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Monthly Archives: July 2010

He Has Survived

July 19th, 2010 - 8:23 am

That video of the Holocaust survivor dancing with his family at Auschwitz while singing “I Will Survive” — the one I lambasted YouTube for pulling, on Saturday’s The Week in Blogs?

Somebody relented, and the video is back. Enjoy it in all its glory.

Power… Unlimited Power

July 18th, 2010 - 11:15 am

The Obama Administration now argues that the power of the Federal government is limited to… pretty much whatever it can get away with. An exaggeration? You make the call:

In a brief defending the [Obamacare] law, the Justice Department says the requirement for people to carry insurance or pay the penalty is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s power to impose taxes.

Congress can use its taxing power “even for purposes that would exceed its powers under other provisions” of the Constitution, the department said. For more than a century, it added, the Supreme Court has held that Congress can tax activities that it could not reach by using its power to regulate commerce.

[SNIP]

“The Commerce Clause supplies sufficient authority for the shared-responsibility requirements in the new health reform law,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “To the extent that there is any question of additional authority — and we don’t believe there is — it would be available through the General Welfare Clause.”

So there you have it. There is no essential limit to what Congress may take from you or mandate of you, and very few limits on how the Executive Branch can go about exercising those powers.

UPDATE: A little further down in the story, the CBO says, “Because the penalty is a tax, no one can challenge it in court before paying it and seeking a refund.”

I wondered about that. The IRS has its own courts and its own judges paid for out of its own budget. And they’re the only courts in the land (?) where you’re presumed guilty until proven innocent.

Welcome to Brazil.

Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh

July 18th, 2010 - 9:29 am

Honestly, I don’t find anything “creepy” about the new Department of Justice website. But I sense something, a presence I’ve not felt since…

…I dunno, I’m probably just imagining it.

Must-See Radio

July 18th, 2010 - 9:10 am

This week’s PJM Political is on the air internet. The big show features Congressman Frank Wolf, Glenn Reynolds, radio host & author Mark Levin, Deroy Murdock, John McWhorter and Joe Hicks.

Such a deal!

PS If you still can’t get the podcast version through your iTunes subscription, we’re working on the problem.

It’s Everybody vs Keith Olbermann on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

Trifecta: Democrats pay off the NEA by sentencing 2,000 minority DC kids to the worst (and most expensive) schools in the nation. One tiny voucher program killed off, not to save money, but to please unions.

Why not take their lunch money while you’re at it?

Saying the Truth

July 14th, 2010 - 1:07 pm

Trifecta: Everything’s bigger in Texas — including one Democratic congressman’s temper tantrum.

An Uncomfortable Position

July 14th, 2010 - 10:48 am

Who in the White House do Democrats hate more than anyone else? Who in the White House do Republicans secretly love these days?

Would you believe it’s the same person?

And would you believe it’s Robert Gibbs? Read:

House Democrats spent much of Tuesday firing themselves up over Gibbs’ Sunday morning assertion that they could lose the House — and then Pelosi stepped to the podium at a nighttime caucus meeting in the basement of the Capitol to tell her members and all the president’s men how she really feels. Her aides already had gone through channels to express her displeasure to the White House, but Pelosi delivered the message directly to Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs Dan Turton, the top administration official present at the House Democrats’ meeting. “‘How could [Gibbs] know what is going on in our districts?’ Pelosi told her members.

Um… because he can read the polls, Nancy?

More seriously — but only barely — fewer things are more entertaining than the time-honored classic slapstick routine called the DC Circular Firing Squad. And think about that for a moment. The CFS gets the “Ready, aim, fire!” order when everything turns to shinola so quickly that a simple well-pointed finger doesn’t pack enough heat.

And yet… the Democrats control the White House and both sides of the Capitol Building, and by whopping margins. If they want laws, they can pass them. If they need money, they can borrow it. So what’s wrong? To put it bluntly, liberal policies have crashed head-first into reality.

You know, the reality that we can’t borrow our way out of a debt crisis, that we can’t spend our way out of deficits, that we can’t tax our way to full employment.

