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NEW ADVENTURES IN optical illusions.
FAREWELL TO KINGS, Hello To Midgets.
OUT: SCHOLARLY CITATION COUNTS. In: Scholarly “Tweetation” Counts.
I’LL BE ON GAY PATRIOT AND AMY OTTO’S RADIO SHOW IN JUST A MINUTE. Here’s the link.
PEELING THE ONION OF FAIL: Oregon signs up just 44 people for Obamacare despite spending $300 million. So, roughly $7 million per signup.
JUDGING BY THIS ITEM, all divorces are because men are losers.
CULTURE OF SECRETS: The NYPD’s Black-Box Problem.
YEAH, I’VE READ FOOTFALL, AND I DON’T LIKE THIS: Cassini Spies Mysterious Object Named ‘Peggy’ at Edge of Saturn’s Rings. But then, we’ve been reading the signs and portents for a while. Wake up, sheeple!
MAGGIE MCNEILL: Treating Sex Work As Work.
The common belief in criminalization and legalization regimes is that sex work is unique among all forms of work; this view is solidly rooted in an archaic and sexist view of women as particularly fragile and vulnerable, and the “Swedish model” posits that paying for sex is a form of male violence against women. This is why only the act of payment is de jure prohibited: the woman is legally defined as being unable to give valid consent, just as an adolescent girl is in the crime of statutory rape. The man is thus defined as morally superior to the woman; he is criminally culpable for his decisions, but she is not. In one case, a 17-year-old boy (a legal minor in Sweden) was convicted under the law, thus establishing that in the area of sex, adult women are less competent than male children.
One would expect that feminists would be vehemently opposed to a law that so thoroughly infantilizes women, but it was first enacted in 1999 under pressure from state feminists; its radical feminist supporters in Sweden and other countries seem wholly oblivious to its insulting and demeaning assumptions about women’s agency. Nor is the damage caused by this remarkably bad legislation limited to dangerous precedent; despite unsupported claims by the Swedish government to the contrary, the law has been demonstrated to increase both violence and stigma against sex workers, to make it more difficult for public health workers to contact them, to subject them to increased police harassment and surveillance, to shut them out of the country’s much-vaunted social welfare system, and to dramatically decrease the number of clients willing to report suspected exploitation to the police (due to informants’ justified fear of prosecution). Furthermore, these laws don’t even do what they were supposed to do; neither the incidence of sex work (voluntary or coerced) nor the attitude of the public toward it has changed measurably in any country (Sweden, Norway and Iceland) where they have been enacted.
Yet despite this complete failure, Swedish-style rhetoric has been heavily marketed to other countries.
This comes as no great surprise. Lefties deny everyone agency, one way or another.
PERHAPS WE CAN TEST THEM ON CONGRESS: A Cybernetic Implant That Repairs Brain Damage.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: How To Buy A Win At The Oscars.
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AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Russian Meteor, from Birth to Fiery Death: An Asteroid’s Story.
Scientists have pieced together the history of the space rock that slammed into the atmosphere over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15, creating a shock wave that injured 1,200 people. It’s a long, convoluted tale that picks up just after the solar system started coming together 4.56 billion years ago. . . .
Work published just a few months ago indicates that the Chelyabinsk asteroid was exposed to space just 1.2 million years ago, suggesting that yet another impact occurred around that time, Kring added.
This collision perhaps finalized the size of the space rock, which is thought to have measured about 65 feet (20 meters) wide when it entered Earth’s atmosphere.
“And finally, of course, we have one more collisional event, on Feb. 15, 2013,” Kring said.
While the Chelyabinsk asteroid met its end that day, other fragments of the LL chondrite still exist out in the depths of space. One such chunk is the 1,770-foot-long (540 m) asteroid Itokawa, which Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft visited in 2005, gathering samples that were returned to Earth five years later.
Good thing that that fragment wasn’t the one that hit.
A SAD STORY WITH A HAPPY ENDING: A mother-of-two has finally achieved a ‘mind-blowing’ orgasm with her husband of 13 years after years of rejecting him.
AN ARGUMENT FOR THE OXFORD COMMA.
READER BOOK PLUG: From Casey Neumiller, Destiny’s Heir.
SPEAKING AS AN ASPLENIC-AMERICAN, I feel that Harvard is mocking my disability. Where do I file a complaint?
