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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Required Viewing

January 27th, 2013 - 8:38 am
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Via Tyler Durden, MEP Daniel Hannan speaks the plain truth about the mess we’re (still) in.

Friday Night Videos

January 25th, 2013 - 10:37 pm
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The problem with rock’n'roll in the ’90s — and why I spent the decade ruthlessly ignoring it — is that it started taking itself way too seriously. I blame Nirvana. Before them, it was pretty much sex, drugs, and rock’n'roll. After them, every four man band was one guy on drums, two guys on guitar, and another guy whining and wailing about… I dunno. About something. I wasn’t listening. There was an excellent Season 1 episode of The Sopranos which skewered those acts with a chef’s precision.

So tonight we have The Dead Milkmen, an ’80s band which could never, ever be accused of taking itself too seriously.

The Letter of the Law

January 25th, 2013 - 1:42 pm

John Nolte is throwing sand in the gears of ObamaCare.

Here’s the two plus two: Starting next year, you can wait until you’re sick to purchase health insurance. And if you do so, you cannot be denied or even charged a higher premium price. Here’s the four: Because the ObamaCare penalty to be uninsured is much cheaper than purchasing insurance, why not do exactly that?

As I laid out in this piece, because ObamaCare allows me to game the system in this way, for the first time in over 25 years, I’m an uninsured-American. Going forward, my plan is to pay the annual penalty, which is ridiculously cheaper than insurance, and only purchase health insurance should I get sick.

As soon as the masses figure out this option under Obamacare — that there’s even less of an incentive to purchase health insurance than there was before ObamaCare passed — that’s how the system crashes.

For obvious reasons, neither the White House nor the media wants this information to become well known. They’re too invested in ObamaCare being part of the reason Obama’s put on Mt. Rushmore. But it’s bad law, Americans are not dumb, and I cannot think of anything more patriotic than to use civil disobedience as a way to bring the whole thing down.

Will you join him by becoming an uninsured-American?

REMAIN CALM!!!

January 25th, 2013 - 12:11 pm

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi asked his countrymen to obverse the Tahrir Square anniversary in a “peaceful and civilised way.” Oops:

Police clashed with President Mohammed Morsi’s opponents in Cairo, dispersing protesters outside his palace as thousands gathered in Tahrir Square.

Alexandria and Suez also saw clashes. In Ismailia, protesters set fire to the HQ of the Muslim Brotherhood’s party.

Critics accuse Mr Morsi of betraying the revolution, which he denies.

The president has appealed for calm to end the clashes, in which more than 100 people have been injured nationwide since Thursday.

Just another bloody speedbump on the road to sharia.

Headline of the Week

January 25th, 2013 - 11:49 am

Does America Know Its Own Best Interests?

Nope.

Next question, please.

Drilling Down Down Under

January 25th, 2013 - 9:08 am

With a tip of the hat to Glenn, here’s the latest hugenormous shale oil find:

SOUTH Australia is sitting on oil potentially worth more than $20 trillion, independent reports claim – enough to turn Australia into a self-sufficient fuel producer.

Brisbane company Linc Energy yesterday released two reports, based on drilling and seismic exploration, estimating the amount of oil in the as yet untapped Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy ranging from 3.5 billion to 233 billion barrels of oil.

At the higher end, this would be “several times bigger than all of the oil in Australia”, Linc managing director Peter Bond said.

This has the potential to turn Australia from an oil importer to an oil exporter.

More news like this, and Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf/OPEC states might find themselves in a double bind. Shale oil is more difficult and expensive to drill, but we’ll be using more of it — especially if “easy” oil production begins to wane. One expects, eventually, even the Saudis will have to start digging around for shale.

But where are the best minds in the oil business going to want to work? In Australia, where the beer is legal (and good) and the women are uncovered (and friendly)? Or in Saudi, where the beer is banned and the women are covered?

It’s kind of a no-brainer. Which is exactly what the Saudis might be faced with, just when they need brains the most.

ObamaCares Not One Bit

January 24th, 2013 - 2:08 pm

Are you ready for the sticker shock of double-digit health insurance premium hikes? You’d better be:

What’s gives? President Obama, after all, said he’d prevent these sorts of prices. His new health law gave state regulators the power to block premium increases. It even created a federal agency to oversee insurance rates. But these bureaucrats are spectators to the price hikes. They’re mere wallflowers. Even in the bluest of states.

