Saturday, March 30, 2013

What we've been Tweeting



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Mon Dieu, the man has been saying the same thing for the last four years.




Over 4 years ago, as President Obama took office and the country was in the depths of recession with unemployment at 7.8%, the President and Congressional Democrats pushed an $800 billion "stimulus" package with the promise that its passage would prevent the unemployment rate from rising above 8.1%.

Lots of talk of "jump starting the economy" at first and then it was long-term "investments in infrastructure" via builing and improvements in roads and bridges.... always the bridges. The scattershot sales pitch of how exactly this stimulus package was to be implemented and the evident way that the money was most likely going to be spent on the politically connected and favored constituents and voting blocs, earned the legislation the moniker Porkulus.


The President, having control of both houses of Congress, signed Porkulus into law after it sailed through the sausage-making process and we all saw how that worked out:










After peaking at 10.1%, the unemployment rate is finally back down below 8% more as a result of people falling out of the labor pool of people looking for work and thus not being counted towards the unemployment rate, a statistical phenomena that is bolstered by a decades-low labor particiapation rate. Combine this with a record number of Americans on food stamps and it helps explain why the President, for four years now, has been in a constant state of "pivoting to jobs creation".

Being a strict adherent of top-down, statist, Keynesian economics, he will not deviate from the dead-end path and as a result, he was at it again in Miami, yesterday:




Standing in front of a giant cargo crane at the port of Miami Friday, President Obama promoted his plan to encourage private sector investment in infrastructure to increase job creation in the United States.

“There are few more important things we can do to create jobs right now and strengthen our economy over the long haul than rebuilding the infrastructure that powers our businesses and our economy — our roads, our bridges, our schools and our ports like this one,” President Obama said.

“There’s work to be done,” Obama added. “There are workers who are ready to do it. Let’s prove to the world there is no better place to do business than right here in the United States of America, and let’s get started rebuilding America.”

The president outlined his infrastructure spending plan, called the “Rebuild America Partnership,” which consists of three components – the creation of a $10 billion national infrastructure bank, the establishment of new “America Fast Forward Bonds” for infrastructure investment, and the expansion of funding for the TIGER and TIFFIA infrastructure programs.

“Let’s rebuild this country we love. Let’s make sure we’re staying on the cutting edge. Let’s make sure we’ve always got the best ports. Let’s make sure we’ve got the best airports. Let’s make sure we’ve got the best rail lines. Let’s make sure we’ve got the best roads. Let’s make sure we’ve got the best schools,” he said. “We’re going to push on this issue each and every day and make sure we get the middle class going again.”

As he pushed for creating more jobs through infrastructure investment in America, the president stood in front of a crane manufactured by a Chinese company called ZPMC.

(italics, ours)




As evidence of "stimulus fatigue", that zinger in the last paragraph from ABC News would never have appeared in print as recently as a year ago.


So, a question to all you private investors out there: Given the track record of the economic illiterates in and associated with this administration, is there any way in hell you would invest in any of their infrastructure projects?

Well, this question may be moot, as has been ably demonstrated by the cronyistic Department of Energy loan program, those who are not well-connected need not apply. You fly-over bumpkins just saved yourself some money that would've been covered by all of our taxes anyway.


No new ideas. No fresh thinking. Just the same old statist bullcrap we've been hearing for years now.









Friday, March 29, 2013

Radio KBwD is on the air





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Who's up for some latin-flavored ska? You are? Sweet. Come on down.




From Fresno, California, it's Let's Go Bowling performing one of their favorites, "Esta Noche".








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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Graphic image of the day


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Just a reminder, gang.




#RevolvingDoor


#MoneyInPolitics


#Transparency



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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Your mid-week, martini-worthy photo image


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Happy hump day, everybody!


Remember these crazy kids?
















From some un-named music/variety show circa 1965, here's Sonny and Cher performing the first song they recorded together, "Baby, Don't Go", a true pop gem.







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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Statists say (and do) the darndest things


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We've said it before and recent events warrant saying it again: the (gun) controllers* had better get their act together because this seeming gaffe-a-day from their camp is killing them in the PR battle with the gun rights crowd.

Let's take a look at some examples:

Nanny Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, is spending a whopping $12 million of his own money on a anti-gun campaign that isn't actually shilling for any particular (gun) control legislation. Here's one of his sponsored ads "Responsible":





Pro-tip: When advocating for stricter gun control, it's always important to make sure the actor you hired who owns his own flannel shirt, rifle and southern drawl has his gun pointed in some indiscriminate direction where there may or may not be people and has his index finger on the trigger of the gun.





Next up, here's Jim Carrey's (gun) control video from Funny or Die and which he teased in a tweet the day before it came out:

'Cold Dead Hand' is abt u heartless motherf%ckers unwilling 2 bend 4 the safety of our kids.Sorry if you're offended…





Full disclosure: We've never been Jim Carrey fans. His brand of physical humor had the shelf life of his last episode of "In Living Color". "Ace Ventura" had its moments but the rest of his cinematic endeavors did not impress. Sorry.

It's just not funny. For his expletive-laden tease, we expected something a little more edgy. Something a bit more provocative. And this is what we waited around for? Another lecture from an un-funny Hollywood liberal hack?






Lastly, you'll never guess who is a sponsor of Rev. Al Sharpton's MSNBC show? We'll let NewsBusters take it away:


Don't tell us that Al Sharpton and MSNBC are hypocrites? Noooo!! The Reverend Al opened his show by praising President Obama's efforts to promote tougher gun control laws. But 28 minutes into the show, a commercial appeared for, of all things . . . Henry Repeating Rifles.

Go to Henry Rifle's website and you'll find one rifle described as "big, brutal and beautiful" and noting that it fires ammunition "said to have killed more game, big and small, and more men, good and bad, than any other in existence." Another model offered for sale, the AR-7, is based on a military rifle, Henry emphasizing that given its lightweight design "you can carry a large quantity of ammunition." Oh the horror!



You can view the video at NewsBusters, here.



We think our admonition of our (gun) control friends and their continued gaffe-tasticness is causal from the following: the degree by which you push for stricter gun control is inversely proportional to how much you know about guns and gun laws.