I BLAME GLOBAL WARMING. AND GEORGE W. BUSH! As More People Live Longer Why Are Rates of Dementia Falling? “A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine points out that something unexpected has happened to confound the gloomy prognostications of epidemiologists and demographers. As the percentage of people surviving into old age increases, so the proportion of them who suffer from dementia decreases. People are not only living longer, but living better. This is a phenomenon that has happened across the western world.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! Obamacare Exchanges Won’t Hit Enrollment Targets.
CHARLES GLASSER: Challenges facing young business journalists.
I bought a case of Rippetoe’s book Starting Strength and give them away to my friends. I really think his strength training saved my life when I had a heart attack. I have no detectable damage. Highly recommended.
Well, I dunno about heart attacks, but it couldn’t hurt.
POTEMKIN VILLAGES ALL THE WAY DOWN: ‘Fake’ sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela memorial provokes anger.
Plus: WSJ: Poll: Health Law Hurts President Politically; Disapproval Rate Obama’s Job Performance Rises to All-Time High of 54%, Even as Americans Upbeat on Economy. “The federal health-care law is becoming a heavier political burden for President Barack Obama and his party, despite increased confidence in the economy and the public’s own generally upbeat sense of well-being, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests.”
IN THE MAIL: From Wesley Morrison, I Would Like My Bailout in Bacon.
TAXPROF: The IRS Scandal, Day 216.
DAN MITCHELL: Ryan-Murray Budget Deal Replaces Real Spending Restraint of Sequester with Budget Gimmicks and Back-Door Tax Hikes. To be fair, the Dems wanted to gin up a government shutdown to distract from the ObamaCare debacle, and this prevents that. And the GOP can always push for spending cuts at the next debt-limit vote, in a context that’s politically much safer.
I PREFER MY “PEELING AN ONION OF FAIL” METAPHOR, BUT “FAIL FRACTAL” HAS A NICE RING TO IT, TOO: ACA Fail Fractal: The Deeper You Get, The More Dysfunction You See.
Higher deductibles can, in certain contexts, be useful for introducing some price sensitivity into the system. But that depends on how people go about dealing with them. There are two deep-rooted problems with what remains in many ways an excellent health care system overall: it is too expensive, and not enough people have enough access to it. The cheaper health care becomes, the easier it is to expand access. In a cheaper system, fewer people need subsidies and the subsidies they do need are smaller. Without fixing costs, on the other hand, more and more people, not to mention the government, struggle to pay for our system, and the resources for expanding access shrink as the cost of do so grows.
Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act puts most of its effort on the wrong end of the problem: access rather than price. That’s one reason the rollout has been going so poorly and in some respects will get worse. Because not much effort was put into cost control, many insurers have taken the one easy step available to them to limit rate shock: restricting provider networks. As a result, people are unexpectedly losing access to doctors they have seen for years.
COMING NEXT, CLAUDE RAINS ORDERS AN INVESTIGATION INTO GAMBLING AT MONSIEUR RICK’S: Hilarious: Clueless Sebelius Demands Investigation Into Screwed-Up ObamaCare Website.
WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE WITH THIS KIND OF ONE-SIDED PRO-GOVERNMENT COVERAGE? MSNBC? China state media under fire for arguing benefits of smog. No, because other state media are actually criticizing them: “While both pieces have since been deleted from their websites, Chinese newspapers lost little time in denouncing their point of view, in an unusual case of state media criticizing other state media, showing the scale of the anger.”
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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: ABA Proposes Annual Audits of Law School Placement Data.
On Friday we analyzed a fatuous article in which the Washington Post’s Ryan Cooper tried to reassure his left-liberal readers that they needn’t worry about the next phase of the ObamaCare disaster–that is, the third phase, known as “adverse selection.” Adverse selection will occur when young, healthy adults fail to purchase insurance at inflated prices, which ObamaCare needs them to do to sustain the artificially low premiums of the middle-aged and those with pre-existing conditions.
Well, you’ll never guess who’s terrified of adverse selection. “Only 29% of uninsured young people now say they plan to sign up for Obamacare,” warns an email we received today from one Mark Crain:
This could become a gigantic problem, because the only way we can afford to cover all the people with pre-existing conditions is if younger, healthier people enroll as well. If only sick people sign up, our entire health insurance system falls apart.
