Bosch Fawstin Draws It Again

July 28th, 2015 - 11:43 am
'Nuff said.

‘Nuff said.

Details, if you really need them, from The Freedom Post.

Carly’s Up, Hill’s Down

July 28th, 2015 - 10:52 am
Nary a pants suit in sight. (AP photo)

Nary a pants suit in sight.
(AP photo)

First, the good news — Carly Fiorina might just win a spot at the first GOP debate:

The former Hewlett Packard CEO-turned-Republican candidate ranked seventh and eighth in the two most recent polls from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling and YouGov/Economist. She’s tied with other candidates in both but, if her current rise in the polls continues, Fiorina will make it into the top 10 — the metric Fox News is using to pare down the remarkably crowded Republican field. That means that at least seven candidates who are expected to run will be sitting out the party’s first debate.

Fox News will factor in the most recent five big national polls — and notably that wouldn’t include the above mentioned polls — when they decide on debate participants. If the cutoff was today, Fiorina wouldn’t make it on the stage: She scores second to last, according to NBC News’ calculation. However, the two new polls do signal rising momentum.

Fox should suspend their own rules and bring Fiorina in for a completely different reason: She’s electric. Nobody who watched her moribund 2010 Senate race would ever have predicted that, but Fiorina has come alive. She’s smart, tough, and most importantly, fast on the counterpunch. She’d liven up Fox’s debate stage and likely goose their ratings. Whatever you think of the politics of including Fiorina even if her poll numbers don’t rise high enough, it would make great business sense.

And now, for the even better news:


Phillip Bump explains:

Clinton’s favorability tends to swell when she’s not running for office and dip when she is. CNN, in partnership with ORC, released its own poll Sunday, which included a long-term track of Clinton’s favorability. If you look at it since 2006, when she was widely expected to be the 2008 Democratic nominee, to today, you can see that trend.

But notice, too, that her net favorability now is lower than at any point over the last 10 years. Why?

CNN also broke out Clinton’s favorability by demographic. She’s very, very popular among Democrats and very, very unpopular among Republicans. Among independents? Let’s say very unpopular — with only one “very” this time.

The net result is that Clinton will be forced to rely on minority voters to at least the degree Obama did, but lacking his ability to connect with and inspire them.

Popcorn, anyone?

News You Can Use

July 28th, 2015 - 9:40 am
(Still image courtesy

(Still image courtesy

In case you were wondering, of course there’s a seven-foot-tall Darth Vader made entirely out of sex toys by a 29-year-old tattooed porn star.

Venezuela Nationalizes Food Distribution

July 28th, 2015 - 8:31 am
Ukraine's Holodomor. (Public domain image)

Ukraine’s Holodomor.
(Public domain image)

No matter how many times the story of collectivization gets told, it always ends the same:

Farmers and manufacturers who produce milk, pasta, oil, rice, sugar and flour have been told to supply between 30 per cent and 100 per cent of their products to the state stores. Shortages, rationing and queues outside supermarkets have become a way of life for Venezuelans, as their isolated country battles against rigid currency controls and a shortage of US dollars – making it difficult for Venezuelans to find imported goods.

Pablo Baraybar, president of the Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber, said that the order was illogical, and damaging to Venezuelan consumers.

“Taking products from the supermarkets and shops to hand them over to the state network doesn’t help in any way,” he said. “And problems like speculating will only get worse, because the foods will be concentrated precisely in the areas where the resellers go.

He pointed to statistics showing that two thirds of hoarders – or “bachaqueros”, giant ants, as they are nicknamed in Venezuela – buy their goods from the three state-owned chains, to resell at a profit.

“Consumers will be forced to spend more time in queues, given that the goods will be available in fewer stores.”

Nationalization is never for the benefit of its ostensible beneficiaries.

The link comes from Forbes’ Tim Worstall, who says that “Venezuela is now one harvest away from serious starvation.


Defining Safety Down

July 28th, 2015 - 7:54 am
(AP photo)

(AP photo)

It looks like we’re all lovey-dovey with Ankara again – for now:

Turkey and the United States have agreed in general terms on a plan that envisions American warplanes, Syrian insurgents and Turkish forces working together to sweep Islamic State militants from a 60-mile-long strip of northern Syria along the Turkish border, American and Turkish officials say.

