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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Ingrate

June 26th, 2012 - 1:31 pm

Change:

A former U.S. president is accusing the current president of sanctioning the “widespread abuse of human rights” by authorizing drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists.

Jimmy Carter, America’s 39 th president, denounced the Obama administration for “clearly violating” 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing in a New York Times op-ed on Monday that the “United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.”

There’s just no pleasing this guy. After thirty years, he finally gets his second term, and he still isn’t happy.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

June 26th, 2012 - 12:09 pm

I’m an open-minded diner, but…

Mao Sugiyama, 22, had his penis and testicles surgically removed and frozen in March.

A month later the “asexual” illustrator defrosted his tackle and cooked it up in public – serving the delicacy to customers at £160 (20,000 yen) a time.

Police in Tokyo were not involved in the incident at the time because it was not thought any crime had been committed.

I got nothin’. You?

Sandra Fluke — remember her? — has a few things to say about free speech. She’s against it:

… there are distinctions between one’s ability to express an opinion versus one’s ability to use F.C.C.-regulated airwaves to do so, and also one’s ability to engage in speech versus one’s ability to engage in slander.

You can say whatever you like, so long as nobody can hear you. Reminds me of President Obama’s Keystone XL plan, where you can build the pipeline, so long as it doesn’t reach the oil.

Progressivism has become dependent on its victims’ ignorance. Which goes a long way towards explaining why they’ve taken over the public schools, and fight so viciously against vouchers.

Your Tuesday Morning Dose of Doom & Gloom

June 26th, 2012 - 8:15 am

In the event of a euro banking crisis, brace yourself for unbraced American banks:

Personally, I’m most worried about the balance sheets of the really big banks. For example, in recently released highlights from its so-called living will, JPMorgan Chase & Co. revealed that $50 billion in losses could hypothetically bring down the bank. (All big banks must provide their regulators with a living will to show how they could be shut down in an orderly fashion if near default.)

JPMorgan’s total balance sheet is valued, under U.S. accounting standards, at about $2.3 trillion. But U.S. rules allow a more generous netting of derivatives — offsetting long with short positions between the same counterparties — than European banks are allowed. The problem is that the netting effect can be overstated because derivatives contracts often don’t offset each other precisely. Worse, when traders smell trouble at a bank that has taken on too much risk, they tend to close out their derivatives positions quickly, leaving supposedly netted contracts exposed.

Weren’t we assured that our banks had gone through all the stress testing they needed to assure us there would be no more panics like 2008? Isn’t anybody in DC paying attention to this stuff?

Oh, well — at least Obama got health care passed.

Sorkinisms

June 26th, 2012 - 5:37 am

They Shall Know Their Own

June 25th, 2012 - 5:07 pm

Dirty Sex & Politics is choosing the 20 sexiest conservative men in new media.

The judges ain’t bad, either.

Time Now for a Little Hair of the Dog

June 25th, 2012 - 3:39 pm
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Reports from the Echo Chamber

June 25th, 2012 - 3:03 pm

Take a look at this header and sub-head from a Jacob Weisberg piece.

Obama Outfoxes Romney
The president’s agility on gay marriage and immigration is making his rival look stodgy and unprincipled.

What’s the problem, you say?

The President’s agility — his evolution, his changing his damn mind on something after getting pressured on it — makes Romney look “unprincipled.”

You keep using that word, Jacob. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Brain Drain, American Style

June 25th, 2012 - 12:38 pm

How’s that “pay their fair share” thing working out for ya? Well:

The number of Americans renouncing their citizenship has more than doubled over the past year, from 3,805 in 2011 to about 8,000 in 2012. The Post does not introduce any hard data to establish the income level of these expatriates, but quotes a lawyer from a firm that “specializes in protecting assets of the wealthy” who explains that “high-net-worth individuals are making decisions that having a U.S. passport just isn’t worth the cost anymore.”

The cost of escaping American taxation is a 15 percent exit tax on all assets, while preferred tax-haven destinations include Australia, Norway, Singapore (where Facebook billionaire Eduardo Saverin headed) and the U.S. possessions in the Caribbean, where full-time residents pay an effective tax rate of just 3.5 percent.

Who are the Democrats going to hate when we’re all out of rich people?

Pot/Kettle

June 25th, 2012 - 11:37 am

Harry Reid on today’s SCOTUS ruling:

“I’m greatly concerned AZ provision endangering innocent citizens of being detained —unless carrying papers – will lead to racial profiling,” Reid tweeted. “Ultimately, responsibility to fix nation’s broken immigration system lies w/Cong.; Rs must join Ds to forge fair, tough, practical solutions.”