Oh, and the most hurtful reality of all — that when liberals implement their policies, Americans don’t like them. Not the policies, and not the liberals, either. Not one bit.

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Nothing’s Shocking

July 14th, 2010 - 8:28 am

Would you be shocked to learn that the President’s recess-appointed health-care rationing czar has a gold-plated, untouchable and unrationed health plan for himself and his family? At this point, I’ve nearly lost my ability to be shocked, so maybe you have, too.

Anyway — Will Collier has the sickening details.

Too Hot for TV!

July 13th, 2010 - 5:35 pm

I’ll be on The Rick Moran Show alongside Dan Riehl at 8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific tonight. You can listen live at Blog Talk Radio.

The only bad thing about getting the invite to appear is having to cut way back on the cocktails. Rick’s program is the Bar Exam of radio shows, and you’d better show up prepared.

Six Feet Eight Inches of Tax Shelter

July 13th, 2010 - 5:11 pm

Trifecta: What can LeBron James teach us about economic incentives?

Well… Lots!

California Implosion

July 13th, 2010 - 8:54 am

Here’s how the Oakland PD is dealing with necessary belt-tightening:

Oakland’s police chief is making some dire claims about what his force will and will not respond to if layoffs go as planned.

Chief Anthony Batts listed exactly 44 situations that his officers will no longer respond to and they include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism. He says if you live and Oakland and one of the above happens to you, you need to let police know on-line.

There’s a word for that kind of thing — blackmail.

And I believe that’s a crime, even in Oakland.

To Endure the Unendurable Dreck

July 13th, 2010 - 8:24 am

Hair of the Dog: In which David Axelrod causes part of my brain to commit suicide.

Yours, however, should be safe.

Handicapping the House

July 12th, 2010 - 11:11 am

Time once again to take a look at where things stand in the Battle for Control of the House. Once again, the movement is almost all the to the right. (If you need a reminder of how we measure who’s winning and losing, click here.

The last time we played back in April, there was lots of flux. Things are firming up as we get closer to November — and not in ways favorable to the Democrats.

Counting the seats in play, the Dems had 15 “Likely” wins, one of which (LA2) was a Republican seat. Plus 26 Leans Dem (with one GOP seat) for a gain of two. The Republicans had only ten Likely wins — two of which were currently held by Democrats — and 23 Leaners, of which all but three were currently held by Democrats. That was a gain of 22 for the GOP for a net gain of 20. There were 33 Toss Up seats, all Democrats save for IL10.

Back then, the Republicans needed a net gain of 40 to take control. Since then, the GOP won HI1 in a fluke race, mean a net gain of 39 is now needed to take back Nancy’s gavel.

So what’s moving where? Let’s take a look.

As noted already HI1 moved left — the only leftward lurch in the last three months — from Toss Up to Leans Dem. But it also switched to Republican in that special election. Call it a wash.

NC2 moved from Likely Dem to Leans Dem. That’s the seat held by Bob “The Manhandler” Etheridge. Given that Etheridge is up against a candidate as smart and appealing as Renee Ellmers, it might not be long before this one moves rightwards into Toss Up or even Leans GOP.

Elsewhere, NC8 went from Leans Dem to Toss Up; OH16 from Toss Up to Leans GOP; SD-AL from Toss Up to Leans GOP.

The GOP is now likely to pick up 24 seats and lose 3, giving them a net gain of 21. That’s 200 seats total. There are currently 35 toss-up races, of which the Republicans need to win 18 to get to the magic majority number of 218.

Of the toss-up races, the Democrats are defending 34 seats, the Republicans defend only one — IL10.

Divide by two, and you’ll see that the Republicans need to win exactly half of the toss-ups to win the House. The bettors at Intrade give the GOP a 55% chance of doing just that, up ten points in 12 weeks.

And on the other side of Capitol Hill? Not so rosy.

The GOP is defending in almost twice as many races as the Democrats. And they need to net ten seats to take the majority, since Vice President Joe Biden would be the tiebreaker vote in a 50/50 Senate. Is it possible? Yeah, sure, if every single up-for-grabs race breaks right. Is it likely? Not even close.