The plan would create what officials from both countries are calling an Islamic State-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be a “safe zone” for displaced Syrians.

Believe it or not, there once was an ISIS-free “safe zone” in Syria. It was called “Syria.” There used to be one in Iraq, too, known as “Iraq.” And one in Libya called “Libya.”

Of course, all those countries as we once understood them are gone now. ISIS has filled the military and moral vacuums left in the wake of American retreat and indecision. This is what the Obama Administration calls “not doing stupid shit.”

Still, it is nice to have Ankara back on our side, even if only out of desperation. We’ll see how long the Turks stick with us, and you’d be right to suspect that that will depend on whether the White House allows the Pentagon to implement a serious warplan.

You should also wonder about the wisdom of allowing Syrian insurgents in on establishing this safety zone. They seem more likely than not to be ISIS or terrorists by some other name — so it’s a safe bet they were included at Obama’s insistence.

There’s all kinds of pre-fail baked right into this plan.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

July 28th, 2015 - 6:43 am

“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

-Ronald Wilson Reagan

What ♡bamaCare!!! takes with one hand, Washington promises to return with the other:

The Obama administration has made Memphis’ medical device manufacturers eligible for a federal program to train thousands of new employees, but, nationwide, the industry is laying people off because of a steep Obamacare tax.

One might wonder why the feds are spending perhaps as much as $1 billion — if you believe a press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis — for jobs that might not exist in the future.

Cohen’s press release also says the program, called the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership initiative, might add 45,000 new jobs to the medical device manufacturing industry in Memphis and nine surrounding counties.

Whatever the result in this particular case, in general the important thing is that the money and the decision-making power flow through Washington first, last, and always.

Boomers or Bust

July 28th, 2015 - 5:33 am
USS Ohio. (AP photo)

USS Ohio.
(AP photo)

Our Ohio-class nuclear missile submarines are nearing the end of their service lives, and we still don’t have a replacement — or the money:

Ballistic missile submarines — nicknamed “boomers” — are the centerpiece of the nation’s nuclear deterrent. Moving stealthily undersea, they are considered the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad. By 2018, when the U.S. military adjusts to the terms of the New START treaty, submarines will carry about 70 percent of America’s deployed nuclear arsenal, according to Navy officials.

But the Ohio-class boats that carry the missiles will begin reaching the end of their service lives in 2027, with the final one scheduled to retire in 2040. The Navy hopes to start procuring the Ohio replacement in 2021, and ultimately buy 12 of them to replace the 14 Ohio-class ships.

But building a dozen SSBN(X)s will be enormously expensive. In a March report, the Government Accountability Office estimated the total cost of the Ohio replacement to be $96 billion. In December the Congressional Budget Office came up with an even higher estimate, putting the total price tag at $102 billion to $107 billion, depending on R&D expenditures.
The Navy is expected to spend about $10 billion over the next five years on development and advance procurement even before the first ship is built, according to the Pentagon’s future years defense program.

Navy officials have rejected suggestions that the service could build fewer than 12 Ohio replacements in order to save money.

$107 billion, spread out over a ten or 15 year construction program, is ten billion less than Washington spends every year on “Education, Training, Employment and Social Services.” You should also note that while the Constitution has zero to say about the federal government’s power to spend a dime on education or training or employment or social services, the Navy is explicitly authorized by Article I, Section 8.

It isn’t that we don’t have the money for new subs. We could even build them more cheaply than expected by sticking with the tried-and-true Virginia platform, and stretching it to accommodate a missile compartment. But we can’t scrape together the funds out of a nearly $4,000,000,000,000 to maintain our Navy, because Washington blows it all on a broken procurement system, middle-class welfare programs, and make-work for otherwise unemployable progressive functionaries who don’t care if the nation is defended so long as their nests are feathered.

Winning elections doesn’t seem to change anything, either — so now what?

