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December 4, 2013
SCOTT JOHNSON: “There is a disturbing undercurrent in Obama’s campaign-style speech on behalf of Obamacare rat the White House today. Obama never credits opponents of the law with the substance of their criticism. He does not attribute decent motives or good faith opposition to them. Rather, he treats them as ‘wreckers’ (as they were deemed in the Soviet Union) guilty of destructive thought crime.”
Hey, as I wrote back in 2010, “They’ll be going after ‘hoarders and wreckers’ next!” Can I call ‘em, or can I call ‘em?
ECONOMIST: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Cars.
Then there is the question of where the hydrogen comes from. At present, industrial hydrogen (which is used as a feedstock for refining oil, as well as for making chemicals, electronics and foodstuffs) is produced by reforming natural gas with steam. This is not a particularly clean process. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a federal facility in Colorado, producing a kilogram of hydrogen by steam reformation generates 11.9 kilograms of carbon dioxide. As the Honda Clarity could travel 68 miles (109km) on a kilogram of hydrogen, it would cause 175 grams of carbon dioxide to be dumped into the atmosphere for every mile it was driven.
By way of comparison, Volkswagen’s small diesel cars produce 145 grams per mile. On that reckoning, even petrol-electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius, which produces 167 grams per mile, are cleaner than the fuel-celled Clarity. Admittedly, fossil fuels also produce carbon emissions while being dug out of the ground, refined and transported to the pump. But burning hydrocarbons in internal-combustion engines is becoming cleaner all the time. When measured on a well-to-wheels basis, the steadily declining emission levels of conventional vehicles is putting the squeeze on so-called ZEVs.
Until you can electrolyze hydrogen with power from orbital solar plants, it probably isn’t going to be all that clean.
IN END-STAGE SOCIALISM, IT’S ALL ABOUT HOARDERS AND WRECKERS: Nicolas Maduro says he has proof Venezuela blackout was Right wing sabotage.
GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN: Walk of shame! A third of Brits have sex with a colleague after the office Christmas party. Walk of shame? Or walk of awesome? Depends on the colleague, I guess. . . .
VICTORIA’S SECRET WAGES WAR ON MEN:
A former Victoria’s Secret employee told us that workers at her Chicago-area store were trained to treat male customers differently from female ones.
“The general feeling about men is that they would buy anything in order to get out of the store as quickly as possible,” the worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told us. “That means they would spend more money.”
While workers tell women about promotions like 5 for $25 panties, they are more likely to sell men full-priced merchandise, the worker said.
Gender profiling. Can a class-action suit be far behind?
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Great Stratification. “Given that there are more than 1.4 million college faculty members in the United States, it is clear that they are not disappearing. But the all-purpose professor has faded. We have tended to see the professor as a single figure, but he is now a multiple being, of many types, tasks, and positions. And instead of the traditional idea of a community of scholars, all roughly equivalent, we now have a distended pyramid, with a huge base of people whose primary job is teaching, often entry-level courses; a layer of specialists in particular fields and researchers who may hardly even teach above them; and a thin spire of administrators commanding the peak.” Actually, the administrators outnumber faculty. But academia has become a stratified environment, with a comparatively small nobility reigning over an army of low-paid adjunct serfs. But don’t worry — the people at the top spend a lot of time decrying inequality!
I think we should convert administrators into low-paid, contract-worker “adjunct administrators.” In fact, I argue for this in my forthcoming book, among other things.
Yogurt eaters already know that not all bacteria are bad for you. They may not realize that some bacteria are so important that one day people may fight off disease with pills filled with bacteria instead of drugs.
Seres Health hopes to develop the first regulated, clinically approved bacteria-filled pill to treat diseases associated with disruptions to the microbes inside the human body. The company launched last month with $10.5 million in investments; its founders have been working on the bacteria pill for two years and say they’re already testing one candidate treatment in patients.
A new understanding of the microbiome—the collection of microbes inhabiting a body—has led a wave of companies, from startups to large pharmaceutical companies, to look at bacteria as a new area of focus. While some companies plan to develop drugs to “reset” the microbiomes of sick people, Seres is one of a few planning to use live bacteria to do the same job.
WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Know Your Mechanical Exoskeletons: Wearable exoskeletons will revolutionize manufacturing, healthcare, and the military.
CURING THE HEALTHCARE CRISIS BY ENDING THE WAR ON THE POOR: The welfare state has eroded the culture of individual initiative.
WHY MILLENNIALS CAN’T GROW UP: Helicopter parenting has caused my psychotherapy clients to crash land. “I suggested finding a job after graduation, even if it’s only temporary. She cried harder at this idea. ‘So, becoming an adult is just really scary for you?’ I asked. ‘Yes,’ she sniffled. Amy is 30 years old.”
NATIONAL JOURNAL: Millennials Abandon Obama, ObamaCare. “Young Americans are turning against Barack Obama and Obamacare, according to a new survey of millennials, people between the ages of 18 and 29 who are vital to the fortunes of the president and his signature health care law. The most startling finding of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics: A majority of Americans under age 25–the youngest millennials–would favor throwing Obama out of office.”
Everybody likes an underdog, but nobody likes a loser.
TOO DANGEROUS. PEOPLE MIGHT TRY TO EXPAND THAT “FREEDOM” STUFF NATIONWIDE: Rand Paul offers ‘Freedom Zones’ to save bankrupt Detroit.
WORKER EXPLOITATION: Obama Organization Doesn’t Pay Interns. Hey, if you’re lucky you can get an unpaid gig with Organizing For America — in which you work to increase the minimum wage!
MORE NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF “SMART DIPLOMACY:” Mixed Messages From Washington Confuse Asian Allies. “Washington needs to get its ducks in a row. The different branches of the US government can’t be sending out mixed messages. Our allies in Asia are watching very closely to gauge the depth of the US commitment to stability in Asia. Diplomatic missteps, confusion, mixed messages, and incompetence will only further convince our allies that the US ship has sailed.” We elected a post-American president. Not surprising that his diplomacy is pushing us toward a post-American world. Hey, it’s not like you weren’t warned.
Now back to the latest episode of Post-American Bandstand.
NEW FRONTIERS IN LEGISLATIVE BLACKMAIL:
The Service Employees International Union is sponsoring ballot initiatives in California and Oregon that would cap executive pay at hospitals and limit how much customers can be charged. But what does this have to do with the workers? you will ask. The answer is nothing, directly. Instead, the ballot initiatives are bargaining chips. If the hospitals will “work with” the union, the SEIU will back off the ballot initiatives, which threaten hospital profits.
Hey, I have an idea: How about legislation saying that union officials can’t make more than 4 times the pay of their lowest-paid member? That seems fair — and, unlike rules for employers, it even polices a potential conflict-of-interest. Start pushing that one!
YEAH, BUT PEOPLE WHO USE THAT WORD LOOSELY ARE USUALLY IDIOTS: Stop Calling Superheroes ‘Fascist:’ Political attacks on the genre miss the simple fact that Batman and Superman fight against tyrants—and choose not to abuse their power. I mean, they dress up and aren’t afraid to use force — and that’s what fascism is all about, right?
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NATIONAL JOURNAL: ObamaCare’s Credibility Problem.
[Krauthammer link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!]
QUESTION: If Obama Ignores The Law, Why Shouldn’t The Rest Of Us? Because he took an oath to faithfully execute the law — and you didn’t, peons!
PROF. STEPHEN CLARK WRITES:
Behold! Obama’s RCP average approval rating has broken through the 40% barrier for the first time in his presidency.
For a long time it has lingered stubbornly at 40 point something. It’s as if there’s something significant about that barrier. He’s into uncharted territory before the real shocks likely to come early next year.
How low can he go?
We have some ideal morally. Now we’ll find out politically. . . .
JAMES TARANTO: White House Furor: The Rosa Parks and #WHYouth kerfuffles.
Barack Obama probably should have known better than to honor the Parks anniversary by tweeting a photo of himself on an empty bus. At least the GOP tweet depicted Parks herself.