And who is this Mark Crain? He’s with MoveOn.org, that chronic affliction on the American body politic since 1998. Laughably, Crain blames adverse selection on “one-sided press coverage.”
Well, he’s kinda right — if it weren’t for one-sided press coverage, ObamaCare never would have passed. Heck, Obama never would have been elected.
YEAH, WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THAT COMING? Byron York: Euphoria of Obamacare becomes nightmare of higher premiums and deductibles.
From a distance of three and a half years, the events of March 23, 2010, the day President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, seem like something from another world.
On that day, the Democrats who gathered in the East Room of the White House for the signing ceremony could barely contain their joy. They cheered, they laughed, they shouted, they pumped their fists, they wouldn’t sit down. They chanted “Fired up — ready to go!” as they had at Obama campaign rallies. When the president recognized Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the House, the chant turned to “Nancy! Nancy! Nancy!”. . . .
After an effusive introduction from Vice President Biden, Obama turned almost immediately to the task ahead. “It will take four years to implement fully many of these reforms,” he said, “because we need to implement them responsibly. We need to get this right.”
At the time, no one had any idea just how ill-prepared Obama and his administration were to actually do the job they set for themselves. Three years later, approaching an Oct. 1, 2013, deadline for the establishment of the Obamacare exchanges, the administration was still scrambling to finish even the most basic tasks. What followed was disaster.
But on signing day 2010, it was all cheering. As the audience applauded, Obama promised the new law would “lower costs for families and for businesses.” He cited the case of Natoma Canfield, an Ohio woman whose story he often told during the health care fight. Canfield, divorced and 50 years old, had had cancer but was still able to find what she called “costly, but affordable” coverage on the individual market. Then her insurance company abruptly raised her premium.
“Natoma had to give up her health coverage after her rates were jacked up by more than 40 percent,” Obama said.
Now, because of Obamacare, millions of Americans in the individual market, most of whom have not had a major health crisis, are facing abrupt increases of more than 40 percent in their health insurance premiums. On top of that, they are finding deductibles rising far beyond those that troubled Canfield. (In a 2009 letter to the president, Canfield complained of having a $2,500 deductible; on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that under Obamacare “the average individual deductible for what is called a bronze plan on the exchange — the lowest-priced coverage — is $5,081 a year.”)
Even the president’s personal observations on signing day were not what they appeared. “I’m signing this reform bill into law on behalf of my mother,” Obama told the audience, “who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days.” Obama often cited his mother’s story, suggesting that she had to fight to have her treatment covered. But a year after the signing ceremony, a 2011 biography of Stanley Ann Dunham revealed she had health coverage that covered the costs of her cancer treatment. Her argument was over a disability policy, which she wanted to pay her living — not medical — expenses. Obama never said that.
It’s lies and incompetence all the way down.
While the House ties up some legislative loose ends this week before adjourning for the year, there is one suspension bill the public — and House Republicans — might be surprised to find many Democrats opposing: a measure aimed at boosting pediatric medical research at the National Institutes of Health.
The “Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act,” named after a 10-year-old girl who died in October following an 11-month battle with an inoperable brain tumor, would end $12.5 million in funding for party nominating conventions and authorize the money for pediatric research grants instead. It’s the latest iteration of a proposal House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., unveiled in April and is sponsored by Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss.
“They’re politicizing the death of a child by naming the bill after her,” a Democratic leadership aide told CQ Roll Call on Tuesday. “That’s pretty disingenuous and callous to use a tragedy like hers to advance something partisan.”
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Yeah, the Democrats in Congress would never stoop to something like that . . . .
MALKIN TAKES THE BOEING — AGAIN: Salem Communications to acquire Twitchy. Meanwhile, I just keep plodding along, unbought.
A RESURGENCE OF “LIBERATION THEOLOGY?” Long march through the institutions continues.
GONZALO LIRA: Why Are You Speculating Instead Of Investing? “These people chasing returns aren’t greedy or evil. But they realize that, as they grow older, they won’t be able to count on Social Security to get them through their old age. They’ll need a nest egg that will produce enough income to get them through the thirty years after the end of their working life.” The system as currently run is designed to encourage you to do this, by punishing people for traditionally prudent saving.