But don't listen to us, guys - we're enjoying our schadenfreude-fueled sugar rush.




* As you might imagine from the parenthetical, we're of the firm belief that the (gun) control crowd, while perhaps claiming to be all about public safety and not infringing on U.S. citizens' 2nd amendment rights, betray themselves with overreaching and overbearing tactics and poorly thought-out legislation that suggests "freedom" and "liberty" are fine, fine concepts but not to be entrusted to the unwashed masses.


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Monday, March 25, 2013

Graphic images of the day



If you have been a free-market conservative or libertarian for any length of time, you have probably at one point or another been confronted by a liberal friend and had the discussion on which is the more virtuous form of socio-economics: free markets or a collectivized marketplace. Your friend surely made the argument that collectivism is most assuredly the more virtuous or moral system as one of the things it accomplishes is that it prevents the strong/rich from taking advantage of the weak/poor.

Never mind that history is replete with example after example of collectivist societies, and more specifically, the governments of those collectivist societies eating their own, so to speak, by the millions… presumably with the justification they were making sure those little people would never be taken advantage of by rapacious capitalists now that they were dead.

Anyway, for your part, how do your explain individualism and rational self-interest as virtuous? It’s a laughable notion to your liberal friend. After all, self-interest is synonymous with selfishness to your friend, right? So, how do you put into words that which you know in your heart is correct? How do you explain the concepts of your political/economic world view as the truly virtuous form of governance to your liberal friend?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, our friend and fellow SLOB, Sir Charles of Doo Doo Economics is here to help.


But first a quick primer with the two graphic images below that help explain what Sir Charles will be explaining.









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Don’t worry, the graphics are at the Doo Doo blog post, which can be linked to here, as well.

How are those 3-year anniversary festivities shaping up?



We realize our previous post was on the same subject* but the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare has proven to be such a treasure trove of blog fodder and with the 3rd anniversary of the legislation occurring over the weekend, we figured, what the heck..?

With the state run exchanges expected to be up and running and communicating with the Feds by October 1st, what could possibly go wrong?


From the Commonwealth Fund:


Federal officials are developing contingency plans in case the health insurance exchanges are not fully ready to begin enrolling people on Oct. 1, the head of the agency that’s building the massive 50-state marketplace structure said last week.

Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, also said there is “some possibility” that some states now conditionally approved to run their own marketplaces might not be able to launch them on Oct. 1. But he vowed that every state will have an exchange, which could mean the federal government might have to have more of a role than anticipated in states that can’t get to the finish line in time.

His remarks at a national policy meeting of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) marked the first time that Health and Human Services (HHS) leaders have veered even slightly from their insistence that exchanges will be totally functional by Oct. 1.

Cohen’s comments came on the same day that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conducted her second closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee to discuss the health care law’s implementation.

Making contingency plans for October is necessary, Cohen said. “I think it’s only prudent to not assume everything is going to work perfectly on day one and to make sure that we’ve got plans in place to address things that may happen,” added Cohen, whose division is part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).



They say “contingency plans”. We see….












Are we wrong? They’ve had 3 years to get this figured out and they are in actuality, nowhere close. To be fair, getting 50 separate state exchanges or marketplaces that could effectively service the citizens of that state while still communicating with several different federal bureaucracies, including the IRS we might add, is a near-impossible task no matter how long the time frame.

Too bad. They wanted this thing so damn badly for all of us, they are now going to suffer the scorn and derision that comes as a result of their inherent incompetence.


Some more re-assuring words regarding those “contingency plans”:



Cohen appeared on an AHIP panel with Henry Chao, a CMS official who’s overseeing the technology for the exchange launch.

Chao was frank about the stress and tension of the compressed time frame involved in setting up the exchanges. “We are under 200 days from open enrollment, and I’m pretty nervous,’’ he said. “I don’t know about you,” he added, to murmurs from the insurance industry audience. Members peppered Chao and Cohen with many questions about the format for the health care policies they will submit to HHS for approval so the plans can be marketed in the exchanges.

Chao said the main objective is to get the exchanges up and running and signing up the uninsured. “The time for debating about the size of text on the screen or the color or is it a world-class user experience, that’s what we used to talk about two years ago,” he said. “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.”



Allow us to translate: A couple-three years back, we talked about how super-duper rad the exchanges were going to be, like Travelocity for health insurance coverage or something. Now… now, it’s shaping up to be a massive craptastic disaster.


Remember, you have been warned and all that we have foretold will come to pass.



*It’s never a good sign if you are a frequent topic at Beers with Demo.


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Thursday, March 21, 2013

All Your Healthcare Are Belong to Us





You were warned, gang. We’ve been banging our fork on the dinner table for years with respect to the loss of personal privacy as a result of the expansion of the entitlement/welfare state.

Specifically, with respect to ObamaCare and our lurch towards a single-payer system where we have been told by ObamaCare supporters, no less, that “we’re all in this together”, we said this just a couple of days ago:


Since we are rapidly approaching the “we’re all in this together” state of being with government-managed healthcare trending towards a single-payer system, the government and it’s tax-paying citizens are vested parties in your healthcare and will most likely want a say in what you are shoveling down your pie hole.

So, isn’t that terrific: We are now in a political environment where we go from being completely hands-off libertarians with respect to what other people eat, drink and, in general, what they do to their bodies, to finger-wagging nanny-scolds. If there is anything that points to the wrongness of government-managed healthcare, it is that.



Well, we’re finding that companies that provide healthcare coverage for their employees are now getting in on the act.

From CBS News (San Francisco):


Pharmacy giant CVS has told workers in the Bay Area and around the nation to reveal their weight and other health information, or pay extra for health coverage.

The company announced Wednesday what it called “A Plan for Health,” that features a mix of rewards and penalties for employees.
Among the measures, employees must report their weight, body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Workers must also be tobacco free or enroll in an addiction program by next year.

Employees who refuse will have to pay $50 more for health coverage each month, totaling $600 a year.

In a video released by CVS, a top executive said the plan is progressive and cutting edge. “These changes aren’t just about costs they’re about us, each of us taking personal accountability for our own health,” said Lisa Bissacia, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.