Their silence is the best evidence of who is culpable for the increases. It’s the policymakers. It’s Obamacare. The President is accepting the premium hikes as an allowable consequence of his healthcare policies.

There’s buzz in Washington that to ease the price hikes, the Obama team may slow down some of the most expensive regulations. This might include the law’s mandatory community rating. One approach they’re said to be considering is allowing some of the historically based underwriting to stay in place for a time.

But premiums will still rise because, in the end, everything has a price.

That’s Dr. Scott Gottlieb at Forbes, speaking some plain sense. But we also have Kristina Ribali explaining who will get hit the hardest:

A new study released today shows exactly the opposite affect on premiums even with premium assistance.

Actuaries at management consulting firm Oliver Wyman predicted the laws age rating restrictions could mean a 42 percent hike in premium costs for people aged 21-29 when they buy individual coverage.

But President Obama repeatedly promised that we’d see a $2500 reduction in the cost of health insurance premiums per family, per year, and even “bring down the costs for the entire country.” And while this specific portion of the study focuses on individual premiums, the ACA is proving to increase the premiums for the majority of Americans as well. The study goes on to say that the increase in youth premiums will also destabilize the market due to the fact that many younger people will not be able to afford the higher rates and therefore will simply choose to opt out of coverage.

But, but — mandate, right? Wrong. George Will has that angle covered:

So, Lambert says, the ACA’s penalties are too low to prod the healthy to purchase insurance, even given ACA’s subsidies for purchasers. The ACA’s authors probably understood this perverse incentive and assumed that once Congress passed the ACA with penalties low enough to be politically palatable, Congress could increase them.

But Roberts’ decision says the small size of the penalty is part of the reason it is, for constitutional purposes, a tax. It is not a “financial punishment” because it is not so steep that it effectively prohibits the choice of paying it. And, Roberts noted, “by statute, it can never be more.” As Lambert says, the penalty for refusing to buy insurance counts as a tax only if it remains so small as to be largely ineffective.

You might have to go back to the Alien & Sedition Acts to find a worse piece of American legislation.

Details on Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Bill

January 24th, 2013 - 1:13 pm

It’s filled with the usual meaningless language defining (and banning) types of rifles that don’t really exist. Let’s look instead at what it excludes, and see if you can spot the single word that got my blood boiling:

The legislation excludes the following weapons from the bill:

 Any weapon that is lawfully possessed at the date of the bill’s enactment;

 Any firearm manually operated by a bolt, pump, lever or slide action;

 Assault weapons used by military, law enforcement, and retired law enforcement; and

 Antique weapons.

It’s a little worrisome when the government explicitly states — in a bill ostensibly written to protect people — that the State shall remain better armed than its Citizens. But that’s to be expected from gun-grabbers, so I read that part with a weary resignation.

No, the word that got to me was in this next bit:

The legislation protects hunting and sporting firearms:

 The bill excludes 2,258 legitimate hunting and sporting rifles and shotguns by specific make and model.

“Legitimate.”

Who decides what in your life or possession is “legitimate?” Somebody else. Somebody wiser. Somebody with her own armed guards.

But believe me, if Diane Feinstein can figure out a way to make hunting illegitimate, then she’ll come after the rest of your guns next. No, wait — don’t believe me. Believe her.

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I Come Not to Bury Caesar But to Praise Him

January 24th, 2013 - 12:01 pm
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This is for my bulimic friends after lunch.

Those 7/11 Blues

January 24th, 2013 - 10:35 am

Donlyn Turnbull and this old guy walk into a convenience story — but the punchline sucks:

So, I’m in line at the convenience store I frequent daily and in front of me is an older gentleman. He is EASILY in his mid- to late- eighties. He points behind the counter and asked for his brand of cigarettes. The cashier puts them on the counter and asked for the gentleman’s I.D. He reached into his pocket, pulled out a wad of cash, but had (apparently) forgotten his I.D. The cashier kindly apologized, but said he wouldn’t be able to finish the transaction. The older gentleman was agitated. I spoke up and said he could use my I.D. Because I’m not a smoker, I was unaware that there is a bar code on the back of our driver’s licenses that needs to be scanned before you can purchase things like cigarettes (this tidbit of information ticked me off on a whole bunch of new levels). I was informed by the cashier that because he knew I wouldn’t be purchasing them for myself that is considered a “third party sale” and is illegal.

Rejoice, comrades! Soon, everything not mandatory will be forbidden.