Which brings us to the furor we mentioned at the outset. It seems the White House held a “hangout on young people & ObamaCare” yesterday, which some aide had the bright idea of promoting with the Twitter hashtag #WHYouth. Hilarity ensued, as Twitchy demonstrates with its roundup of tweets (including one from yours truly, noting that the big loser is the Westney Heights Baptist Church in Ajax, Ontario, whose own youth program had the top spot in a Google search for “whyouth” until yesterday).
Evidently nobody at the White House anticipated the inevitable “Hitler Youth” jokes. That suggests not just political incompetence but a gross ignorance of history.
It’s clown shows all the way down.
SURVEY SAYS: Dems Are The Out Of Touch Extremists. “The public overwhelmingly believes the country is headed in the wrong direction, that current economic policies aren’t working, that President Obama is doing a bad job, that government should be smaller and that ObamaCare should be repealed. But not Democrats. On issue after issue, in fact, Democrats are the outliers by wide margins, according to an analysis of the December IBD/TIPP survey.”
THE MEAN STREETS OF DC: Daily Caller’s ‘Jim Treacher’ punched in face, placed in handcuffs. Get better soon, Jim.
SPYING: Some NSA Opponents Want to ‘Nullify’ Surveillance With State Law: Activists say legislation can cut water, kill snooping at Utah Data Center. “The National Security Agency has an Achilles heel, according to some anti-surveillance activists. The key vulnerability, according to members of the OffNow coalition of advocacy groups: The electronic spy agency’s reliance on local utilities. The activists would like to turn off the water to the NSA’s $1.5 billion Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah, and at other facilities around the country.”
Watch to see if mysterious revelations about key Utah legislators somehow find their way to the press.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Students Blame Colleges For Debt Woes.
WELL, THAT’S PRETTY MUCH THE GOAL: Chronicle of Philanthropy: IRS Plan on Nonprofit Political Work Undermines Democracy.
IT’S TRAIN WRECKS ALL THE WAY DOWN: Insurers wary of Obama admin claims about back-end website fixes.
Insurers still don’t know the full extent of the problems associated with back-end issues on healthcare.gov and are wary of Obama administration officials’ claims they are fixing the problem quickly and fully.
President Obama and other White House officials spent Monday and Tuesday trumpeting fixes to the healthcare.gov website, saying it met a self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline to deliver a smooth user experience to the vast majority of Americans trying to enroll in the federal exchanges online.
But they are providing few details about computer-generated errors that have affected roughly one-third of consumers who have signed up on exchanges over the last few months, according to a report in the Washington Post.
Whenever they clam up, it’s because the news is even worse than you think.
CHANGE: Young Women Are Driving Record Firearms Sales. Illustrated with pictures of gun-loving cheerleaders, etc.
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, is taking on a new and formidable immigration policy director, a sign that he could be more serious about passing immigration legislation than his critics suggest.
Rebecca Tallent, who currently serves as director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, will join Boehner’s staff on Wednesday. Before joining the BPC, Tallent held several senior staff positions with Sen. John McCain, including chief of staff.
During her time with McCain, she helped the Arizona Republican draft a handful of immigration overhaul measures, including the last big push McCain made with the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., in 2007. In 2008, she was a policy adviser on McCain’s presidential campaign. Before working for McCain, she worked for former Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., a longtime advocate of overhauling the immigration system who was involved in immigration efforts before he retired in 2006.
So who has more influence with the GOP establishment? The GOP grassroots base, or the fatcat donor base?
JOE PAPPALARDO: SpaceX Satellite Launch Rewrites the Rules. “This marks an important milestone for the company, which had never before delivered cargo to this pivotal orbit. Even more important, it marks a new level of affordability for accessing space. Monday’s launch will cost SES about $60 million. That’s $200 million less than proven European provider Arianespace charges.”
HEY, IF I HAD HILLARY — OR JOHN KERRY — AS A BOSS, I’D BE DRINKING MORE, TOO: “The Washington Times reports that the department spent about $180,000 on alcohol in September and $400,000 in all of 2012 — that’s three times the $118,000 spent in 2008.”