Thought for the Day

July 27th, 2015 - 4:21 pm

John Kerry: Rube of State

July 27th, 2015 - 2:09 pm
Not a leg to stand on. (AP photo)

Not a leg to stand on.
(AP photo)

Pardon my English, but for fuck’s sake:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said a speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday vowing to defy American policies in the region despite a deal with world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program was “very disturbing”.

“I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy,” he said in the interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television, parts of which the network quoted on Tuesday.

“But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it’s very disturbing, it’s very troubling,” he added.

In October of 1938, British PM Neville Chamberlain negotiated, he thought, in good faith with Adolph Hitler. Hitler got the Sudetenland, and Chamberlain got a promise from Hitler of no more territorial demands for Germany. Six months later, in March 1939, Hitler (along with Hungary) occupied and annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia.

Chamberlain knew he’d been chumped, and acted accordingly. He gave Britain’s guarantee to Poland and sped up Britain’s rearmament program. Chamberlain even attempted to bring the Soviets in on the Franco-British anti-Nazi alliance. Chamberlain manned up the best he could and tried what he could to box Hitler in.

When Hitler took the rest of Czechoslovakia, what Chamberlain did not do was mumble, “I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy.”

And here’s the real kicker.

The Iranians have very publicly promised to continue their very public ass-raping of Obama and Kerry. And what will Obama and Kerry do? They will continue to push this shitty agreement through Congress, making fools of themselves and of us along the way. Oh, and then there’s the part where the public ass-raping is the cherry on top of the nuclear crap sandwich Israel is being forced to eat.

Hitler invaded Poland because he didn’t believe Chamberlain’s promise. I don’t care to think what Iran will try because Khamenei believes that Kerry enjoys the public ass-raping.

Austin Goes to War Against BBQ

July 27th, 2015 - 1:20 pm

Unbelievable, yet probably inevitable given Austin’s political climate:

“If this resolution passes, we would be forced to close or move. It would destroy Austin barbecue.” says Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin’s BBQ in Austin.

Austin, Texas has long been a destination for Americans of all stripes in their quest to find the best barbecue in the nation.

However, if the Austin City Council gets their way, food tourism may soon be a thing of the past.

Austin City Council members passed a preliminary plan in April to put restrictions on smoke from barbeque restaurants. Some Austin residents complain of the barbecue smoke saying they can’t enjoy their homes they purchased before some of these restaurants moved in.

The city council’s current proposal will require smoke diffusers and will also limit the amount of time that restaurants can smoke. These restrictions will require at least $100,000 in extra investments for most barbecue restaurants as they will be forced to buy extra smokers along with severely expensive diffusers, and in some cases will have to lease or purchase more property.

If this goes into effect, there won’t be a surviving mom & pop BBQ joint left inside the Austin city limits. There’s just no way they’d be able to afford the expense — especially given the effective limits on how much BBQ they can produce. Some operations might be able to relocate out past the city line, but then they’d lose most of the foot traffic they rely on to stay in business and win new customers.

Yo, Texas — still want to keep Austin weird?

News You Can Use

July 27th, 2015 - 12:12 pm

Florida Man uses his head:

The man, whose name is not known at this point, got off a Polk County bus at the Winter Haven Area Transit terminal around 11:35 a.m., but then decided he wanted to get back on and ride somewhere else. The man started to rage when the driver told him it’d be another $2 to continue riding.

The driver locks the bus and goes to the enclosed portion of the terminal. The passenger walks off for a bit, presumably to cool off, but then comes back and charges the bus door head-on hard enough to break the glass.

You know you’re not supposed to do that, right?

Digesting Crimea

July 27th, 2015 - 11:01 am
Russian navy battle ships station in the bay during a rehearsal of the Russian Navy Day parade in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, July 24, 2015. The Russian Navy Day is celebrated the last Sunday of July. (AP Photo/Alexander Polegenko)

Russian navy battle ships station in the bay during a rehearsal of the Russian Navy Day parade in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, July 24, 2015. The Russian Navy Day is celebrated the last Sunday of July. (AP Photo/Alexander Polegenko)

It isn’t all caviar and vodka for Russia’s newest province:

Russia’s federal security service, the FSB, has opened criminal investigations of three high-ranking Crimean government officials, accusing them of graft and other misdeeds. Four regional cabinet ministers have been forced from office in the past few months over allegations of corruption. And Kremlin auditors reported in June that two-thirds of the money Moscow sent Crimea last year for road building couldn’t be accounted for.