Still, the House is where all spending and taxing bill originate, which would — it’s to be hoped — put a brake on a decade’s worth of deficit spending.

UPDATE: Down in TX23, incumbent Democrat Ciro Rodriguez just got caught on video yelling at a constituent during a town hall. That’s another one you might want to shift from Leans Dem to Toss Up.

Unqualified No for an Unqualified Candidate

July 12th, 2010 - 10:28 am

I pulled up my Senate GOP Twitter list and saw these three tweets from Orrin Hatch, almost all in a row.

So it came as no surprise just a couple minutes later to see that Hatch is officially a No vote on Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination.

Mr. Akers Goes to Washington (I Hope)

July 12th, 2010 - 10:22 am

Coast-to-Coast Tea Party: I talk to another citizen-candidate this week. Paul Akers is running for the Republican nomination for Washington State senate seat currently held by Patty Murray.

On camera, Akers and I talked about what got him involved and his “lean thinking” approach to government. Off camera we got into all sorts of stuff, including Toyota’s manufacturing process and how to translate that into government programs. We need more like him in government. Many more.

He’s Dead, Jim

July 11th, 2010 - 6:58 pm

It isn’t a fisking. Fisking is as much about the snark as it is about the target.

But what Ed Driscoll has done to the Washington Post is even more devastating than a fisking, precisely because it’s so cold-bloodedly lacking in snark. Damn.

I think you’ll like it.

Your Weekend Cocktail

July 11th, 2010 - 5:01 pm

The French 75

Named after the World War One artillery shell, it doesn’t pack quite that much punch. But it’s damn tasty and the closest thing to manly you can get when your wife wants to share a bottle of champagne.

You’ll need:

2/3 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/3 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces premium gin
A bottle of champagne (nothing fancy)
Two champagne glasses

Shake the lemon juice, simple syrup and gin gently over ice. Pour equal portions into two champagne glasses, then top off with the bubbly.

Repeat until the champagne bottle is empty.

Spies Gone Wild — Too Hot for Radio!

July 10th, 2010 - 4:14 pm

It’s wall-to-wall DOJ Racial Follies on the new PJM Political. But we still find time to play Five Questions for James Lileks, plus Allen Barton, Terry Jones of Investor’s Business Daily, and Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Center have all the answers on what to do with (really hot) Russian spies.

Well, maybe not all the answers. None those guys don’t seems to have nearly the dirty mind I have. And for that, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio is probably quite thankful.

Growth As Far (Away) As the Eye Can See

July 10th, 2010 - 2:11 pm

Recovery summer:

The U.S. economy will lose steam as the year progresses but will not slide back into recession, even though unemployment is unlikely to fall significantly, according to a survey released on Saturday.

The Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey of private forecasters found analysts increasingly glum about the outlook. They now see the economy expanding just 3.1 percent in 2010, down from 3.3 percent in the June poll.

Like Bush before him, Obama has yet to learn to under-promise and over-deliver.

Although at this point, I’m not sure it’s even possible to under-promise.

The hottest Slave Leia ever plus the usual political BS, all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen

July 9th, 2010 - 12:16 pm

The problem, of course, with Democrats losing elections is Republicans winning them.

Rebuilding America One Lot at a Time

July 9th, 2010 - 11:36 am

Trifecta: Scott Ott found two men in Detroit doing what the government can’t or won’t — making their city a better place.

Be Like Mike

July 9th, 2010 - 11:05 am

I don’t often get excited about a new TV show, but Michael Symon’s Cook Like an Iron Chef looks like a real winner:

“It’s essentially a show for the people who’ve watched Food Network forever and are ready to learn something more advanced or more creative,” said Symon, who begins taping 13 episodes next month.

The chef, who owns Lola, Lolita, Bar Symon and the B Spot restaurants in Northeast Ohio as well as Roast in Detroit, says he will bring a professional chef’s sensibilities to his latest show. Rather than focus on basic techniques — “after 15 years of Food Network, we’re assuming that people know how to peel a clove of garlic,” he says — Symon sees his audience as serious foodies who are ready to take the next step as a home cook.

At Case Verde, this is going to be date-night viewing.

