

President Obama's carbon plan is put on hold:
The surprising move is a blow to the administration and a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents that call the regulations “an unprecedented power grab.”

By temporarily freezing the rule the high court’s order signals that opponents have made a strong argument against the plan. A federal appeals court last month refused to put it on hold.

The court’s four liberal justices said they would have denied the request.

The plan aims to stave off the worst predicted impacts of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants by about one-third by 2030.

Appellate arguments are set to begin June 2.

The compliance period starts in 2022, but states must submit their plans to the Environmental Protection Administration by September or seek an extension.

Many states opposing the plan depend on economic activity tied to such fossil fuels as coal, oil and gas. They argued that power plants will have to spend billions of dollars to begin complying with a rule that may end up being overturned.

Implementation of the rules is considered essential to the United States meeting emissions-reduction targets in a global climate agreement signed in Paris last month. The Obama administration and environmental groups also say the plan will spur new clean-energy jobs.
While killing off all the existing ones...

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Passing The Costs On To You

President Obama's final budget goes for broke:
The White House “fact sheet” asserts that $2.9 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years would come from the tax hikes and savings incurred by Obamacare.

The tax hikes include increasing the top rate on capital gains, creating a new fee on banks, implementing the “Buffett Rule,” which would require millionaires to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes, and establishing a $10 per barrel tax on oil to raise $300 billion to spend on green energy and mass transit.

The proposal comes after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated soaring deficits and debt for the next decade.

“The budget proposes a number of reforms — including a detailed international tax reform plan — that would modernize the business tax code to make it fairer and more efficient, and to create jobs,” the White House news release says. “The Budget also finishes the job the past two bipartisan agreements started by preventing the return of harmful sequestration funding levels in 2018 and beyond, replacing the savings by closing tax loopholes and reforming tax expenditures, and with smart spending reforms.”
If these are reforms, I'd hate to see what unreformed looks like...

Tired Of Waiting For You

No more delays, Mrs. Clinton:
Judge Rudolph Contreras said the government is taking an “unreasonably long” time processing the messages and is already more than a week overdue on making them all public — and said he didn’t like being told speeding up could hurt national security.

“Government has me between a rock and a hard place,” he said.
....

The judge said he will order at least some emails to be released by Feb. 18, and showed little patience with the department’s delays.

“To state the obvious, these documents have a lot of interest and the timing is important,” Judge Contreras said.
The foot dragging ends now...

Polar Responders

The Obama administration wants to save the arctic:
The biggest piece of its climate spending proposal comes from a $2 billion fund to help coastal communities deal with sea-level rise. Of that, $400 million will be allocated over 10 years "to cover the unique circumstances confronting vulnerable Alaskan communities, including relocation expenses for Alaska Native villages threatened by rising seas, coastal erosion, and storm surges," according to a White House fact sheet issued ahead of the main budget release.

The request also proposed $900 million to the Interior Department's budget to beef up a land conservation program it runs to respond to climate change.

The budget proposes "full funding" for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF. The White House pointed out that the amount of funding is "equal to the oil and gas receipts deposited in the LWCF each year."
Yes, but you can actually do something useful with oil and gas reserves...

Safe Tweet Space

Twitter wants you to be safe:
To ensure people can continue to express themselves freely and safely on Twitter, we must provide more tools and policies. With hundreds of millions of Tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power…
That’s why we are announcing the formation of the Twitter Trust & Safety Council, a new and foundational part of our strategy to ensure that people feel safe expressing themselves on Twitter.
I thought they said they were supporting freedom of expression, not the other way around...

Angry Government Union Man

The leader of the government workers' union is not a fan of these Republicans:
For J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the stakes could not be higher this year, however.

“God help us all,” Cox told reporters on Monday of the possibility of a Republican winning the White House to succeed President Obama. “This country will be in a serious, serious situation.”

[…]

“There is not a Republican candidate that’s running that hasn’t said they would annihilate federal employee unions and virtually every union in the country,” Cox said.

The firebrand leader cited Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s legislation to ease the firing of employees at the Veterans Affairs Department, Donald Trump’s experience in the private sector and Cruz’s general anti-government rhetoric as evidence of the Republican field’s anti-federal workforce policies.
Who else is going to hire the incompetent and the lazy, if not government?

Derpy Is As Derpy Does

Some people are just plain dumb: Insulting someone for low intelligence is, by its very nature, what the left calls "ableist." You...