Crimean Governor Sergey Aksyonov, elected in April 2014 with Putin’s blessing, has reacted angrily to the allegations. Addressing Crimean cabinet ministers on July 7, he accused Moscow of trying to “destabilize” Crimea and using “fabricated” evidence against those under investigation, who include the region’s industrial policy minister, its chief tax inspector, and the director of the port of Yalta. “No one will make victims of our officials,” Aksyonov said.

The real friction? Dividing the loot between the new local government and Putin and his cronies:

The FSB investigations probably reflect a struggle for control of “the main valves of corruption” in Crimea, says Andrew Foxall, director of the Russia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society in London. “This same kind of thing happens in every Russian region.” Moscow tolerates some corruption among regional leaders, Foxall says, but expects them to share the spoils with Kremlin-backed interests. Those who don’t may be subjected to criminal investigation and arrest.

So it’s just business as usual then.

MSNBC on the Brink

July 27th, 2015 - 9:40 am
Newsin' it old school. (AP photo)

Newsin’ it old school.
(AP photo)

Dylan Byers reports:

On Thursday, our colleague Mike Allen reported that “Meet The Press” moderator Chuck Todd would add a daily MSNBC program to his portfolio. He will be joined by Brian Williams, the former “Nightly News” anchor, who is joining the network as a breaking news and special reports anchor following his fall from grace at NBC. Meanwhile, MSNBC is expected to soon announce the cancellation of several progressive talk shows, including “The Ed Show,” the loss of which is already being mourned by Bernie Sanders.

The next iteration of MSNBC, which will kick off sometime in September, is actually a return to an original vision. Before MSNBC became the liberal stalwart it is today—before the success of Keith Olbermann’s scorched-earth admonitions of the Bush administration ushered in the current era of Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton—NBC News types envisioned the channel as a smarter, more politically focused CNN.

Had that vision panned out, there would have been far greater synergy between NBC and MSNBC. Instead, many NBC News types chafed at the channel’s unabashedly liberal political orientation. Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell carved out spaces for themselves on the network, but others—most notably Brian Williams—kept their distance.

On the NBC side, they prefer their liberalism slightly more discretely unabashed.

Snark aside, I don’t know where MSNBC fits in. Fox News has the Populist-Conservative side covered, CNN owns the shrinking audience of Everyone Else, and MSNBC had the even faster-shrinking audience of Shrieking Progressives.

So unless there’s a sizable fourth audience I’m missing, MSNBC can either take on Fox (which it really can’t) or take on CNN for a slice of CNN’s already unimpressive viewership.

Any ideas?

Moscow’s Mules

July 27th, 2015 - 8:49 am
(AP photo)

(AP photo)

David Axe reports on a series of mysterious Russian satellite launches, beginning on Christmas Day of 2013:

It’s customary for Rodnik sats to deploy in threes, but in a notification to the United Nations, Moscow listed four spacecraft inside the Christmas Rokot.

The discrepancy was strange…and got stranger.

Rodnik sats, like most orbital spacecraft, don’t have engines and can’t move under their own power. So it came as a shock to some observers on the ground—a group including amateur satellite-spotters with radios and telescopes; radar-equipped civilian researchers; and military officials monitoring banks of high-tech sensors—when the Rokot’s fourth satellite, designated Kosmos-2491, moved, propelling itself into a slightly different orbit.

Whatever Kosmos-2491 was, it wasn’t some innocuous communications satellite. And over the next year and a half, Russia launched two more of the mysterious, maneuvering spacecraft, each time sneaking it into orbit as part of a routine commsat launch.

I have readers in the aerospace and the satellite communications/launch businesses — any clue what Moscow could be getting up to up there?