WHY DO DEMOCRATS KEEP SHUTTING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT? The Hill: Shutdown part 2? Dems vow to block stopgap spending bill.
YOUR CARING GOVERNMENT AT WORK: A Miracle Drug Cured Ed Levitt of Stage IV Lung Cancer. Then the FDA Withdrew it From the Market.
SHOCKER: Despite improvements, Obamacare website would still be a private sector failure. “Obama administration officials have spent this week touting a new and improved healthcare.gov website, boasting that it can now be accessed 95 percent of the time – but that still means that it would be down 18 days a year. . . . ‘To have the site totally inaccessible for a day and a half per month, that’s really bad,’ Noll said. ‘If that was a retailer, they would typically bring in a new VP of IT and chief information officer … I mean, if you’re selling something, that is a really horrible uptime.’”
CORRECTING THE NARRATIVE: Yes Obama, Republicans have offered Obamacare alternatives.
Nineteen people stood behind President Obama on stage in the Executive Office Building Tuesday as the president kicked off a new campaign to promote Obamacare. One of those people, a young Florida woman named Monica Weeks, introduced Obama after telling the story of being struck with Crohn’s disease at age 19 and receiving expensive treatments for several years covered by her parents’ health care plan — because Obamacare allowed her to remain on that plan until age 26. Now, Weeks said, she has coverage through a job. “The Affordable Care Act gives young adults who are just starting their careers more time to find a good job that offers reliable health insurance,” Weeks said.
There were 18 other people standing with Weeks and the president on stage. Obama began his remarks by saying, “Thanks to Monica, thanks to everybody standing behind me.” A little later, criticizing Republicans who have pronounced Obamacare a failure, the president said, “I would advise them to check with the people who are here today and the people that they represent all across the country whose lives have been changed for the better by the Affordable Care Act.”
But Obama never said who those people were, and, unlike other events, the White House did not release their names or biographies. A spokesman later said the White House would not provide the information. A pool report called the group “19 individuals whom the White House said benefited from health care reform.” Beyond that, their connection to Obamacare remains unknown.
Actors? Temps? Relatives of White House staffers? Who knows?
SHIKHA DALMIA: The Pope’s Self-Defeating Anti-Capitalistic Rant. “Pope Francis doesn’t have to thank capitalism, a system that has done far more to alleviate poverty, his pet crusade, than the institution he leads. But he should at least stop demonizing it—not least because it enables the very activity that he cherishes most: charity.”
The thing you have to understand is that the Pope is from Argentina, where “capitalism” has meant “state-enabled vampire cronyism” since before he was born. Unsurprisingly, in that same time period Argentina has gone from one of the world’s richest countries to . . . something less.
SOUNDS LIKE POTENTIAL TRANS-BASHING TO ME: Tulsa Lady Confronts Man Masturbating In Women’s Bathroom At Walmart. Who is she to attack him/her for expressing his/her gender identity and sexuality? BIGOT!
December 3, 2013
NEW GUN SAFES COST MONEY, and the ones we have are full. Black Friday 2013 gun sales sixth-highest in history but lower than 2012. Plus there’s finding room for all the stockpiled ammunition. . . .
OBAMA: “We’re not going back” to that horrible time when 87% of Americans were happy with their health insurance.
ROGER SIMON: The First Hippie President.
We’re talking about all of it, the whole multi-culti-missing-white-mother-vanished-Kenyan-father-anti-imperialist-America-is-always-the-enemy-and-don’t-you-forget-it-nine-yards. And like most hippie culture as I knew and experienced it, it wasn’t about “peace and love.” Not in the slightest. That was a masquerade — remember Altamont? It was a put-down of “The Man” and violent aggression toward everything that was decent just because it was normal and the status quo. And the methods were — pace Bill Ayers, the Chicago Seven, the Weathermen, et al. — “by any means necessary.” “Burn, baby, burn” whether you were white or black. As Jonah Goldberg eloquently pointed out in his brilliant book, hippie culture was part and parcel of “liberal fascism.”