(italics, ours)

Dig it, man, because it’s like progressive and cutting edge, dude.


And as the italics have indicated, please note the Orwellian take on personal accountability. We’re straining to see the correlation between getting leaned on by your employer to ensure a positive outcome and executing true self-discipline with respect to your life choices.

And dig this:

KPIX 5 tried talking to employees at a CVS location, but they refused to comment on the plan.

You don’t say. Apparently, they did not. Nothing like chilling speech with the looming specter of fat camp hanging over one’s head.

But this is the vision of America we want or so it seems; sacrificing our personal privacy and liberty for an unsustainable, cost-wise and freedom-wise, intrusion into our lives.

Swaddled in the clutching, grabbing arms of the nanny state goes our Republic.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So, what can we learn from that little island country in the Mediterranean?






And all this time, you thought the money you made was yours. And all this time you thought, especially, that money you have sitting in the bank that you paid taxes on was yours as well.


For the good people of the island of Cypress, though, those days are long gone, baby, long gone.



The small country of Cyprus is giving the world a grave reality check today by reminding everyone that government money is simply the people's money redistributed as the European Union prepares to seize private bank account savings in order to bailout years of bad economic decisions.

The surprise decision by euro zone leaders to part-fund a bailout of Cyprus by taxing bank deposits sent shockwaves through financial markets on Monday, with shares and the bonds of struggling euro zone governments tumbling.

The bloc struck a deal on Saturday to hand Cyprus rescue loans worth 10 billion euros ($13 billion), but defied warnings - including from the European Central Bank - and imposed a levy that would see those with cash in the island's banks lose between 6.75 and 9.9 percent of their money.

The initial response of investors was unambiguous. Shares lurched lower, the euro fell to a new three-month low, while safe-haven assets such as gold and German government bonds jumped.

The cost of insuring the debt of even high-quality European banks against default also rose sharply with analysts citing fears the decision could spark contagion across peripheral regions with the potential for widespread outflows of deposits.

"If I were a saver, certainly in Spain or maybe Italy, I think I'd be looking askance at these measures and think this could yet happen to me," Peter Dixon, global financial economist at Commerzbank said.



France? Spain? Sure but what about here? No way, right?

3 years ago, we blogged precisely about that possibility and just how serious the law-makers up on Capitol Hill were taking the idea of raiding your 401(k).

From January of 2010 (please go to the link for the links contained in the original post for they are plentiful. Thanks):



So what’s the statist solution to a bankrupt Social Security? Of course, Social Security Pt. II.


Way, way back in ’08, KT turned us on to Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government seizing the nation’s private pension system under the guise of “shielding” it from the global economic downturn when in reality it was really just cash-grab to pay off debt… something we know nothing about here.

But in this great country of ours where the unlikely occurrence of a light-skinned, non-threatening black man being President becomes reality, the similarly heretofore unlikely occurrence of the federal government seizing your 401(k) is becoming more and more likely.

Back in 2008, we blogged about Congressional hearings whose aim was the feasibility of eliminating the pre-tax exemption of your 401(k) contribution which amounts to $80billion annually not in the government coffers. The amount of your individual tax break would be directed to a new system of guranteed retirment accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute.

We always love it when the government starts using authoritarian code-speak like, “obliged”.


Here’s what we blogged back in October of 2008:



But don’t worry, Teresa Ghilarducci of the New School for Social Research (that title alone has train wreck written all over it) has got a plan. In return for wacking our 401(k) tax deferment, we would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy (read: a, hey, no hard feelings, bub “government kickback”) in return for being “obliged” to “invest” 5 percent of our pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Admin which would pay a whopping 3% a year, adjusted for inflation.

And here’s Ms. Ghilarducci, herself:

“I want to stop the federal subsidy of 401(k)s,” Ghilarducci said in an interview. “401(k)s can continue to exist, but they won’t have the benefit of the subsidy of the tax break.”

Under the current 401(k) system, investors are charged relatively high retail fees, Ghilarducci said. (ed.: what this statement has to do with anything relative to what she is proposing is lost on us)

“I want to spend our nation’s dollar for retirement security better. Everybody would now be covered” if the plan were adopted, Ghilarducci said.
She has been in contact with Miller and McDermott about her plan, and they are interested in pursuing it, she said.





We thought this was all just a bad dream and that people and ideas like that represented by Ghilarducci would go away once we got the new presidency cranked up and we would be worried about healthcare, cap and trade, the economy, etc.

But proving that you just can’t sleep on these guys…



The U.S. Treasury and Labor Departments will ask for public comment as soon as next week on ways to promote the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams, according to Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi and Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Mark Iwry, who are spearheading the effort.



The article goes on to state the obvious:



Seven in 10 U.S. households object to the idea of the government requiring retirees to convert part of their savings into annuities guaranteeing a steady payment for life, according to an institute-funded report today.




Translation: No one. Repeat, no one likes this idea. That other 30% represent people who either do not have a 401(k) and/or are at an icome level by which they are not paying taxes of any kind so of course, they would think the further subsidization of their existence by the rest of us is a grand idea.

W.C. gives us a hint as to who is some of the politcal muscle behind this. Here is the webpage of a front group called RetirementUSA that is convened by the usual suspects among them the AFL-CIO and the purple people-beaters of the SEIU.

Here’s their opening salvo:


Retirement USA is a national initiative that is working for a new retirement system that, along with Social Security, will provide universal, secure, and adequate income for future retirees. The initiative has developed 12 Principles for a New Retirement System, which provide a framework for a future system in which employers, workers, and the government would share responsibility for the retirement security for all American workers.




That 12 principles for a New Retirement System is a cross between a description of the current Social Security set-up and a Leftist retirement Bill of Rights.

Well, since we already have Social Security then why do we need another nearly identical program?

Everyone knows that Social Security is insolvent. Everyone. So what the establishment of Social Security the Sequel and what this all represents is a Trojan Horse for the nationalization of your 401(k) and that, our friends, you can take to the bank.

With Social Security broke and our debt climbing out of control, the trillions and trillions of dollars setting in this country’s private pension accounts remain one of the last untapped sources of revenue for the government.