There’s that word again — papers. I’ve heard people say “license” or “ID” or “passport” or even “green card.” We don’t say “papers” in this country, unless you’re a Democrat trying to make some insinuation about how the country is headed towards fascism.

Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn

June 25th, 2012 - 8:23 am

This is the Waldo Canyon wildfire, just a few hours after it broke out on Saturday. It’s been burning unchecked since.

Forgive the poor image quality, but I was out and about with nothing but my iPad — and the smoke was burning my eyes so badly I could hardly see even its giant screen. We’re miles north of the action, but our neighborhood smells like a giant charcoal grill.

Bringing my son home from a trip to Denver’s Lego Store yesterday, Pike’s Peak was completely obscured by smoke. Keep in mind, that mountain is a hair over 14,000 feet tall. Its base is at about 6,000 feet. So that’s an 8,000 foot tall wall of solid granite — virtually invisible at a distance of 30 miles or more. Closer in, things are worse.

No wonder DebbieWasserman-Schultz is pining for the speakership — she’s on her way out as chair of the DNC:

According to our source within the Democratic Party, who is also a close associate of Wasserman Schultz, the arrangements have already been made for her to leave DNC regardless if President Obama wins re-election or not.

This same source believes that Wasserman Schultz will be forced to resign behind closed doors and then stage an press event in which she tells Americans that her job as the DNC chair was a temporary one and that she is moving on with her congressional career.

Name one positive thing she’s done for her party as its chief.

Anyone?

Your Weekend Cocktail

June 23rd, 2012 - 1:30 pm

Ben Domenech and I hoisted a glass or three together at RightOnline last week, and in that spirit he offers you his take on the classic Old Fashioned.

The Week in Blogs

June 23rd, 2012 - 7:06 am
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Friday Night Videos

June 22nd, 2012 - 9:56 pm
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Found this one darkly erotic at 14, still do today at 43.

Great single from an unlistenable album.

Easy in, Easy Out?

June 22nd, 2012 - 4:15 pm

Acer founder Stan Shih says Microsoft has “no real intention” to enter the hardware market, despite the big Surface intro earlier this week. From DigiTimes:

Microsoft has no reason to sell hardware because such sales bring much less profit than licensing its software products, according to Shih. In addition, Microsoft will face many difficulties marketing tablet PCs on its own, including production management, distribution, and after-sales maintenance service, Shih indicated.

Those are serious hurdles, but offending your OEMs (which Ballmer did on Monday) is a pretty serious hurdle, too.

Raise a Glass to the Happy Couple

June 22nd, 2012 - 2:30 pm

Congratulations to Mary Cheney and Heather Poe on the day of their marriage.

In unrelated news, I’m sure Mary and Heather did not take advantage of this fabulous offer from President Obama.

Kimberly Strassel:

ewind to 2009. The fight over ObamaCare is raging, and a few news outlets report that something looks ethically rotten in the White House. An outside group funded by industry is paying the former firm of senior presidential adviser David Axelrod to run ads in favor of the bill. That firm, AKPD Message and Media, still owes Mr. Axelrod money and employs his son.

The story quickly died, but emails recently released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee ought to resurrect it. The emails suggest the White House was intimately involved both in creating this lobby and hiring Mr. Axelrod’s firm—which is as big an ethical no-no as it gets.

Mr. Axelrod—who left the White House last year—started AKPD in 1985. The firm earned millions helping run Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. Mr. Axelrod moved to the White House in 2009 and agreed to have AKPD buy him out for $2 million. But AKPD chose to pay Mr. Axelrod in annual installments—even as he worked in the West Wing. This agreement somehow passed muster with the Office of Government Ethics, though the situation at the very least should have walled off AKPD from working on White-House priorities.

Small potatoes, on the Washington scale of corruption, but certainly not what we were promised in 2008.

Minority Report

June 22nd, 2012 - 11:44 am

I have to reference that David Paul Kuhn piece again. A graf stuck out when I read two other stories this morning:

Should Romney win the whites Obama lost, Romney will only need to perform as well as John McCain with minorities to win. This is true even under Democrats’ most optimistic, and unlikely, demographic scenario: that the white share of the electorate decreases another two percentage points from 2008, blacks turn out at the same historic levels they did then, and the Hispanic share of the vote rises from 9 to 11 percent of the electorate while Obama retains the same level of support from other minority groups.

Here’s why the minority vote won’t increase over 2008, and may very well decrease for the first time in approximately ever.

First up, from the New York Times:

More than half of all of African-Americans and other non-Hispanic blacks in the city who were old enough to work had no job at all this year, according to an analysis of employment data compiled by the federal Labor Department. And when black New Yorkers lose their jobs, they spend a full year, on average, trying to find new jobs — far longer than New Yorkers of other races.