Red on Red Warfare [UPDATED]

July 27th, 2015 - 7:39 am
Democrat. (AP photo)

(AP photo)

Why do Republicans hate the GOP? David Harsanyi knows:

It’s conceivable, and I’m just spitballing here, that many conservatives are wondering: If the Republican Party is incapable or unwilling to make a compelling case against the selling of baby organs or the emergence of a nuclear Iran or the funding of a cronyist state-run bank—or all three—then really, what exactly can it do?

Setting aside presidential politics for a moment, three issues have filled the conservative ether the past few weeks: The administration’s pact abetting Iran’s efforts to become a threshold nuclear power, Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting controversy, and, to a lesser extent, the renewal of the Export-Import bank. None of these are hobbyhorses of the wild fringe. These are issues—ostensibly, at least—that strike at the heart of the modern GOP. And on all three, Republican leadership have, though they held plenty of leverage to raise a stink, capitulated. In fact, they have probably put more effort into evading confrontation than their standard response of pretending to court it.

That last part is key.

Mitch McConnell didn’t put up the good fight and lose — he fought for, and got, wins for the other side. He got called on it by Ted Cruz and a few others, but the GOP leadership was largely silent, acquiescent. In fact, McConnell went further than that. He used the Senate rules last weekend to ensure that the Democrats would win on two grassroots issues, and that his own side wouldn’t even have the chance to be heard.

The only conclusion you can draw is that the GOP leadership believes in, or is at least amenable to major Democrat positions on abortion funding, foreign policy, and crony capitalists.

So what’s an opposition party for, if not to at the very least put up a pretense of opposition? Instead, you have an opposition party whose Senate leadership has been coopted by the other side.

The case for term limits has never been clearer.

MORE: Mark Levin (H/T Glenn) went to Facebook to call for self-term limits on McConnell and Boehner. Here’s what he said:

It is time for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to resign for the good of the nation and the Republican Party. The nation and GOP are both suffering as a result of the unwillingness or inability of McConnell and Boehner to effectively defend either. Instead, these politicians are consumed with consolidating their own power on Capitol Hill and silencing opponents who dare to challenge their ironfisted rule. Sadly, they rarely act in the best interests of America’s future. Indeed, time and again they have delivered victory after victory for Obama and his radical agenda — from spending, borrowing, and Obamacare to illegal immigration, Iran and “trade” power. Never before has a Congress controlled by one party been so thoroughly impotent. This is due to the disastrous leadership of McConnell and Boehner. It is time for younger, wiser, and more courageous Republican leadership — constitutional conservatives who understand the role of a statesman in perilous times — who are willing to truly lead the nation and the Republican Party based on America’s enlightened principles, advance the cause of liberty and republican government, and make the case everyday to the American people.

It will never happen, of course. Boehner and McConnell are fully creatures of the system they were sent to Washington to fight against. They haven’t been coopted so much as they’ve been assimilated by the Borg collective.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

July 27th, 2015 - 6:32 am

Ayla Ellison and Molly Gamble look at the consolidation in the health insurance and health care industries, due in no small part to ♡bamaCare!!!:

1. In the U.S., the big five payers have traditionally been Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield — which includes 36 companies, the largest being Anthem — Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare. Whether looking at revenue, market share or presence in a specific area such as Medicare Advantage, each of these insurers is a major to dominant force in the industry.

2. With Aetna acquiring Humana and a deal in the works for Anthem to takeover Cigna, the landscape drastically changes, and there will be three key payers instead of five.

3. While not yet a single-payer system, consolidation is causing the system to look more like a small oligarchy. It may actually lead some parties who hated the idea of Medicare as a single payer to desire this. It may also over time lead to the proliferation of new payers.

4. The consolidation is quite frightening for smaller providers of all sorts as it leaves them with fewer access points for patients. The leverage of providers with payers will take a significant hit. [Emphasis added]

A few big players are easier for Washington to corral than a multitude of little ones. They’re also the only organizations able to cope with ♡bamaCare!!!’s never-ending paperwork demands, exposing Obama’s “reduce waste and fraud” lie.

Who’s Next?