Back to the future:

Exit question: Is your money really yours?

Think about it for a moment: If you live in a country that has a massively generous social safety net and you live in a country with an electorate that constantly gives the government more and more power to bequeath “rights” out of thin air upon its citizens effectively stripping the sovereignty from the individual, what is “your money” but the tool by which the government will perform all that you have asked it to perform?

It seems to us, then, that the degree by which your money is truly yours is directly proportional to the sovereignty you possess and the freedoms and liberties you pursue not under the purview of the government.


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Monday, March 18, 2013

Awww... Bill Maher a little late to the personal responsibilty party






Bill Maher on the New York City soda ban and why “liberal fascism” is not at all contradictory but actually quite complimentary.



"I am for overturning this ban," HBO host Bill Maher said about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's soda ban. "I think this is what makes liberals look bad. This is what makes liberals look like elitist bullies who think they know everything and can tell people what to do."

"Again, it is what makes liberals look bad. They never met a regulation they didn't like. Of course, we should do something about this problem, but what if I want to have that one Big Gulp once a week? I should be able to," he added.

"You shouldn't have to clear what you eat with the municipal government," Maher also said.




While we whole-heartedly agree with the creepy little misogynist, the current trajectory of healthcare in this country necessarily dictates that the government gets more involved with what you eat and drink.

Since we are rapidly approaching the “we’re all in this together” state of being with government-managed healthcare trending towards a single-payer system, the government and it’s tax-paying citizens are vested parties in your healthcare and will most likely want a say in what you are shoveling down your pie hole.

So, isn’t that terrific: We are now in a political environment where we go from being completely hands-off libertarians with respect to what other people eat, drink and, in general, what they do to their bodies, to finger-wagging nanny-scolds. If there is anything that points to the wrongness of government-managed healthcare, it is that.

If you wish to make poor life decision, dietary or otherwise, no person nor governmental entity should stand in your way of doing so. Of course, you are on the hook for the consequences of behaving badly also, right? Unfortunately, this simple life rule of sleeping in the bed one makes that we all learned back in kindergarten has been blown to smithereens with the encroaching entitlement/welfare state over the decades, culminating now with the passage of ObamaCare some 3 years ago.


So...

A message of warning to our plentiful smoking friends: we are going to be absolutely insufferable nags from here on out. Hey, it may be your body but it’s our bucks.


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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Your California high-speed choo-choo update*




* sort of


While being introduced on Silvio Canto’s podcast last August, our “sponsor” Leslie of Temple of Mut was kind enough to note that one of the things she loved about Beers with Demo is how it stayed on topics of interest and provided regular “updates” and commentary on issues like the auto bailouts, Fast and Furious, ObamaCare and one of our favorites, California’s high-speed rail project.

With that said, we have nothing new to report with California’s high-speed choo-choos so just consider this particular “update” a friendly little reminder.



From the L.A. Times on January 27th:


Construction of California's high-speed rail network is supposed to start in just six months, but the state hasn't acquired a single acre along the route and faces what officials are calling a challenging schedule to assemble hundreds of parcels needed in the Central Valley.

The complexity of getting federal, state and local regulatory approvals for the massive $68-billion project has already pushed back the start of construction to July from late last year. Even with that additional time, however, the state is facing a risk of not having the property to start major construction work near Fresno as now planned.

It hopes to begin making purchase offers for land in the next several weeks. But that's only the first step in a convoluted legal process that will give farmers, businesses and homeowners leverage to delay the project by weeks, if not months, and drive up sales prices, legal experts say.

One major stumbling block could be valuing agricultural land in a region where prices have been soaring, raising property owners' expectations far above what the state expects to pay.

"The reality is that they are not going to start in July," said Anthony Leones, a Bay Area attorney who has represented government agencies as well as property owners in eminent domain cases.

State high-speed rail officials say it won't be easy, but they can acquire needed property and begin the project on time.
"It is a challenge," said Jeff Morales, the rail agency's chief executive. "It is not unlike virtually any project. The difference is the scale of it."




Reminder: Back in 2008, when California’s voter were asked to approve the choo-choo project via the sale of bonds in a ballot proposition, the project was estimated to cost $32 billion.
Reminder: Estimates for how much this project will actually cost have ranged from as high as $100 to $120 billion.


Reminder: How the official estimate of $68 billion came to be was that Governor Brown essentially gutted the project. There is no money for the electrical infrastructure to power the choo-choos and there is yet no money for the actual choo-choos. As far as we can tell, that $68 billion is simply for the tracks and not much else.


Reminder: the project is now facing a legal challenge because of the aforementioned gutting which was forbidden in the language of the ballot measure


Reminder: there have been no private investors that have stepped forward to operate the system once it is up and running as per the ballot language. And no wonder, rail systems are notorious money-losers that only stay afloat with substantial public subsidies.


Reminder: the project will lose out on billions of federal money if they don’t have the first 130 miles of the track completed in the Central Valley by 2018 which will require a burn rate of $3.2 million/day.
Reminder: they’re starting in the easy location. Can’t wait to see what that burn rate will be as they negotiate the mountains north of Los Angeles.


Reminder: for you voters here in San Diego that liked the idea of high-speed choo-choos, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Fresno and Bakersfield thank you for your scratch as the high-speed choo-choos will not be making it down here.




It's an unholy mess that is driven by an alliance of Sacramento Democrats, big California city pols, big labor and the Obama administration. We're stuck with it so our only amusement is to point out the folly of this project from time to time.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

What we've been Tweeting










"This is not Dick Cheney we're talking about here" - President Drone Strike convinced of his own infallible benevolence.


1. What did Dick Cheney have to do with drones, again? 2. We need to come up with the liberal equivalent of Godwin's law whereby the longer a conversation extends, the more likely a Dick Cheney comparison/reference will be made.

That statement by the President to Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) looking for some answers with respect to the President's own drone program proves the man still rents space in liberals' heads.





Statist logic: building a pipeline won't create jobs but food stamps will.


Don't believe us? Over the years, we've had fun documenting how much folks believe food stamps are an economic stimulant with multiplier effects and what not when we thought the whole idea was to get people off food stamps. How silly of us.