A RIPPETOE CHRISTMAS: Reader Stephen Staff writes:
Glenn – was at the gym this morning and observed someone doing a barbell squat with perfect form. A quick question confirmed what I had suspected – Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength strikes again! It’s not the first time I’ve asked the question after observing someone with great form (which is all too often NOT the case) and heard them sing Rippetoe’s praises. I thought it might be a great idea to remind readers that the book would make a great Christmas gift to anyone who is a lifter – novice or pro. Might come in handy for those New Year’s resolutions as well! Thanks.
IN BRITAIN, AN IMMIGRATION GAP BETWEEN POLITICIANS AND VOTERS: Ed Miliband accused of contempt for voters after his polling guru said their anti-immigration views made him ‘depressed.’ Well, the whole point of Britain’s immigration policy over the past couple of decades was to replace the existing voters with newer, more tractable ones. . . .
HMM: Budget Deal Is Sealed. “Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced a budget deal Tuesday evening that would call for about $1 trillion in federal spending in 2014 while replacing some sequestration cuts. The deal replaces $63 billion in sequester cuts over two years and trims an additional $23 billion in long-term deficits. The agreement falls far short of the grand budget bargain Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama once envisioned. But if passed, it will bring a measure of fiscal peace to the capital for the first time since Republicans took control of the House in 2010.”
I dunno. It may be more politically advantageous than another shutdown, but I think the sequester was doing a better job of restraining spending.
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: All My Exes Live in Texts: Why the Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up. “There’s the ex who ‘likes’ everything you post. The ex who appears in automated birthday reminders. The ex who appears in your OkCupid matches. The ex whose musical taste you heed on Spotify. The ex whose new girlfriend sent a friend request. . . . There was also a time, I am told, when staying in touch was difficult. Exes were characters from a foreclosed past, symbols from former and forgone lives. Now they are part of the permanent present.” Well, I dunno. I always tended to stay in touch with ex-girlfriends. Helen and I probably would never have dated if it weren’t for one of them who put us together.
And as you do your shopping, here’s a reminder: InstaPundit is an Amazon affiliate. When you do your shopping through the Amazon links on this page, including the “Shop Amazon” tab at the top or the searchbox in the right sidebar, you put a little money in my family’s pocket at no cost to yourself. Just click on the Amazon link, then shop as usual. It’s much appreciated!
REMEMBER, THE REASON THERE ARE SO FEW MALE TEACHERS IS THAT PEOPLE THINK OF MEN AS PREDATORS: Former Hillsborough teacher sentenced to 38 years for sex with student.
Calling her “a parent’s worst nightmare,” a judge sentenced former Hillsborough County schoolteacher Ethel Anderson to 38 years in prison Monday for performing oral sex and other lewd acts on a 12-year-old boy she tutored on weekends.
Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe’s severe punishment of Anderson seemed designed to send a message in a county that has attracted disproportionate attention for sex scandals involving female educators. The most notorious of them, Debra Lafave, managed to avoid incarceration completely after pleading guilty to sex with a 14-year-old boy.
“There are those that believe that nothing’s wrong if the defendant is a woman and the victim is a male,” Tharpe said Monday. “This court does not recognize gender. If it’s proven, as an adult, that you had sex with a child, you can expect to go to prison.”
Read the whole thing.
BRAVE TALK FROM A MAN WHO STILL USES A BLACKBERRY: Obama Says Everyone Should Learn How to Hack.
The endeavor is reminiscent of the “Year of Code” campaign promoted in 2012 by programming tutorial company Codecademy, which culminated in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeting that his New Year’s resolution was to learn to code. The campaign earned criticism from some programmers who think technical skills are being overemphasized.
“I would no more urge everyone to learn programming than I would urge everyone to learn plumbing,” Discourse co-founder and CTO Jeff Atwood wrote.
None the less, the code literacy movement has continued apace. Several companies are taking part the Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week. Apple is hosting Hour of Code tutorials at its Apple Store retail locations, and Codecademy today launched an iPhone app for learning code on the go.
But the big question on everyone’s minds? Whether will Obama take his own advice and complete a programming tutorial today.
No. Next question?
HONESTLY, I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS THAT IMPRESSIVE: Thoughts on Katy Perry’s cleavage.