July 27th, 2015 - 5:15 am

The Saudis, natch:

Jamal Khashoggi, head of the Saudi Al Arab news channel that is owned by a prince of the ruling Saudi royal family, and who previously was the media aide to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Prince Turki al Faisal, revealed that Saudi Arabia may be going nuclear very soon.

“I think Saudi Arabia would seriously try to get the (nuclear) bomb if Iran did. It’s just like India and Pakistan. The Pakistanis said for years they didn’t want one, but when India got it, so did they,” Khashoggi told Reuters on Tuesday.

The statement confirms the warnings by experts, who said that the Saudis will likely rush to obtain a nuclear weapon feeling threatened by the Iran nuclear deal, which critics warn will pave the Islamic regime’s path to a nuclear arsenal.

This comes via Jeff Dunetz who adds:

Defense News reported an end of June deal with France. The deal includes a study into the feasibility of building two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia and a course in nuclear safety.

The study for two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) — which France considers the safest and most advanced in the world — takes on added significance given the current efforts by Saudi Arabia’s rival, Iran, to develop its own nuclear capabilities.

In addition to the study, France will sign an agreement to train the Saudis on nuclear safety and the treatment of nuclear waste.

Also at the end of June Russia and Saudi Arabia announced an agreement for cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for producing electricity and the construction of two more nuclear reactors. And in March Saudi Arabia and Argentina announced a joint venture with a goal to leverage Argentina’s nuclear experience and capabilities to help the Saudis implement its own nuclear power program.

Perhaps of less immediate interest than Riyadh perusing nukes is where Riyadh is looking to for help — and it ain’t to the US.

We aren’t trusted. We aren’t respected. We aren’t even feared.

Friday Night Videos

July 24th, 2015 - 10:08 pm

Summer of Covers rocks on!

True story.

In the early days of PJTV, my studio/office was just a collection of gear and card tables in an unfinished basement. As you might imagine, the sound quality was… not good. Also my young son had a habit of wandering down and unbeknownst to me, walking in between my back and the green screen.

After a year or two we had the basement finished, done by two really nice brothers just starting their own contracting business. Good guys, hard workers, never complained about Melissa’s obsession over details or my bad jokes.

So one morning they’re hard at work and I’m just home from taking Number One Son to school, and I go downstairs, past the brothers, heading towards my desk. They have their boom box jamming, but I’m not really paying attention to it. It’s hard rock, and I don’t listen to a whole lot of that stuff. Call me old fashioned, but I enjoy a pretty melody, something I can whistle.

But before I can take more than a dozen steps past where they’re working on tiling the dry bar, something about the guitar catches my ear. I slow down. Then the chorus kicks in. I stop. I turn around to the brothers.

Dumbfounded, I said something witty like, “Careless f****** Whisper???”

The brothers laughed and nodded, and I stood there and listened to Seether’s inappropriate-yet-marvelous cover of Wham!’s “Careless Whisper.” Then I went to my desk, clicked on the iTunes Music Store, and bought a copy. Been enjoying as an occasional guilty pleasure ever since.

Of course, George Michael is still going to serve some time in Purgatory (or worse) for writing “guilty feet have got no rhythm.” I mean, I know George is into some weird stuff, but what did his feet do?

Seether takes some of the sting out of that line though, so you’ve got that going for you. Which is nice.

Thought for the Day

July 24th, 2015 - 1:50 pm

Another Racist Republican Unmasked

July 24th, 2015 - 12:34 pm

Jessica Chasmar has the story:

A Municipal Housing Commissioner and Common Council candidate in Buffalo, New York, has apologized for a secretly recorded conversation in which he is overheard repeatedly using the N-word when referring to black politicians.

“The [expletive] n–—s, man,” Joseph A. Mascia is heard saying. “Once they’re in power, forget about it, forget it. They want it all.”

On the recording, obtained by The Buffalo News, the Democrat is heard at least eight times using the N-word when referring to Mayor Byron W. Brown, Council President Darius G. Pridgen, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Dawn Sanders-Garrett, executive director of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.

Did I say “Republican” in the headline? Sorry — of course I meant “Democrat.”