Dear, East Coast, get ready for some West Coast hoptasticness.


San Diego's very own Green Flash brewery will soon be breaking ground for their brewery in San Diego East, Virginia Beach, Va.







"Americans are huddled together next to their dead friends under the blue plastic." #North Korea


"Americans drink coffee made of snow. The warm snow is nice."


"There are no birds (in America) save for these in the trees. They will be eaten on Tuesday. They are yummy."




A series of tweets linking to an epic Soviet-style propaganda video from the Norks lamenting the deplorable state of living in America.





Surpise... #Sequester won't interrupt collection of #ObamaCare taxes







#Benghazi was such a big fat nothingburger that no one has yet been able to speak to the survivors.

In that respect, we have been able to learn as much about Benghazi from those who survived the terror attack as we have from Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Ridiculous.







And speaking of Godwin's law...


Terrific... Aussies go full #Godwin


Pro tip: when confronted with a question about Hitler or Nazi Germany just run away as fast as humanly possible. There is nothing good that will come of it.


To quote a famous military leader who would know...












Yep. Gun violence still only a problem when it's just white kids getting shot up.


Three words: Adam. Corolla. Rant.






WTF is Algore doing at #SXSW. Oh crap, that's right: Wonder Bread-white, liberal, skinny jean confab. His people.


Dirty oil money-besotted Al Gore was at the music festival to attack NRA as "fraud". There are some things you just can't make up and this would be one of them.






OK, that's enought social media navel-gazing for today. We'll probably take tomorrow off but be back Saturday. Hope to see you then.






Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Choice for me but not for thee



Here's Jim Moran (D-VA) at a town hall meeting fielding a pretty basic question regarding Moran's seeming inconsistency with respect to two women's rights issues.





Congressman, I know you are pro-choice so why aren't you pro-choice when it comes to self-defense for woman?



Moran evades answering the question by prattling on about the length of the question(s) or something. Nice try, pal.


Women's self-defense is most certainly a women's issue so it's entirely legit to call out Moran on his hypocrisy.


Again, what the hell is a man doing telling a woman how best to defend herself? That's an angle that is underplayed by gun rights supporters in this whole debate and they do so to their detriment.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The average number of bumper stickers on a Prius is insufficient in communicating the smugness we feel right now






Electric cars by the numbers:


1,000,000: the federal government’s goal of number of electric cars on the road by 2015.

50,000: the number of electric cars sold in the U.S. in 2012.

$100,000: the price of the Fisker of which you are subsidizing the production… in Finland.

30,000: the number of pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions from the production of an electric car.

14,000: that number for a conventional car.

A big chunk of that 30,000 lbs. comes from the production of the batteries which require lithium-ion of which the Chi-comms have a virtual corner on the market and whom have never been confused with the Sierra Club in their extraction of the rare earths required for most green energy applications.

Oh, and…

$10,000: the replacement price tag for a new car battery.

It is duly noted that we haven’t yet figured out how to safely dispose of the lithium-ion in the battery.




80,000: the number of miles needed for an electric car to be driven to break even with the amount of carbon-dioxide that is emitted in the production of said electric car.

Slim and none: the chances your electric car’s odometer will see 80,000 miles because…

73: the range in miles per charge for a Nissan Leaf and…

6: average mph for an extended road trip owing to extensive battery charging time and…

55: the range in miles per charge of that Leaf after 5 years.

Bottom line: you better be doing a hell of a lot of senseless and logistically ill-conceived running of errands around town in order to make your electric car pay off from an environmental standpoint.




And in case anyone forgot:

$7,500: the amount you are subsidizing others’ efforts to feel morally superior by purchasing an electric car.

$5.5 billion: the amount we are giving in federal grants and loans to an industry that builds $100,000 vehicles.


We feel the need to go on the record as saying we are not opposed to green energy, per se. However, the manner in which it currently is pursued as a hodge-podge of tax-payer supported crony capitalism via methodologies and industry practices that are the antithesis of "green" makes us strident opponents.


Call us back when we stop giving billions to wealthy politically-connected "investors" and when green technology starts making long-term sense both financially and environmentally because, right now, it's not even close.




Monday, March 11, 2013

Time for a 2nd look at the Voting Rights Act of 1965? Pt. II


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Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that will decide the survival of the preclearance provisions of the Act that requires federal oversight of voting practices in localities in 16 states.

As you will recall, the VRA struck down the last vestiges of Jim Crow laws that had plagued black voters, particularly in the South, since the days of Reconstruction following the Civil War.

At issue in Shelby County v. Holder is the relevance of a law passed nearly 50 years ago that requires even the slightest changes made to municipal voting procedures to be signed off by the United States Justice Department.

We live in a time when Mississippi has more elected black officials than any state in the Union (not per capita but total) and it would appear that in at least two instances we have blogged about with respect to the VRA, the law seems to be applied more towards the furthering of the race-based grievance industry than truly protecting the rights of minority voters.

Last week, we re-published a post from a year and a half ago regarding the North Carolina city of Kinston where the DOJ determined that black voters necessarily needed to know who were the Democratic Party candidates on the city ballot.


Below is a re-publishing of a post from 3 years ago whereby the DOJ felt compelled to intervene on behalf of the city of Port Chester, CT in order to ensure that Hispanic candidates were sufficiently represented on the village's board of trustees:



When the usual district gerry-mandering just won't do.


We're surprised the following hasn't gotten much play, particularly in the righty blogosphere:



Arthur Furano voted early — five days before Election Day. And he voted often, flipping the lever six times for his favorite candidate. Furano cast multiple votes on the instructions of a federal judge and the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a new election system crafted to help boost Hispanic representation.

Voters in Port Chester, 25 miles northeast of New York City, are electing village trustees for the first time since the federal government alleged in 2006 that the existing election system was unfair. The election ends Tuesday and results are expected late Tuesday.

Although the village of about 30,000 residents is nearly half Hispanic, no Latino had ever been elected to any of the six trustee seats, which until now were chosen in a conventional at-large election. Most voters were white, and white candidates always won.