AS PETER O’TOOLE SAID IN THE STUNT MAN, “If God could do the things we can do, he’d be a happy man.” 5 Behind the Scenes Details That Change How You See Movies. This probably also explains why Hollywood types have such a peculiar view of politics.
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SATANIC TEENAGE KILLERS! Well, actually, kinda. The Insta-Wife’s documentary on the Lillelid murders, Six: The Movie, is now available for free viewing on the PJ site.
SMART DIPLOMACY: Congress In Revolt On Iran Deal.
NINE MEN REVEAL their biggest sex regrets.
Though based on science, most of these regrets sound more typically female.
READER BOOK PLUG: From J.P. Mac, Jury Doody. 99 cents on Kindle.
DEATH BY BUREAUCRACY: New Report Blames State Forest Service Mistakes for Yarnell Firefighter Deaths.
21st CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: “Help! How do I tell the woman of my dreams I want to wait before we have sex again?”
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO PRE-ORDERED my forthcoming book! In answer to many questions, yes there will be a Kindle version; it’s just not up on Amazon yet. Rest assured that I’ll let you know when it appears. . . .
Oh, and here it is on Barnes & Noble, too. And, yes, there will be a Nook version as well.
NOT SO MUCH, TO JUDGE BY THE POLLS: Does America Trust Barack Obama?
RICHARD EPSTEIN: The Incorrigible President Obama. “A rehash of failed progressive policies will not return the United States to greatness.” To be fair, I don’t think that’s his goal.
PHOTO OF THE DAY: Obama’s Funeral Selfie, Michelle’s Reaction.
IN THE MAIL: From Callista Gingrich, Yankee Doodle Dandy (Ellis the Elephant).
TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 215.
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: White House Compounds IRS Abuse Of Power.
Last May, IRS officials admitted that beginning in 2010, the agency had improperly targeted and hassled dozens of nonprofit groups for scrutiny based on their involvement in politics. Nearly all the groups opposed President Obama’s re-election in 2012 or his administration’s policies. The Justice Department acknowledged the impropriety of what the IRS had done and promised a thorough FBI investigation.
It never happened. Last month, an attorney working for 41 of the targeted nonprofit groups said no one at any of the groups had ever been interviewed by federal investigators.
Last week, the Justice Department and the FBI refused requests from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to provide information on its investigation. FBI officials also canceled a previously scheduled meeting with committee members. And the president — who in May said people were “properly concerned” with the IRS’ actions — used an MSNBC interview to whitewash the agency.
So the original abuse of power is compounded with another abuse of power: promising to get to the bottom of a scandal and then doing nothing. This is shameless and shameful — and, given this administration’s record, wholly predictable.
Yeah, pretty much.
WELL, HE FELL FOR OBAMACARE SO HE’S OBVIOUSLY GULLIBLE: ‘Die Quickly’ Democrat Alan Grayson Loses $18 Million to Fraudster.
IT’S COME TO THIS: NY Times Poll: 58% Disapprove of Obama’s Horrible Economic Job.
Related: CBS Poll: What Recovery? “While the nation’s unemployment rate is now at a five-year low, most Americans (61 percent) continue to say the economy is in bad shape.”
MAYBE MUSIC TODAY JUST ISN’T THAT GOOD? Spotify Isn’t Why Musicians Can’t Make A Living.
Spotify is not raking it in, and neither are the other music-streaming services. After all, our hypothetical music maven only pays Spotify $9.99 a month, or $120 a year. Someone listening to music even 35 hours a week is probably costing Spotify more in rights payments than they make in fees — and that doesn’t even count the cost of servers, bandwidths and marketing people to send out e-mails asking you to sign up for Spotify.
In theory, Spotify could charge more money, enough to cover their costs. In practice, Spotify is constrained by even cheaper alternatives. In 1995, I can totally imagine someone having created a streaming service that charged $50 a month for unlimited listening … if the technology had been available. Music fans would have hustled to get in on such an unbelievably good deal. But in 2010, such a service is competing with “free.” Which means that they cannot charge more than a negligible amount.
In other words, while the cost side has improved, the revenue side has gotten worse even faster. People simply aren’t willing to pay very much for recorded music anymore. If you’re an artist, and especially if you’re a record label, that’s very bad news. Naturally, some artists want to shoot the messenger, blaming Spotify for their paltry payments. But Spotify is not the problem. The market is the problem. Spotify is just the messenger telling them what the market is now willing to pay for their songs.