Another Earth

July 24th, 2015 - 11:27 am
(Artist's rendering courtesy NASA)

(Artist’s rendering courtesy NASA)

NASA announced yesterday that the Kepler space telescope has found the most earthlike exoplanet yet:

“Today, Earth is a little less lonely,” Kepler researcher Jon Jenkins said.

The planet, Kepler-452b, is about 1,400 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. It’s about 60% bigger than Earth, NASA says, and is located in its star’s habitable zone — the region where life-sustaining liquid water is possible on the surface of a planet.

A visitor there would experience gravity about twice that of Earth’s, and planetary scientists say the odds of it having a rocky surface are “better than even.”

While it’s a bit farther from its star than Earth is from the sun, its star is brighter, so the planet gets about the same amount of energy from its star as Earth does from the sun. And that sunlight would be very similar to Earth’s, Jenkins said.

The timing is perfect, having just gotten our first high resolution images of the last planet in this solar system.

Get a (Full Time) Job

July 24th, 2015 - 10:19 am

Perverse incentives are perverse:

Evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don’t lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent.

Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.

“If they cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn’t actually help get them out of poverty, all you’ve done is put a burden on the business and given false hope to a lot of people,” said Jason Rantz, host of the Jason Rantz show on 97.3 KIRO-FM.

The twist is just one apparent side effect of the controversial — yet trendsetting — minimum wage law in Seattle, which is being copied in several other cities despite concerns over prices rising and businesses struggling to keep up.

The notion that employees are intentionally working less to preserve their welfare has been a hot topic on talk radio. While the claims are difficult to track, state stats indeed suggest few are moving off welfare programs under the new wage.

What Seattle has accomplished is to lessen the number of working hours required to maintain welfare benefits.

Required Viewing

July 24th, 2015 - 9:08 am

Don’t worry about the issue involved here, because it could be any issue in any race. The lesson here is to learn from Carly Fiorina how to deal with an unfriendly media and how to stay on point.

UPDATE: On first viewing I was so busy watching Fiorina that I failed to notice how …uncomfortable… Jake Tapper appears.

Gotta hide that tell, Jake.

Your “Republican” Leadership

July 24th, 2015 - 8:14 am
Sleeping with the enemy. (AP photo)

Sleeping with the enemy.
(AP photo)


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has set up a vote to repeal ObamaCare in a bit do appease conservatives upset over a second planned vote to revive the Export-Import Bank.

McConnell on Friday announced he would file cloture — a motion to end a filibuster — on amendments to fully repeal ObamaCare and to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank. Both votes likely will take place Sunday.

McConnell’s cynicism is breathtaking, and yet he doesn’t leave me feeling quite placated.

How about you?

Lando’d and Re-Lando’d

July 24th, 2015 - 7:36 am
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, right, and Majid Takht-e-Ravachi, who are members of Iran's nuclear negotiating team sit in at a news briefing by Foreign Minister and top nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, upon their arrival at the Mehrabad airport in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Zarif and his entourage returned to Tehran on Wednesday morning, a day after Iran and the West reached a historic nuclear deal. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, right, and Majid Takht-e-Ravachi, who are members of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team sit in at a news briefing by Foreign Minister and top nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, upon their arrival at the Mehrabad airport in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Zarif and his entourage returned to Tehran on Wednesday morning, a day after Iran and the West reached a historic nuclear deal. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

This deal — and I know you must be sick of me saying this — keeps getting worse all the time:

Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, said that he insisted during the negotiations that Iran be able to purchase and ship military hardware at any time and from any place, according to the comments made on state-controlled television.

Araghchi vowed “to buy weapons from wherever possible, and [said that Iran] is to provide weapons to whomever and whenever it considers appropriate,” according to a translation of his comments made by the Open Source Center.

The issue of Iran’s ability to purchase and move arms has emerged as a key concern among critics of the Obama administration’s deal. As part of the agreement, Iran will allowed to import and export weapons.

Araghchi claimed that the deal goes further. Iran will not adhere to any current restrictions of its arms trade, he said.

Why did anyone think lifting sanctions for any reason could possibly be a good idea?