I’m looking at the Drudge Report and thinking of the Habsburgs — and before you ask, yes I’m sober.

But look at this photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that Drudge is running this morning.

And now take a look at this portrait of the last of the Spanish Habsburgs, Charles II.

No, they don’t look anything alike. But they do have some similarities. Before we get to what those are exactly, here’s Un’s father and predecessor, the late Kim Jong-il.

And now Charles’ father and predecessor, Philip IV.

And now for Kim Jong’s father and predecessor, Kim Il-sung.

And finally — I’m sure you can see where this is going by now — Philip’s father and predecessor, Philip III.

The Habsburgs were notoriously inbred. Charles’ great-great-great grandmother, Queen Joanna of Castile, according to Wikipedia was two of Charles’ 16 great-great-great-grandmothers, six of his 32 great-great-great-great-grandmothers, and six of his 64 great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers. She was also known as “the Mad.” But just a quick look at three generations of royal portraits tells the gruesome story. The handsome face, the strong chin, the distinctive nose, all became genetic caricatures over the course of just three generations.

Charles was mentally and physically handicapped. He died at 38, after spending his short life barely able to talk because his giant tongue matched his giant chin. It’s no surprise, and certainly a blessing, that he sired no children. I had a high school history teacher tell us that Charles had looked in a mirror, and in a single moment of lucidity decided then and there never to become a father. I’m pretty sure Mr. Dickinson was pulling our legs, but not entirely sure. I mean, scroll back up and look at that portrait again, if you dare.

Which brings us to North Korea’s Kim Dynasty.

I have no reason to think that the Kims have been marrying their sister-cousins or anything like that. But it is remarkable that over the course of just three generations, they keep getting rounder and meaner and dumber. The roundest and meanest and dumbest of them is now threatening to fire nuclear-capable missiles towards the continental United States, and rain hellfire down upon us and all the rest.

But before Kim Jung-un goes and prematurely makes himself the last of his dynasty, maybe he ought to take a look in the mirror.

An Untimely Demise

January 24th, 2013 - 8:58 am

Trifecta: One-hundred eighty billion dollars later, should we finally stop Head Start?

This is not the man you need to kick off the airplane.

This is the guy you want to sit next to on the airplane, so you can see how many Princess Bride quotes you can work in between DEN and LAX.

I’m just — just — old enough to remember when people still got dressed up for travel. I think the second time I wore a tie was on an airplane. I’ve long since given up expecting anybody to do that any more, although I think everybody agrees that nobody should have to look at your ugly man-toes for six hours. So put some real shoes on. And long pants wouldn’t kill you, either. But kicking somebody off a flight for wearing a somewhat-clever novelty t-shirt?

Madness. Scaredy-cat, politically-correct, cower-at-Big-Sis madness.

Fire Tim Cook!

January 23rd, 2013 - 2:48 pm

Apple posted another record-breaking quarter. Margins are down, presumably on iPad Mini and iPhone 4/4S sales. But sales and profits still broke records.

Obviously, the company is doomed.

Drunk Driving Permits

January 23rd, 2013 - 2:30 pm

News you can use from Ireland:

The Kerry County Council in southwest Ireland has passed a controversial measure that could make it legal for some rural drivers to get behind the wheel after knocking back a few stiff drinks.

While only three council members voted “no” on the proposed legislation, five apparently support the creation of special permits for driving in sparsely populated areas while intoxicated, according to the Guardian.

Nationwide, Ireland has been cracking down on drunken driving, according to Irish news outlet Independent.ie, which reports that drivers are now allowed only 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, “equivalent to drinking less than one pint of beer.” But permits proposed in the Kerry measure would allow rural residents to consume “two or three drinks,” per the Guardian.

This won’t do anything for me, of course. For starters, I don’t live in Kerry. And as the middle-age father of two small children, I do almost all my drinking at home.

That’s Kurt Schlichter’s advice to the GOP on gun control. He sees an opening:

Fact is that this is a great opportunity for the Republicans to really get to work for the sake of the country. No, not by passing laws – there are too many laws already. The work they can do that will truly help this country during this Congress is handing embarrassing defeats to Barack Obama, making him expend his political capital for nothing, and damaging the electoral prospects of his enablers in the Senate. Liberals are the problem; the GOP needs to solve that.