The trend is better nationwide than in NYC, but black employment still lags far behind white, and slightly behind Hispanic. Speaking of Hispanic, our second item comes from the official Romney site.

Obama’s ground game, money advantage, star power, and the excitement of our first Minority American President all intertwined to boost minority voter participation to record levels. Of the four, all he has left is his ground game. Even the press is turning (slightly) dubious.

So what is going to bring about an extra 2% minority vote? ACORN and Big Labor ballot-box stuffing, perhaps — but even that likely isn’t enough in a year when voters have proven themselves tired of both race-baiters and unions.

You’ll Bleg for Death

June 22nd, 2012 - 10:59 am

Speaker Debbie Wasserman-Schultz?

Just kill me now.

The Wheels Are Coming Off

June 22nd, 2012 - 10:15 am

The law of diminishing returns has set in to President Obama’s Hollywood fundraising — or at least that’s the fear on the left coast:

Some of the president’s most ardent entertainment industry supporters quietly tell The Hollywood Reporter that while they realize he needs to deploy all of his weapons to compete with deep-pocketed Republican super PACs, they fear the increasing reliance on stars and celebrity contests could backfire with swing voters and mobilize the right.

“We don’t like what he’s doing, but we understand it,” says one Hollywood fund-raising insider. “He has to raise the money. It’s a bad situation.”

Obama’s small donors are sitting out, putting him in this bind. And why are they sitting out? Partly, because he no longer seems the Man of the People he appeared to be in 2008. And that’s the rub — the more distant he seems, the more he must rely on Hollywood, making him seem even more distant. It’s cool when the President hangs out with George Clooney. It’s not so cool when that’s all he does.

That dovetails nicely with David Paul Kuhn’s piece in RCP today, pointing out that Obama’s white support is cratering:

Today, fewer whites back Obama than any Democratic candidate since Walter Mondale. Romney does not need to emulate Ronald Reagan to win. Should he match Reagan’s share of the white vote in 1984 — presuming all else remains constant since 2008 — Romney would rout Obama.

Of course, America has changed since Reagan. Non-Hispanic whites were 89 percent of the electorate when Reagan first won the White House in 1980. They were 85 percent in 1988. By 2008, whites were 74 percent. That shift has upended the electoral landscape. But only so much.

Remember one other little tidbit from Kuhn, the next time somebody on MSNBC plays the race card. Four years ago, Obama did better with white voters than any Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976. He earned that vote last time around, with an excellent campaign (and a few major assists from the Complicit Media). But years of bad priorities, a dismal economic record, and blatant race-baiting have given whites second thoughts. Obama is now gaining only 37% in Kuhn’s poll numbers.

Speaking of dismal, Andrew Malcolm found a story right out of the Great Depression:

A Panera sandwich shop on Chicago’s North Side removed its regular prices Thursday and now posts only suggested donations. People pay what they can, maybe a little more than suggested, maybe a little less. If some have no money, they can help clean the store for an hour to earn a meal.

When you want to illustrate why nearly two-thirds of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, there you go. By the way, I’m not faulting Panera; that restaurant manager is doing a noble thing. It’s just a shame that he has to do it.

Sean Trende, one of the smartest guys around, says it’s way too early for Democrats to panic:

Should Democrats be concerned? Absolutely. But any panic is grossly premature. To start with, Romney trails the president, albeit narrowly, in the RCP Average. This puts Obama in a better position than Al Gore, who trailed George W. Bush by four points in Gallup in June. It puts him in a better position than Bill Clinton in 1992, who trailed George H.W. Bush by six points in June. It puts him in a better position than Bush 41 in 1988, who trailed Michael Dukakis by nine points in June, and Ronald Reagan, who trailed Jimmy Carter by a pair in 1980.

The 1992 election might not be a very good example, since the entrance and exit and re-entrance of Ross Perot kept the polls churning all spring and summer. During June of that year, the time of the poll Trende mentions, Perot was the leader, not Bush. Perot voters defaulted for the most part back to Clinton when Perot (temporarily) quit the next month.

Al Gore might not be a very good example, either. In 2000, people were mostly satisfied with how the country was doing, aside from the bursting of the Dot Com Bubble. Nonetheless, Gore ran away from Clinton’s record, and embraced an awkward kind of lefty populism. And had it not been for the October Surprise of Bush’s drunk driving record, Gore probably wouldn’t have caught that swell of undecided voters. I’m thinking we’re not going to find much drunken driving in Romney’s past.

But Trende is right on the broader point, that it’s not time for Dems to panic. The problem isn’t that the White House is panicking. The problem is that the White House seems oblivious to the potential for disaster. Or if they aren’t oblivious, then they are at least clueless about how to change to a winning strategy.