Which accounts for a lot of where we are today. Trust a hippie to negotiate with the mullahs and trust a hippie, yet more incredibly if reports are true, to negotiate with Hezbollah.
I know. I was one myself. Sort of.
Of course, most of us grew out of it. Obama, however, was late to the party and, like many latecomers, didn’t quite see it for what it was.
Sure he did. Like many others, he saw it as an opportunity.
MY EDITOR EMAILS THAT my USA Today column on abolishing the TSA is currently the most-read item on the entire USA Today site.
WAR ON MEN: Archie Comics’ Female CEO Accused of Referring to Male Employees as “Penis.” Her defense: It’s okay because white males don’t have civil rights.
I’D RATHER HAVE A PHASED PLASMA RIFLE IN THE 40KW RANGE: Here’s Your Chance to Own Han Solo’s Blaster — For $300K.
U.N.C. SCANDAL UPDATE: Professor Indicted for No-Show Class Offered To Athletes. “Julius Nyang’oro, the former chair and former professor of African studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was indicted Monday on a felony charge of accepting $12,000 for a course he did not teach, The News & Observer reported. The charge is a lower level felony, authorities said, and unlikely even upon a conviction to lead to jail time. But the indictment is another milestone in a scandal about no-show courses — many of them taken by athletes.”
CHANGE: Circumcision for AIDS prevention on the rise in Africa. “Unaids, the United Nations agency fighting the disease, said about 3.2 million African men had been voluntarily circumcised since word began spreading in 2007 of studies showing that it lowered the risk of infection by about 60 percent. . . . Circumcision is currently recommended for uninfected heterosexual men in countries where more than 1 percent of the population has H.I.V. It does not protect gay men engaged in receptive anal sex, believed to cause most infections in the United States.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE: That Armpit Odor Says a Lot About Who You Are. Especially if it reeks of AXE Body Spray.
UPDATE: The phrase has reached the Washington Post: PotemkinCare. “The Obama administration has not created a functioning Web site. Rather, it has erected a Potemkin village online — a façade that temporarily conceals the lack of architecture behind it. . . . The Web site provides the illusion of a working health-care exchange, but while it takes your information, there’s no telling what it will do with it. . . . Ironically, the president was the one to point it out: Obamacare is more than a Web site. The Web site is a portal. Now that you can enter it, you expect to get the insurance you paid for? Silly you.”
RICHARD EPSTEIN ON HIS FORTHCOMING BOOK, The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government.
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: As Change Comes To Eurasia, U.S. Is Asleep At The Switch. I think that’s what we’re supposed to call “Smart Diplomacy.”
HOW BAD IS IT? SO BAD THAT THIS IS THE POSITIVE SPIN FROM TIME: HealthCare.gov No Longer a Complete Fail. Close enough for government work!
OBAMACARE’S NEW GOAL: Stay Alive Until 2015.
Here are a few things I think we can say: It’s working better now than it was two months ago; we don’t know whether that’s good enough; and the fact that the administration is choosing odd metrics, such as comparing the performance of the site to October rather than how you’d actually like it to perform, is probably not a happy omen. (As I believe Scott Adams once noted, irrelevant comparisons are a great favorite of salesmen with mediocre products. “Sure, 37 mph isn’t great for a sports car, but you have to compare that to hopping!”)
And I do think this tells us something else important: The administration has given up on success, as it might once have defined it. The object is no longer 7 million people signed up through the exchanges, with 2.7 million of them young and healthy, and the health-care cost curve bending back toward the earth. It is to keep the program alive until 2015. The administration’s priorities are, first, to keep Democrats from undoing the individual mandate or otherwise crippling the law; second, to keep insurers from raising premiums or exiting the marketplace; third, to tamp down loose talk about the failures on the exchanges; and, only fourth, to get to the place where it used to think it would be this year, with lots of people signed up for affordable insurance. It is now measuring the program’s success not by whether it meets its goals, but by whether it survives at all. And all of its choices are oriented toward this new priority.
Sounds like a recipe for success!
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