Monday, September 30, 2013

Uh-oh... looks like Glenn Greenwald has more NSA dirt


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Recall the filibuster executed by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) this past Spring for the ostensible purpose of gaining clarity on the President's drone strike program against U.S. citizens that lacked any real oversight, transparency or due process. Yes, we just wrote that.


Because of this, the President appeared to walk back what he and Attorney General, Eric Holder, claimed was within the authority of the Commander-in-Chief... Of course, we wouldn't wack a U.S. citizen overseas unless he presented a clear and immediate threat


Subsequent to that, in June, journalist Glenn Greenwald with the help of Edward Snowden blew the lid off the NSA domestic spying program.


Well, things are about to get real interesting again as Greenwald with the help of Jeremy Scahill, a contributor to The Nation, are set to expose the details of the NSA's involvement in what they describe as a "US assassination program."









Greenwald adds something else related to surveillance and internet privacy:


Greenwald also praised discussions by some South American governments to find ways to circumvent American control over the Internet.

“But I think it’s also very important to keep in mind that whenever governments, be it the US government or the Brazilian government or anybody else, starts talking about regulating the Internet, even when they tell you it’s designed to protect your privacy from the American government . There is also the danger that the Brazilian government or any other government or international institution will want to simply replace the United States as the entity that is monitoring your communications,” he said.




It does not appear anybody would be clean in any of this, if they were afforded the opportunity, now does it?








Sunday, September 29, 2013

Video clip of the day



Saturday Night Live has long been considered a cultural weather vein in this country though perhaps its influence diminished over the years due to the rise of the internet, blogs and most recently social media (not too mention at-times spotty writing and mediocre casts).


Regardless, against the backdrop of the House of Representatives, at virtually the same time, voting to fund the government to avoid a shutdown while delaying for one year the implementation of ObamaCare, SNL devoted their opening sketch to the roll-out of the President's signature piece of legislation and definitely not in the most positive of lights.




Apologies, embed no workie so please to to YouTube page here




So, what do you think? A cultural shift or not?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tales from Bailout Nation (cont.)



50 years of progressive rule, a $60 billion bailout of of General Motors and Chrysler and the $800 billion 2009 American Recovery Act (aka Porkulus) have brought us to this point:


From Businessweek.com:



With $320 million of federal, state and private aid in hand, top White House officials came to Detroit and vowed to help the bankrupt city fight crime, improve mass transport and eradicate blight.

The money is mostly grants from federal or state programs for which the city is qualified, or for which it needed red tape cut to speed access. Some is expected from private businesses and philanthropy groups. President Barack Obama also has appointed Don Graves deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, to oversee Detroit’s recovery, said Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council.

“We only have one goal, and that is to have all of Detroit working together for one Detroit, with the Obama administration as a key partner,” Sperling said today.


The city, once an auto-manufacturing powerhouse, declared the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy in history on July 18 after years of decline in which its population fell by more than half, to 700,000 from 1.8 million. The city has more than $18 billion in long-term obligations and is plagued by unreliable buses, broken street lights and long waits for police and ambulances.


(italics, ours)


It would appear that Detroit will be "saved" by some other rationale than "too big to fail".


Make no mistake about it: Detroit being the model progressive city ruled for years by a collective of statists and public employee and private labor unions, this administration will throw their political capital and your tax dollars to whatever extent they can, not necessarily to save Detroit but to salvage a failed ideological model.



Did we say public employee unions? Why, yes we did...


Here's Megan McArdle writing for Bloomberg.com:



I’m rarely speechless, but I’m having trouble putting my emotions into words after reading the latest report on the Detroit pension situation. Now, I admit it: I’m kind of na├»ve. Usually when I see an underfunded pension, I think to myself “poor pensioners -- undone by a combination of stupid tax rules, volatile stock markets and mismanagement by trustees who tried to restore depleted fund assets with an investment approach you might call ‘desperate optimism’." Thus, I was not entirely prepared for the new revelations about the Detroit trustees’ custom of handing out annual holiday “bonuses” to workers, retirees and the City of Detroit. Between 1985 and 2008, they handed out roughly $1 billion this way. Had they been invested, one estimate says those funds would be worth almost $2 billion today -- or more than half the current shortfall in the funds.

These “bonuses” were used to lower the contribution the city was required to make, to give retirees a little something extra around Christmas time, and to fund individual savings accounts that workers are offered along with their pensions. In 2009, when the financial markets were completely frozen and the automakers were shotgunning through the bankruptcy courts, the pension trust paid 7.5 percent interest into those accounts -- which is about 7.5 percent more than they would have gotten at a bank. This while the pension funds were busy losing about a quarter of their value.