The big worry for Team Obama ought to be what to do if the Supremes overturn ObamaCare. The thinking has been, near as I can tell, that O-Care is a wash this year. RomneyCare in Massachusetts was the same thing, they say, so nominating Mitt took the issue of the table. But the Supremes are about to serve it right back up. A legal victory could turn into a political loss in November. And if O-Care is overturned, then everyone will know that the President fiddled with health care while the economy burned.

This looks very much like a no-win for Obama. it was his Justice Department which fast-tracked the case to the Supreme Court, which might prove to have been a supreme folly.

So, no, the Democrats don’t need to panic yet, but the signs of panic are all there. By the end of summer, we might witness the world’s first nuclear-armed circular firing squad.

I’m not getting cocky. I am stocking up on popcorn.

It Doesn’t Involve Aqua Velva or a Tie

June 22nd, 2012 - 8:12 am

Trifecta: Spin the Wheel of Punditry and find out what this week’s mystery topic is!

They really make us sweat with these.

But That’s Unpossible!

June 21st, 2012 - 8:42 am

Trifecta: Would you believe Harvard professor Niall Ferguson is telling America’s youth to join… the Tea Party?

The Limits of Privilege

June 20th, 2012 - 4:20 pm

Doug Mataconis explains the scope of the executive privilege claimed today by President Obama:

Based on all of the available information, it seems fairly apparent that the White House’s invocation of privilege in this case is meant to invoke the Deliberative Process Privilege, largely because there is no evidence that the White House in general or the President in particular were involved in the Fast and Furious Operation or the investigation that occurred in the aftermath of the murder of Brian Terry. Therefore, to the extent that the White House is claiming privilege in this matter, the claim is going to be weak and may only be limited to specific categories of documents. Moreover, since the Deliberative Process Privilege is not absolute, it is possible that any claim of privilege will be overridden by the public interest in investigation and oversight by Congress.

There’s blood in the water, after Issa’s committee voted on contempt today. This “smaller” privilege could create a frenzy.

Clowns to the Left of Me…

June 20th, 2012 - 1:43 pm

Trifecta: Bask in the joy of President Obama getting thrown under the bus by his own Marxist mentor.

Pulp Science Fiction

June 20th, 2012 - 12:02 pm

If your favorite Sci Fi flicks were pulp novels. More, including prints, from the artist.

Good Government is Whatever Helps You Win

June 20th, 2012 - 10:10 am

Hundreds of dead Mexicans? A friendly government destabilized? An American border patrol officer killed? Nothing to see here:

President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege over documents sought by a House committee investigating the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting, according to a letter to the panel Wednesday from Deputy Attorney Gen. James Cole.

The move means the Department of Justice can withhold the documents from the House Oversight Committee, which was scheduled to consider a contempt measure Wednesday against Holder.

“I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents,” Cole wrote in a letter to committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California.

People exercising their First Amendment rights? Scandal!

Democratic President Barack Obama’s top campaign lawyer filed a complaint with the federal election regulator on Tuesday, demanding that the well-heeded and high-spending Republican advocacy group Crossroads GPS disclose its donors.

This is civil lawfare on American soil, and it’s been going on for a long time.

Oh, and let’s not forget the hypocrisy.

It’s Official: Everything Sucks

June 20th, 2012 - 8:36 am

The latest Bloomberg poll says pretty much everything the White House doesn’t want to know. Here’s the beef:

In general, do you think things in the nation are headed in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

Right direction – 31
Wrong track – 62
Not sure – 7

Which of the following do you see as the most important issue facing the country right now?

4 Immigration
13 Health care
18 The federal deficit
3 Terrorism
4 Taxes
3 Gay marriage
4 Gas prices
45 Unemployment and jobs
2 Other
1 None of these
3 Not sure [Emphasis added although really unnecessary]

Also note that health care is a very distant third place, and doesn’t differentiate between people who care about it because they don’t have insurance, or people who care about it because they think ObamaCare is a steaming pile. So much for the President’s “signature” accomplishment.

That’s an awfully deep hole to climb out of in just four months.

A Higher Education Bubble Bleg

June 20th, 2012 - 5:05 am

We have a Tax Freedom Day each year, to mark the day when the average American taxpayer has earned enough income to pay his taxes, and may spend the rest of the year working for himself.

What we need is a Student Loan Freedom Year, to mark how many years after graduation before a student loan victim has earned his freedom from bondage.

How about it? Who’s got the numbers?

Hold Your Nose and Vote for Obama

June 19th, 2012 - 3:25 pm

Trifecta: Don’t look now, but the enthusiasm gap is on the other side.