Yes, gun control legislation is vital for our country, but not substantively, as nothing being proposed would have made the slightest difference in what happened at Newtown. It’s vital because it’s a chance to defeat the liberals in clear and meaningful way.

This ought to be a no-brainer even for John Boehner, if you’ll excuse the silly rhyme. So far, he and the House GOP have played this one just right, telling Harry Reid they’ll be happy to take up whatever he can push through the Senate. That’s fine — so far as it goes. But if this is going to be a winning issue 20 months from now, then the Republicans will have to shift from passive-aggressive to pro-active.

The New Liquidity Trap

January 23rd, 2013 - 11:52 am

The message from Japan is loud and clear: “Bernanke… you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” Sadly, that’s no exaggeration:

The Bank of Japan made a blockbuster announcement overnight, saying that after nearly two decades of economic stagnation and falling prices, it is aiming for 2 percent inflation and will print more yen on an unlimited scale—by the trillions, if necessary—to get there.

That alone is big news; the Japanese central bank has now joined the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in pledging bottomless resources to address their respective economic crises.

Trillions in easy money and trillions more in deficit spending haven’t worked here. They won’t work there. But central planners gotta plan, and string pushers gotta push.

RELATED: Money cannot buy growth.

Feeling the Squeeze

January 23rd, 2013 - 10:36 am

Cue up the World’s Smallest Violin™ for the public union workers of the world:

The nation’s labor unions suffered sharp declines in membership last year, led by losses among public sector workers in cash-strapped states, cities, counties and towns.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unionization rate fell from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent of all workers, the lowest level since the 1930s.

The first thing that comes to mind is, “Good.” Public sector unions are an unaffordable abomination. I’m usually the last person to start a sentence with “There oughta be a law…” but there really ought to be one against public sector extortion organizations.

If private sector unions are going to survive in this country, they have got to give up this fantasy that their members are best represented by trying to put employers out of business. Otherwise, they too are doomed.

The Benghazi Hearings

January 23rd, 2013 - 9:36 am

John McCain brought some heat. Rand Paul brought a lot of heat, telling Hillary Clinton he’d have relieved her of her post. He added that he was pleased that Clinton was “accepting culpability” for Benghazi by leaving the State Department. I almost stood up and cheered.

I See Dead Campaigns

January 23rd, 2013 - 7:40 am

Trifecta: Is Mitt Romney gifted with the second sight?

Drudge Does it Again

January 23rd, 2013 - 6:16 am

It’s just not fair to put stuff like this up on the internet, when some of us are required to drink while reading it.

Succeeding Down

January 23rd, 2013 - 5:33 am

BREAKING: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ruthless, in over his head.

OK, maybe that’s not really a breaking news item. But it is interesting to read it in book form, from an ex-Softie bigshot. Here’s some of Joachim Kempin’s interview with Reuters:

Kempin charges Ballmer with purposefully ousting any executives with potential to wrest him from the CEO seat, which he has occupied since 2000.

He said he saw the process first with Richard Belluzzo, a former Hewlett-Packard executive credited with launching the Xbox game console who rose to chief operating officer at Microsoft but left after only 14 months in the post, in the same year Kempin left.

“He (Belluzzo) had no room to breathe on the top. When you work that directly with Ballmer and Ballmer believes ‘maybe this guy could someday take over from me’, my God, you will have less air to breathe, that’s what it comes down to.”

“Steve is a very good business guy, but make him a chief operating officer, not a CEO, and your business is going to go gangbusters,” said Kempin. “I respect that guy (Ballmer), but there are some limitations in what he can and can’t do and maybe he hasn’t realized them himself.”

Another famous CEO observed that A players hire other A players, while B players hire C and D players.

Ballmer certainly doesn’t act like an A player.

VodkaPundit Latenight

January 22nd, 2013 - 10:57 pm

What was once daring is now quaint — adult movie posters of yesteryear.

The Daily Mail has quite the impressive collection.

Stayin’ Alive

January 22nd, 2013 - 4:44 pm

Microsoft might invest as much as $3 billion into the effort to take Dell private.

It’s a bad sign when a company keeps having to throw money at its customers.

50 Shades of White House

January 22nd, 2013 - 3:08 pm

If you adore Barack and Michelle so much that you’ve just got to know how they might be getting freaky, then U Novels has just the book for you: Guesthouse Games.