Soon Iran will have the entire globe as its arms bazaar, and a whopping $100,000,000,000 shopping budget.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

July 24th, 2015 - 6:51 am

If you’re an employer thinking of helping a troubled employee pay his medical fees — DON’T!


Beginning this month, the IRS can levy fines amounting to $100 per worker per day or $36,500 per worker per year, with a maximum of $500,000 per firm.

This Internal Revenue Service penalty is not written into the Obamacare law. The amount is over 12 times the statutory amount in the Affordable Care Act of $3,000 per worker per year. That is what an employer is charged when one of its employees gets subsidized care on one of the health-care exchanges. It’s 18 times the $2,000 penalty for not offering adequate health insurance.

The $100 fine is applicable not only to large firms, but also those with fewer than 50 workers that are exempt from the $2,000 and $3,000 employer penalties. Firms with one worker are exempt. The penalty for S-corporations will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. The new rule is broad, sweeping and overly punitive.

That Means It’s Working™

What Gives You Hope?

July 24th, 2015 - 5:40 am


Part III of my “Fear & Hope” Trifecta series is up — but the big conclusion is for members only.

Thought for the Day

July 23rd, 2015 - 5:12 pm

Required Reading

July 23rd, 2015 - 3:28 pm
(AP photo)

(AP photo)

Food for thought from Gilad Sharon, who argues that Israel has to think about what to do next, now that there’s no undoing the Iran nuke deal:

What we should do now is offer [the Palestinians] their own state with provisional borders on the land defined as Area A and Area B, with territorial continuity that will enable them to go from Jenin to Hebron without seeing a single Israeli soldier. And they won’t have to relinquish any of their demands. They can continue to demand the right of return, the 1967 borders, or the boundaries set by the 1947 partition plan or the 1937 Peel Commission. We have demands too, and when the time comes, they’ll all be on the table for discussion. In the meanwhile, they’ll have a state. Isn’t that what they and the rest of the world have been clamoring for all along? What’s wrong with this arrangement? We don’t have permanent borders today either.

A political storm is raging around us and the winds are getting stronger every day. There is no way to hold it back. Standing with our arms stretched out and pretending it’s a pleasant breeze won’t make it so. And it poses substantial danger for Israel. Our economy is export heavy, and we can’t afford to receive the kind of treatment South Africa got. What’s more, a binational state is a much worse option. Anyone who has trouble imagining what that would look like should pay a visit to east Jerusalem – stones, Molotov cocktails, knives, hatred, death.

Welcome to the local version of Libya, Iraq, or Syria. If we don’t want a binational solution and we don’t offer an alternative, we’re left with charges of occupation, oppression, apartheid, etc., which invite South Africa-style sanctions.

Taking up the global cause of economic sanctions against Israel would be the logical next foreign policy move for Barack Obama in his last 18 months as President — provided it isn’t “too soon” after the Iran deal.

Uber Über Alles

July 23rd, 2015 - 2:39 pm
Uber driver Karim Amrani sits in his car parked near the San Francisco International Airport parking area in San Francisco, Wednesday, July 15, 2015. In the three months ended in June, Uber overtook taxis as the most expensed form of ground transportation, according to expense management system provider Certify. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Uber driver Karim Amrani sits in his car parked near the San Francisco International Airport parking area in San Francisco, Wednesday, July 15, 2015. In the three months ended in June, Uber overtook taxis as the most expensed form of ground transportation, according to expense management system provider Certify. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Big win for Uber over New York City Duce Bill DeBlasio:

Regulators and taxi lords everywhere have sought to regulate the car-hailing company Uber out of existence, and on Wednesday they failed again: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to help yellow cabs stymie competitors imploded amid public outcry. Score one for consumer choice.

The New York City Council this week dug around for votes in favor of legislation that would cap the number of new for-hire vehicle licenses. Uber, for instance, would only be able to add 201 cars over the next year, a pittance compared with the area’s about 20,000 drivers offering some 100,000 rides a day. The ostensible purpose was to allow the city Transportation Department time to study how such services affect traffic congestion.

I’m done riding Uber until they rescind their dangerous and self-defeating “No guns” policy, but corporate policies come and go — crony capitalist regulatory schemes are forever.