Or, alternatively, there are better alternatives competing with music-listening as an activity.
WELL, UNLESS THE IRANIANS RELEASE SOME, OR SOMETHING: Remembering The Last Smallpox Patient On Earth.
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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Forget “Income Inequality” — Obama Can’t Solve The Jobs Problem.
For the University of Alabama’s football team, the Nov. 30 season finale against intrastate archrival Auburn ended almost as disastrously as ObamaCare began (and as it has continued). After leading 21-14 at the half, the Crimson Tide gave up a touchdown to the Tigers in the third quarter. Each team scored again during the fourth, leaving the score tied, 28-28, with seconds remaining in regulation.
Alabama was driving, but it looked as though the clock had run out. It turned out, however, that Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon had managed to get out of bounds with a single tick left. Rather than take a knee and go to overtime, Alabama decided to try a long field goal–which missed and was returned for 109 yards and a touchdown by Auburn’s Chris Davis. Final score: Auburn 34, Alabama 28.
Auburn went on to play in this past weekend’s Southeastern Conference championship, in which the Tigers defeated the Tigers, 59-42–possibly the most confusing pigskin matchup since the 1976 Grey Cup.
This isn’t a sports column, but there’s a reason we opened with a nine-day-old play-by-play. Back in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama loss led to a kerfuffle last week involving the student newspaper, the perplexingly named Crimson White. Its cartoonist drew a strip, published Thursday, depicting the final play under the title “This Is What Happens in OBAMA’S AMERICA.” The last two words were in massive letters, drawn in horror-movie style, with what was supposed to look like blood dripping from them.
Later that day, editor Mazie Bryant posted “A Statement From the Editor-in-Chief” in which she explained that “the cartoon was meant as satire . . . as a lighthearted look at some of the more absurd explanations given for Alabama’s collapse at the end of the Iron Bowl game against Auburn last Saturday.”
Only in Obama’s America could something so obvious have eluded anyone. “Unfortunately,” Bryant noted, the cartoon “has been perceived by many readers as having racist intentions.”
That’s because — and I want to be clear here — those readers are idiots. Naturally, some of them were also college administrators. But as Taranto goes on to demonstrate, not all college administrators are idiots. Which, these days, seems like news. . . .
DEMS REALLY DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS: Ann Kuster refuses to answer or discuss Benghazi at town hall.
Rep. Ann Kuster, D-N.H., refused to answer questions about the Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans on the grounds that the Libyan city isn’t in the Middle East.
“I’m certainly not here to talk about it, we’re here to talk about the Middle East,” Kuster replied at an event in her district when asked if she would comment on the attack, according to a video of the event. She had just dismissed a written question asking what she thought about a House bill introduced by Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who wants to House and Senate to establish a special congressional committee investigating the Benghazi attack. . . .
“No one has been held accountable for the intelligence failures leading up to the attack,” Wolf said in a November press release. “No one has said what the CIA was doing in Benghazi. None of the terrorists have been brought to justice. It has been 14 months since the attack and, as a recent bipartisan poll showed, 63 percent of the American people believe the Obama administration is covering up the facts on what happened that night.”
An event staffer intervened while Kuster stood silent. “There are a lot of different ideas and a lot of different opinions here,” he said. “So, we’re going to stick to the format of answering questions [on the postcards] rather than get into a discussion that goes on.”
People should ask about this — and about the IRS scandals — at every opportunity between now and November. I mean, it’s not like the press will. . . .
BUT THE IMPORTANT THING IS, A BUNCH OF DEMOCRAT-VOTING UNION MEMBERS WERE KEPT HAPPY: U.S. Sells Off Last of Its General Motors Stock, at $10.5 Billion Loss. “What might have happened to that money, those resources, those skills, those people, if they had not been diverted by government action? No one knows, or will ever know, and the government would prefer you not think about it.”
Based on Peter Huber’s new book, The Cure in the Code: How 20th Century Law Is Undermining 21st Century Medicine.
ANDREW KLAVAN: Did The Pope Speak Unwisely? “Hey, the guy’s still a rookie.”