An Open Letter From the President

July 8th, 2010 - 11:56 am

Dear Business Leaders,

You’re all just too stupid and greedy to realize that getting taxed and regulated back to the Stone Age is what’s good for you.

And we’re going to do what’s good for you a lot.

Yours,

Barry.

San Francisco’s city government is tackling the tough decisions by… considering a ban on pet sales?

They Hear Us Five by Five

July 8th, 2010 - 10:56 am

Trifecta: Another 600,000-plus Americans up and left the workforce just last month — so what does President Obama do next? You have questions, the guys have answers.

Plus, a plan. I call it “Five by Five.” It’s simple, it’s politically doable, and if the Democrats take it, they’ll wipe the floor with the GOP in November. And it goes a little like this:

• 5-year moratorium on new regulations
• 5-year moratorium on new taxes
• 5-year extension of current tax rates
• 5-year suspension before implementing any more Obamacare provisions
• 5 percent across-the-board, net spending cut from pre-crisis levels

Perfect? Hardly. But let’s look at these one at a time — from the Democrats’ point of few.

• Tax moratorium — a tough pill to swallow for Dems, but a necessary one as people continue to feel the economic pinch. Besides, job creation has got to come from somewhere, and threatening to tax the bejeebus out of job-creators hasn’t seemed to do the trick.

• Same as above, only now Obama can put his name on the “Bush tax cuts.”

• Anywhere from 55%-60% of Americans want Obamacare repealed, but that’s just not going to happen with the Democrats in charge. But if they promise to suspend it until the economy recovers, they could heal some self-inflicted wounds.

• In 2008, Obama promised a “net spending cut” from then-current levels. Well, here ya go.

And since there’s not a chance in hell the Democrats will use even one of my suggestions, I hope the Republicans will take them all — except for the Obamacare suspension. That turd needs to be flushed, twice.

Random Cruelty

July 8th, 2010 - 9:46 am

After reading Nick Gillespie’s oh-so-apt description of Medical Maladjuster Majordomo Dr. Donald Berwick as “Harvard’s latest train wreck of an appointee,” I was overcome by a cruel idea. It goes a little like this: Why not make forbid any and all Ivy League grads from taking government jobs, elected or appointed?

But then, of course, you have to ask yourself, “What did the private sector ever do to deserve this?”

So how about something slightly different: Ivy League grads will be permitted only to work for –wait for it– Ivy League institutions? Sure, there’s not much room for advancement, but with those massive endowments, they have plenty of wealth to spread around. And that’s good for everybody, right?

Anyway, just something to think about while I work on making some radio and TV and stuff today.

UPDATE: I just now got around to reading the actual article Nick quoted, and get this bit:

“In America, the best predictor of cost is supply; the more we make, the more we use—hospi tal beds, consultancy services, procedures, diagnostic tests,” Dr. Berwick wrote. “… Here, you choose a harder path. You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; you prefer slightly too lit tle of a technology or a service to too much; then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them.”

That’s right — the way to reduce prices is to –wait for it, one more time– decrease supply!

It must take a major IQ and a Harvard degree to wrap your brain around that one.

NASA Trades Apollo for Mohemmed

July 7th, 2010 - 4:46 pm

Trifecta: One of these days, Achmed — straight to the moon!

Radio, Radio

July 7th, 2010 - 8:46 am

Did you miss Saturday’s PJM Political? I did — but it’s not too late to catch up with all this great stuff:

•Glenn Reynolds on the Supremes’ Second Amendment decision, and the Elana Kagan hearings, plus the fallout from the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel and JournoList scandals.

•Allen Barton of PJTV.com and Terry Jones of Investor’s Business Daily interview C. Bradley Thompson and Yaron Brook about their new book, Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea.

•From PJTV’s Poliwood series, Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd on Hollywood’s moral inversion: why is supposed children’s movie maker Pixar making more emotionally satisfying films than 99 percent of Hollywood’s “grown-up” product?

•Ed Driscoll interviews Rick Calvert, the CEO of Blog World and New Media Expo, for what to expect this year, and Calvert’s take on the Weigel scandal.

That’s a whole lot of radio in under 60 minutes.