(italics, ours)


Color us naive, as well. That money that was used to cover the city of Detroit's contribution shortfalls had to come from somewhere, right?


Well, now it looks as if it's coming from yours and our pocketbook. Fancy that.


Remember, this isn't about saving Detroit rather saving face.







Thursday, September 26, 2013

From the comments...



.

We're a little pressed for time but we found these comments on the always excellent Instapundit.com regarding the not-so-new healthcare law and decided to share them here:





If Obamacare were merely an IT project I wouldn’t think twice about it. I would take it in a heartbeat over what Obamacare actually is.

Obamacare is not about the exchanges and I’m stunned that you would say that it is. Obamacare is a five-fold reentrenchment of the insane health care payment system that we have somehow allowed to evolve from its origins as a wretched socialist mistake made in the 1940s by the wretched socialist FDR administration attempting to put price caps on salaries.

Obamacare is a giant leap forward on the path of more bureaucracy, less choice, worse quality, and higher cost. It continues removing decisions from consumers and providers and placing them with third parties. It makes health care decisions even more contingent upon rulings by the IRS (THE IRS!!!) than they already were – and the fact that our health care financing system is largely overseen by our tax collection agency should be absurd on its face, and yet Obamacare doubles down on this absurdity.

If it were all about the exchanges I’d be ECSTATIC. Write the specs then take bids from Amazon and IBM and Raytheon and call it a day. It’d be full of problems but it would work eventually.

What we have instead will never work, even if the exchanges someday do. What we have instead will only serve to make things worse.




And then this:



Glenn, first off, please do not use my name if you choose to mention anything I say in this email.

I work for one of the largest Telecom providers in the country. I’m an engineer who designs dedicated data links (DS3s, OC3s, etc…) for major companies across the US.

For background, some of these circuits can be put up fairly quickly, but not the ones that I work on. The ones I design can take up to 90 business days to install.

Anyways, a few weeks ago, we got deluged with orders for circuits that needed to be installed by October 1st. These were circuits to support Obamacare.

Needless to say, they aren’t going to make that deadline. Some of the circuits are being held up due to construction builds that won’t be complete until the end of November. The others won’t make the deadline due to the complexity and the number of various companies involved.

The customer is basically screaming and escalating but because they requested the orders so late, there isn’t much that can be done.

I can only imagine that this same scenario is playing out with other Telecom companies in the United States.


(italics, ours)


We try to convince ourselves that our minds can't be blown anymore than it already is when confronted with the staggering incompetence of these people but when you combine this unique form and degree of incompetence with somewhat byzantine federal acquisition regulations... well, you get more mind-blowing.



And... "... screaming and escalating..."?


We love "escalating" as a stand-alone verb and will from here on out employ it, hopefully, in context.






Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cruzapalooza!



Some tweeted thoughts from us and others as Ted Cruz (R-TX) is in the middle of his not-quite-a-filibuster for the ostensible purpose of defunding ObamaCare and the related issue of a government shut-down if the President vetoes the spending bill sent to him by Congress.








































And a Wendy Davis reference...




















The hypocrisy is galling. This law is apparently so wonderful, everybody is lining up at the White House (including the very people who wrote the damn thing) to get out from under it.


Yet, precisely because ObamaCare is the man's "signature piece of legislation", there is no way in hell the President is going to sign legislation that defunds this horrible law.












And a thought for the week-kneed out there:








And speaking of which and which also remains one of our biggest "Sliding Doors" what-ifs of the past 20-30 years: what would this country and the GOP be like if it was Jack Kemp at the top of that '96 Presidential ticket instead of the other way around?

We believe he could've won and would've been successful in institutionalizing the Reagan legacy.



Monday, September 23, 2013

Video clip of the day


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Pops Riehm has a saying about things like this and it's: a solution in search of a problem.


With one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and a regulatory regime that has made our fair state the target of business-poaching from the likes of Texas and Arizona, surely the law enforcement agencies of California can find better things to to do than aggressively crack down on the scourge that is unlicensed contractors.


From Reason.tv the answer is apparently "no".


(video approx. 2 minutes long)







Color us guilty as charged as we have participated on numerous occasions in this gray market when it came to house-cleaning, painting and landscaping from both sides of the table and under the table as the case may be and never have we experienced anything untoward or whatever it is the regulatory state is hoping to protect us from.