Federal Judge Stephen Robinson said that violated the Voting Rights Act, and he approved a remedy suggested by village officials: a system called cumulative voting, in which residents get six votes each to apportion as they wish among the candidates. He rejected a government proposal to break the village into six districts, including one that took in heavily Hispanic areas.

Furano and his wife, Gloria Furano, voted Thursday.

"That was very strange," Arthur Furano, 80, said after voting. "I'm not sure I liked it. All my life, I've heard, `one man, one vote.'"




Bless your heart, Mr. Furano. One man - one vote is now apparently illegal and you should check yourself before speaking of it with such favorable sentiment.

Well, since Hispanic voter participation seems to be an issue here, we know of a couple of Black Panther "poll workers" in the Philly area, who instead of sitting behind bars have got some free time on their hands as the miserable hack who runs the Justice Department dropped their voter intimidation case.

Perhaps the judge and the miserable hack could've sent those two to Port Chester, billy clubs in hand, to roust voters with Hispanic-y sounding last names from their homes in order to get them to the polls thus better preserving our once-hallowed concept of one man - one vote. Just give them a phone book, a GPS and let'em do their thing.

That idea is all pretty quaint now as the governing concept of democracy circa 2010 is no longer equality of opportunity but rather equality of results.

Hooray! Finally, a just result. We voted in a Hispanic!

Combine this with the case in Kinston, North Carolina, where the Justice Department overturned the city's decision to forego putting party affiliation next to candidates' names as it was Justice's belief that the blacks in that community would not know who the Democrats were and thusly, would not vote for them and you have yet another example of the soft bigotry of low expectations of minorities held by liberals.

The paternalism sickens us and makes us wonder from what dark recesses of the statis mindset this plantation mentality comes.



(end of re-post)




One must really question the relevancy of a law that is used to make hash of the letter and intent of a principle that is sacred to democracy.





Saturday, March 9, 2013

Another week and another round of bad news for ObamaCare



So this is what is meant by the "faith-based community": Supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) that no Congressman nor Senator bothered to read before voting for and which further bureaucratized an already heavily bureaucratized healthcare sector and which added 30 million more people to the system and they are shocked, shocked that the cost of health care is actually rising.


From the L.A. Times:


Despite objections from regulators, health insurers Blue Shield of California and Aetna Inc. are proceeding with double-digit rate increases that state officials said were unreasonable.

Officials at the California Department of Managed Health Care said increases that average more than 11% for about 47,000 individual and small-business policyholders of Blue Shield and Aetna were unreasonable. But state officials don't have the authority to reject changes in premiums, and increasingly health insurers refuse state demands to lower rates.

"I am disappointed that after lengthy negotiations, Blue Shield and Aetna were unwilling to bring their proposed health plan increases down to a reasonable level," said Brent Barnhart, director of the Department of Managed Health Care.

Last year, Aetna led the way for the industry's more defiant stance by proceeding with an 8% rate hike on some small-business policyholders despite objections from the state insurance department. In January, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones scolded Anthem for proceeding with an 11% premium hike for small businesses that he determined was excessive.



You can almost hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth all the way from Sacramento.


Later in the article:


State officials have also objected to some health insurers charging people more this year to recoup fees related to the federal healthcare law that don't take effect until next year.

Jones is expected to criticize another rate increase from Blue Shield at a news conference Thursday in Los Angeles.



State officials are apparently unaware of the Econ 101 principal of price signaling where, in this case, the insurers are anticipating the crunch of additional mandates and what it will cost and are getting out ahead of the resulting pricing curve.




Currently, state officials do not have the authority to deny these rate increases so you can probably guess where this is all going.



Meanwhile, a ballot initiative scheduled for November 2014 would grant state officials the power to deny unreasonable increases for health coverage. The insurance commissioner has that authority for property and auto policies under Proposition 103.

Jones has called that lack of rate review a "huge loophole" in California law and in the federal Affordable Care Act.


Insurers being denied charging what it will cost them to provide health insurance. What could possibly go wrong?


Despite seeing constant examples of it, we continue to be amazed by the naivete' of the statist set who think waving a legislative wand over an entire industry will a) better the delivery of goods and services of that industry and b) lower the cost of goods and services that industry provides.









Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's as if we've run out of good ideas...


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... but make laws we must anyway



Time was in this country when Congress passed legislation and which the President signed into law that gave certain people the right to vote which they had been previously denied or created our national park system to be enjoyed by all future generations of Americans or even declarations that sent our armed forces to war to rid the planet of the scourge of fascism and imperialism. Now days, we pass laws to saddle all future generations of Americans with mountains of debt and to ensure the IRS is all up in our britches more than at any time in our country's history.



"It is unprecedented in recent history, the amount of responsibility the IRS is being given in an area that most people don't think of as an IRS function,"



So saith J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, in his testimony before the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday regarding the IRS's responsibility for ObamaCare compliance.

George added that Americans , will have more questions about their taxes because of health care penalties or credits, flooding already busy call-in and walk-in tax help centers. "This is going to lead to problems, sir."

Truly... the IRS as the enforcement arm of the new health care law. What could possibly go wrong?


And these resource issues are bound to spill over into tax fraud enforcement, where the IRS will have to do a cost-benefit analysis when determining which tax fraudsters to chase.

"They have to determine what enforcement mechanisms they'll employ . how they go about determining who to audit and who not to," George said.



It would appear that the 16,000 additional IRS agents that were/are to be hired wasn't necessarily the stuff of righty blog fever swamps.

The non-partisan GAO (Government Accounting Office) says there are 47 new taxes and regulations to administer in overseeing of ObamaCare. Go the link for the full list but here are just a few of our faves:




3.Imposes a penalty on health plans identified in an annual Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) penalty fee report, which is to be collected by the Financial Management Service after notice by the Department of the Treasury (Treasury)
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To our knowledge, no one yet knows what the acceptable/not-acceptable criteria is.



4.Requires state exchanges to send to Treasury a list of the individuals exempt from having minimum essential coverage, those eligible for the premium assistance tax credit, and those who notified the exchange of change in employer or who ceased coverage of a qualified health plan.