WAIT, LET ME GUESS — WAS THE PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS’ UNION A BIG OBAMA SUPPORTER? ‘A public safety disaster’: Obamacare could force THOUSANDS of volunteer fire departments to close.
BY BLAMING REPUBLICANS? Roll Call: How Democrats Plan to Cut Food Stamps Without Enraging Their Base.
For Democrats especially, any talk about cutting billions from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is uncomfortable and certain to create internal strife. But negotiators on the farm bill believe they’ve found a way to make about $8 billion in savings from the program palatable for most Democrats.
The key is eliminating a loophole that enables states to help some low-income residents with nominal subsidies to pay for their heating in the winter in order to trigger much higher food stamp benefits. Some states, such as New York, will make a $1 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program payment to low-income people in order to automatically qualify them for the maximum federal food stamps Standard Utility Allowance for 12 months.
According to a source tracking the farm bill talks, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that raising the minimum energy subsidy states would be required to make to $20 would be enough to disincentivize states from utilizing the loophole, potentially saving the government $8 billion over 10 years.
Though most Democrats would prefer the maximum benefits to be paid out — they often point to a Moody’s study that estimates that each dollar the federal government spends on food stamps generates $1.70 of economic activity — finding savings by eliminating a loophole is more politically palatable for them than the deeper cuts proposed by the House.
How about this idea: No food stamps for anyone with a BMI over 30. That should cut things significantly, and nobody will be starving as a result . . . .
NEWS FROM THE STUPID PARTY: The Hill: GOP bills would ban in-flight calls. “Republicans in the House and Senate are preparing legislation that would ban airlines from allowing cellphone calls during flights. The push from Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) comes as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prepares to move ahead with lifting the prohibition on in-flight cellphone calls.”
Two points: (1) Phones don’t work at altitude unless the airlines add equipment to let them work; and (2) Let the market, that is, those airlines, set the policy. So much for the GOP’s small-government brand, not that either Lamar! or Shuster were ever much good for that.
The oil and natural-gas industry probably won’t ever get a thank-you card from President Obama, but he has a few big reasons to be grateful for the fossil-fuel boom.
America’s vast resources of oil and natural gas have enabled Obama to move forward on aggressive policies, including tougher environmental rules and Iranian oil sanctions, which he would not have been able to do nearly as effectively without them.
The International Energy Agency predicts the U.S. will surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil-producer in 2015; and, by the end of this year, the Energy Information Administration says we’ll surpass Russia as the biggest natural-gas producer.
“I’ve joked before that for the last 30 years, our national energy policy has been implicitly predicated on a low-cost, trustable supply of natural gas,” said Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, who advised Obama in his transition to the presidency in 2008. “It is incredibly fortunate that it showed up in time.”
As I’ve noted elsewhere, this is a case of the America that works rescuing the one that doesn’t.
SURE. JUST MAKE ALL THE MALE ACTION HEROES GIRLS. Need A New Indiana Jones? Let’s Try Jennifer Lawrence.
THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST looks like.
NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED: “I have always disliked being a man.” A world of cultural explanations, there. . . .
And here’s the result.
MARITAL ADVICE: Your Wife Isn’t, And Shouldn’t Be, Your Boss.
FOOD: Bacon Explosion: The BBQ Sausage Recipe Of All Recipes. “Now that your pork is well seasoned, it’s time to add more pork.”
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Your L.L. Bean Boyfriend.
AT AMAZON, coupons galore in Kitchen & Dining.
MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Forget “Income Inequality” — Obama Can’t Solve The Jobs Problem.
SO I GOT THE ADVANCE COPIES OF MY NEW BOOK THIS WEEKEND. It officially comes out on January 7. Pre-orders much appreciated, as that’ll encourage Amazon to keep more in stock. I’d account it a personal favor if you’d order a copy! (Bumped).
Here’s a picture of the jacket (click to enlarge):
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: American Military Aircraft Sent To Intervene in Central African Republic.
Related: An Update On The Problem Of Maria.
PETER INGEMI: Did The WaPo’s Greg Sargent Give Away The Game?
AT AMAZON, Top Holiday Deals in Sports & Outdoors.
Also, today only: 20% off Kindle Fire HDX and select other Kindles.
MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Forget “Income Inequality” — Obama Can’t Solve The Jobs Problem.