Alone in their isolated beachfront guesthouse in the tropical paradise of Kailua, Hawaii, our leading couple are enjoying a holiday of a lifetime. But an unexplained visit from a ghost needing help sees our couple drawn into the ancient Hawaiian spiritual world and into the exploration of their own deepest and most forbidden desires.

Deepest? Perhaps. Forbidden? I wish.

Look, longtime VodkaPundit readers know I’m no prude. I believe I was the first at my school ever to be voted “Most Likely to Do That.” One of my AOL handles back in the day — true story — was SansTrou. So keep that in mind when I tell you I’d happily set fire to the First Amendment in order to avoid reading anything like this:


Whilst searching for clues to understand who this mysterious girl is that begs for the couple’s help, they uncover a number of rooms equipped to fulfill every type of erotic fantasy imaginable at the remote guesthouse they are staying at. But will our couple be able to resist the quest for sexual pleasure to help put the spirit to rest and bring about justice for a seventy year old tragedy? Or will they drown in the tides of history and their own passions?

Barack, Michelle, the Mystery Girl, and a room full of vibrators. I think we can guess where this is going — to the pool boy! No, the author isn’t even that creative. But we do have a gardener, who it is to be assumed, is rather well-(ahem)-built:

Whilst the story is based entirely around our leading couple, there are a few other characters that feature in Guesthouse Games.

Kenji, the guesthouse’s young Hawaiian gardener with whom the leading lady feels an intense erotic connection. He is involved in one of the sex scenes with the couple.

Having read what is perhaps one of the only First Couple Pr0n press releases to use the word “whilst,” I’m pretty sure I can die happy. And hopefully soon. Because listed amongst (see what I did there?) the erotic cast of naughty characters is…

…are you sitting?

“Stitch, the guesthouse cat.”

Yes, that’s right. The guesthouse cat. Stitch. There’s a part of me — no, not that part — which is possessed of a morbid desire, a sick curiosity, a wicked throbbiness, to know exactly how Stitch will be employed. You may thank me now for not making any “Obama eats cat” jokes. And while you’re at it, please bless “Evan” for keeping us spoiler-free in his review of Guesthouse Games:

I was very pleased with how well the book looked and the speed it got here. The book its self is very good from what i have read so far. i will be buying another book from here in the future. It made the perfect v-day gift, thank you, evan.

The perfect V-day gift — for your lonely self.

Failing Up

January 22nd, 2013 - 2:08 pm

Verizon just reported its Q4 numbers, and they’re astonishing:

It sold 7.3 million LTE devices the last three months of 2012, and it activated 9.8 million smartphones in total. It activated 6.2 million iPhones, about half of which were the LTE-enabled iPhone 5.

iPhone represented two-thirds of Verizon’s smartphone sales, even though the company is known for having its reps push customers — hard — towards Android devices. That’s up almost ten points from Verizon’s 2011 holiday quarter. Meanwhile, iPhone now represents over 51% of US smartphone sales.

Expect Tim Cook to announce yet another blowout quarter tomorrow, while the tech pundits continue to fret over Apple’s dim future.

Now Why Did He Have to Say That Out Loud?

January 22nd, 2013 - 1:55 pm

Trifecta: Worst. Inaugural Address. Ever.

At least until Joe Biden’s 2017 swearing in.

Your Scary-Ass Chart of the Day

January 22nd, 2013 - 9:01 am

Railroad traffic — almost all industrial or commercial these days — always falls after the holidays. But this year it fell to levels not seen since the ugly times of 2008

Leading economic indicator, anybody?

Sign “O” the Times

January 22nd, 2013 - 6:01 am

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Concierge medicine is growing by leaps and bounds in the Age of ObamaCare — unexpectedly! Details:

While the number of concierge doctors remains small, it’s growing at a rapid clip. In the U.S., there were about 4,400 private physicians in 2012, a 25% increase from 2011, according to the American Academy of Private Physicians. That’s out of some 600,000 practicing doctors nationwide. At an average of roughly 350 patients per concierge doctor, that means more than 1.5 million Americans are under the care of a physician who provides an additional level of service in exchange for a fee.

Concierge medicine’s perceived advantages will only grow in the coming years, experts say, as the traditional health-care system becomes even more strained. The full implementation of the Affordable Care Act next year is expected to bring more than 20 million formerly uninsured patients into the health-care system through 2022, exacerbating an existing physician shortage.

Nobody is going to take your doctor away from you. Provided you can pony up $1,800 a year extra out of your own pocket to jump the velvet rope.