These would be the state exchanges that have not yet been set up. Deadline is October of this year. Any takers?

The people being spoken about here are exempt from ObamaCare because they do not make enough money. However, according to the CBO, there will be approx. 6 million Americans who make too much too qualify for the exemption yet not enough to sign up for health insurance. This group of people will be subjected to the ObamaCare penalty tax.




11. Authorizes IRS to disclose certain taxpayer information to HHS for purposes of determining eligibility for premium tax credit, cost-sharing subsidy, or state programs including Medicaid, including (1) taxpayer identity; (2) the filing status of such taxpayer; (3) the modified adjusted gross income of taxpayer, spouse, or dependents; and (4) tax year of information.


Again, the IRS: all up in your business where they have never been before and disseminating said business to another federal bureaucracy.




22. Imposes a 40 percent excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health insurance coverage on the aggregate value of certain benefits that exceeds the threshold amount.


Companies get wacked for not providing enough healthcare coverage and wacked for providing too much.




44. Imposes a tax of 2.3 percent on the sale price of any taxable medical device on the manufacturer, producer, or importer.


Dem pols in the Boston area who voted for ObamaCare are trying to get this tax thrown out as they are only now figuring out that tax will actually have adverse effects on the medical industry of the Hub City.


Again, go to the link for the entirety of the list.




Exit question: We may try to expand on this later, but can a Republic reach a point where they've got pretty much all their basis covered but since they maintain a full time legislative body that is sent to the nation's capitol to do something, they wind up being far more counter-productive than not?

Medicare Part D, TARP, Porkulus, Dodd-Frank Fin-Reg, Cash for Clunkers and, of course, ObamaCare...


It's worth considering.



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

We're all hawks, now?


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Remember the good ol' days of 4th estate freak outs regarding some tasteless Iraqis-gone-wild photos from the Abu Ghraib prison or Nancy Pelosi claiming she was never briefed about an interrogation technique that involved pouring water on a detainees head? Man, those were the days of speaking truth to power and of holding presidential administrations accountable for their actions.


Maybe all that speaking truth to power and the expenditure of energy for all that righteous indignation tired out everyone because these days, we have a President who has granted himself the power to kill U.S. citizens overseas via drone strikes (he has, in fact, tallied 3 confirmed kills to date) and this country's media is giving us all the impression that they don't care when we know in our heart of hearts they do care... they really do care.


Anyway, here's the freshman senator from Texas, Ted Cruz (R), seemingly having to use teeth pliers to get the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department to admit that wacking U.S. citizens here on U.S. soil is kinda sorta probably not Constitutional, after a memo his department released yesterday suggested otherwise. From the hearing on Capitol Hill earlier today:



From Mediaite (approx. 5 minutes):






“In your legal judgment, does the Constitution allow a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil to be killed by a drone?” Cruz asked Holder pointedly.

“For sitting in a cafĂ© and having a cup of coffee?” Holder replied. Cruz clarified that his hypothetical individual subject to a drone strike did not pose an “imminent and immediate threat of death and bodily harm,” but that person is suspected to be a terrorist.

“I would not think that that would be an appropriate use of any kind of lethal force,” Holder replied.

“With all respect, Gen. Holder, my question wasn’t about appropriateness or prosecutorial discretion. It was a simple legal question,” Cruz clarified.

“This is a hypothetical, but I would not think, that in that situation, the use of a drone or lethal force would not be appropriate,” Holder replied.

“I have to tell you I find it remarkable that in that hypothetical, which is deliberately very simple, you are not able to give a simple, one-word answer: no,” Cruz added. He said he think that his scenario would constitute a “deprivation of life without due process.”

Holder agreed and added that lethal force in Cruz’s case “would not be appropriate.”

“You keep saying appropriate – my question isn’t about propriety,” Cruz goaded. “My question is about whether something is constitutional or not.”

When Cruz was about to abandon his line of questioning after a number of equivocations from Holder, the attorney general clarified that he was saying “no” such actions would not be constitutional.



Cruz is spot-on in not letting Holder off the hook as "not appropriate" and "not Constitutional" are not distinctions without a difference as Holder suggests at the end of the clip.


At some point, because of the efforts of Senate young guns, Rand Paul (who, as of this posting, is still filibustering the nomination proceedings of John Brennan for CIA Director until he gets some more info from the administration regarding the President's drone program) and Cruz, the chattering classes are going to have to pick up on this. Keep up the great work, gents.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Time for a 2nd look at the Voting Rights Act of 1965?



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To riff off of George Will's column this week on a Supreme Court challenge to the Voting Rights Act, progressives who question the relevancy of the Constitution which guarantees certain fundamental rights, are strangely unprogressive about a law whose intent was to correct wrongs specific to time and place. Such is the case with the Votings Right Act of 1965 that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had plagued black voters particularly in the South.

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that will decide the survival of the preclearance provisions of the Act that requires federal oversight of voting practices in 16 states.

By whatever degree it was needed back in the 60s, is such a law that requires federal approval for even the slightest of changes to local voting ordinances still needed in 2013?

Maybe to help answer that question, we should take a look at the rather perverse way the Act has been used lately that would appear to represent the very antithesis of the intent of the law which was to guarantee access to and equality of the franchise.

We've authored 2 specific posts with respect to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The following from back in 2011 represents the first of those two posts:





Federal judge: Blacks need to be told who the Democrats are on the ballot


The plantation mentality is alive and well in the South, after all.



A U.S. District Court judge has rejected a challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — filled when the Department of Justice barred the city of Kinston, N.C. from holding nonpartisan elections — reasoning that lack of access to party affiliation would discriminate against minority voters who otherwise wouldn’t know how to find Democratic candidates on a ballot.

The challenge was initiated after the Justice Department rejected a 2008 referendum vote in which the city of Kinston voted to stop listing candidates’ party affiliations on ballots.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department must approve changes to election law in regions with a history, however distant, of racial discrimination.

The Justice Department prevented the 2008 referendum change, arguing in part that “the elimination of party affiliation on the ballot will likely reduce the ability of blacks to elect candidates of choice.”

Advocates for nonpartisan elections including Republican state representative Stephen LaRoque and several other Kinston residents subsequently sued the Justice Department, challenging the constitutionality of Section 5.





If there is a better example of institutional bigotry with respect to voting rights in this country, we'd like to see it.

The statist desire to see minorities as wards of the state now extends to that of a single political party as well.

The assumptive reasoning behind this is rather absurd as local elections, particularly in smaller towns across the country are absent party affiliation and how does the flip side of this sound?: Republicans will be required to be identified on the ballot so that white voters will be better able to select their candidate of choice.



The Holder Justice Department: enforcing the soft bigotry of low expectations for minorities in America since 2009.






We will re-run the 2nd of the aforementioned posts later this week and which documents probably even greater lunacy in the application of the VRA in local elections.



Saturday, March 2, 2013

Quickies



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A roundup of news items, articles, columns and blog posts that caught our eye this past week.




Here's some more of that Ivy League political diversity we've heard so much about:


The Harvard Crimson published an editorial urging conservatives not to apply to Harvard if they intend to criticize the university down the line for political points.

The editorial, titled “Warning: Do Not Enroll,” denigrates famous conservatives who graduated from Harvard and later sharply — and perhaps hypocritically — complained about the university’s liberal ideology, including former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, and Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly.

“If we could have spoken to these three men, we would have told them never to come to Cambridge,” wrote the staff of the Crimson. “We at The Crimson urge anyone who plans on one day scoring political points by maligning Harvard to neither apply, enroll, nor graduate from this fine institution.”



Do actual critically-thinking smart people go to Harvard, anymore? Given the number the past two or three generations of graduates have done on this country, we believe this to be a legitimate question.






Majority of Americans not down with the Executive branch American-killing drone program:


A new Reason-Rupe poll finds that a majority of Americans think President Obama's targeted killing program, which famously allowed the CIA to assassinate an American-born Muslim cleric living in Yemen as well has his American-born teenage son, to be unconstitutional.

When asked if they thought it was "constitutional or unconstitutional for the president of the United States to order the killing of American citizens who are suspected of being terrorists," 57 percent of respondents said they thought it was unconstitutional, including 65 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents, and 44 percent of Democrats.


We don't think it would be going out on a limb to assume the number to be slightly lower for Republicans and up towards 70-75 percent for Democrats would a certain George W. Bush possessed this power.







In case you forgot, every bit of gun advice Joe Biden gives you will get you arrested:

I said, “Well, you know, my shotgun will do better for you than your AR-15, because you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” Most people can handle a shotgun a hell of a lot better than they can a semiautomatic weapon in terms of both their aim and in terms of their ability to deter people coming.

(italics, ours)

This is known as the Oscar Pistorius method of home defense. How'd that work out for him?


This comes on the heels of him alleging to advise his wife to indiscriminately fire off her shot gun from the balcony should she sense any trouble at their home.

And as for the claim that most people can handle a shotgun a hell of a lot better than they can a semiautomatic weapon...






Again, the degree by which one pushes for stricter gun control is inversely proportional to one's knowledge of guns and gun laws.






From Gawker:

Comedian Brick Stone (real name: Dave Sirus) has made harassing Westboro Baptist Church members his life's mission.





Torn on this one. Not sure how much nobility can be derived from harassing the most universally reviled group of people in this nation's history. Talk about a soft target. They despise gays, they hate the military and if you are reading this, it's a good bet they hate you also. They're going to hell. Let them dance merrily along their way to it.






We suppose that's one way to bend downward the healthcare cost curve: stop paying the doctors.

From Reason.com's Hit and Run blog:


As Peter Suderman noted, the Obama administration is simultaneously pushing for Medicaid expansion and arguing that states should be allowed to reduce reimbursement to providers as a means of controlling costs in the bloated program. This comes even as Medicaid is already struggling to find providers willing to see patients — with low compensation cited as a major reason for the shortage.

The Obama administration's argument for reducing reimbursements for providers who see Medicaid patients was made very succinctly in a California courtroom:

"There is no general mandate under Medicaid to reimburse providers for all or substantially all of their costs."



This is what happens when you insert the state to supplant the realities of the free market. If the state doesn't feel obligated to pay for services they themselves did not provide, it is guaranteed those services will not-so-magically disappear.

Deciding not to pay for stuff is a great way to reduce your expenses — unless you actually need that stuff.







Just a reminder, gang: that conversation you had with that person who said it takes 10-20 years to bring a new oil/natural gas find to market, took place 10-20 years ago.







Nothing has been more illustrative of just how in the tank the 4th estate is for this presidential administration than the violent and reflexive reaction to WaPo's Bob Woodward "regret" dust-up.

It's now a badge of honor to be threatened by an administration you have absolutely zero intention of actually standing up to. So, we can only assume, the threats have been working to chill hard-edged journalism. Perhaps, more a case of battered wife syndrome, though.

One thing we do know: this is the most thin-skinned, whiny and petulant administration of our lifetime... and we're getting old.







Here's B-Daddy of The Liberator Today on sequestration:

Meanwhile, most of the country is going to yawn at the actual effects of sequestration. There will be pockets of pain in cities with a high concentration of defense civilians, and maybe some longer lines at the airport. I think this works to the advantage of those who want to cut spending because the over-reaction to sequestration will be seen as "crying wolf."


We agree and we believe the apocalyptic doom-saying will backfire on the Democrats.

A liberal friend of ours re-tweeted a message from the President claiming cuts to "vital services" would be made if sequestration were allowed to go down. We responded that if a 2% reduction in federal spending meant a cut to vital services then it's a good bet we have far too many "vital services".

Ultimately, the effects of sequestration, on the whole, will be one big fat whatever-burger.





Alright, we've done enough damage for today. Have an awesome Saturday.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Radio KBwD is on the air





This past weekend, we happened to be on the road quite a bit and as football is not in season, we've been getting more and more into our Pandora as we bomb around San Diego and Orange County.



We had been aware of these guys for a few years but did not fully grasp how excellent they were until we built our bluegrass station around them.


Ladies and Gentlemen, from Bethesda, Maryland it's the legendary Seldom Scene performing "Old Train"









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