Word-of-mouth, referrals, reputations and the free market all working together to provide quality work at competitive prices.


Again, to paraphrase Pops, "what's the problem?"



.










Saturday, September 21, 2013

But who is watching the watchers?


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You were warned. It now appears that threat of fraud and identity theft due to fact there is effectively zero background checks for the tens of thousands of “navigators” that will guide citizens through the ObamaCare state-based “exchanges” has become a reality.


Via Heritage:






there are already numerous reports of scam artists posing as Navigators and Assisters to take advantage of people’s confusion about ObamaCare. According to recent news reports, scam artists are calling individuals and asking for information to sign them up for their “ObamaCare card,” are asking seniors for their personal information to verify their Medicare and Social Security status and are going door-to-door threatening people with prison time if they do not sign up on the spot. The Administration is keenly aware of these reports and concerns, but has thus far failed to take appropriate measures.

(italics, ours)


Hold the phone... This alleged inaction was so last week.


Now, far from delaying, exempting, denying, waiving, obfuscating and generally being unwilling to even acknowledge this structural flaw, this problem is so bad the administration has sprung into action by doing what it is what they do best: installing more bureaucracy!


File this under “S**t that should’ve been figured out 4 years ago”:


Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner reports that with less than two weeks until the opening of the ObamaCare exchanges on October 1st, the White House is admitting the security threat is so serious that the Obama administration met late Wednesday to launch a new anti-fraud bureaucracy that will be charged with handling consumer complaints and educating Americans about the possible ObamaCare fraud and scams.

“Today we are sending a clear message that we will not tolerate anyone seeking to defraud consumers in the Health Insurance Marketplace,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said after the meeting. “We have strong security safeguards in the marketplace to protect people’s personal information against fraud and we will work with our partners to aggressively prosecute bad actors, just as we have been doing in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”


(italics, ours)


So, which is it? If there are strong safeguards already in place then why the need for yet another sprawling bureaucracy?


Chalk this up to bureaucracy-speak for not wanting to cause wide-spread panic but sowing just enough discontent to justify your actions.


And what of this new bureaucracy? In order to combat this fraud and identity theft, won’t it need access to the same information that the other bureaucrats at the exchanges are abusing? What vetting will there be for the new bureaucrats who will be watching the old bureaucrats? Of course, no details with respect to that are given.


This administration had 3-1/2 years to put safeguards and background checking mechanisms into place for the navigators and only now they are going to slap something together in a matter of months (?) to combat one of the most basic of modern-day issues?


There is no other way to describe this than pure lunacy. How can it be any other way?









Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What we and others have been tweeting







The Syria fallout, the perception that it took Vlad Putin to rescue the President's bacon and our reduced standing in the world...
























And speaking of the extremists that are apparently running the Republican party...













Think about it: no one really gives this much thought or concern anymore. Obama has simply doubled down on every single dubious Bush program that was established for the ostensible purpose of combating terror and now it's just a ho-hum fact of life... but it's the tea partiers that are the wackos.





We will be asking the following on a regular basis:









Another red-zone fumble on Sunday for our Chargers' lead tailback...







The Chargers moved up to get this guy in the first round of the 2010 draft to be LaDanian Tomlinson's replacement. Going into his 4th year, he has busted off but one 30+ yarder... for his entire career. No explosiveness, no home run-hitting ability... all he does is fumble and get injured. Time to cut bait and move on.






As career shipbuilders, we found this tres cool:










That Putin Op-ed in the New York Times was something, huh?















Progressive family values:








When you lose the Washington Post...










For a straight news article it was about as cutting a take-down as we have read in quite some time.



Related:









Another question we will continue to ask:











You saw what happened there, didn't you. A few years back, the President said something along the lines of "Americans see themselves 'exceptional' just as Greeks see themselves as 'exceptional'" demonstrating he has no idea what the concept meant Then, in his speech last Tuesday, he used "American exceptionalism" as a justification for intervening kinda sorta in Syria. Weird, we know.


Fortunately, the President had some proxy defenders against that big meany Vlad Putin who referenced the term in his Op-Ed:








The Washington Navy Yard shooting... damn...









And in case anyone was wondering where our loyalties lay...









And then he goes and does something like this:















Why does he make it so hard?






Interesting choice of words to describe what's happening all over the country in response to having to comply with ObamaCare:















OK, gang, that's it for now. Ciao!



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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

While we were away....






Our little min-blogging vacation over the weekend did not stop the bad news from rolling in with respect to the “new” federal healthcare law aka ObamaCare that will kick in starting October 1st.



First, the law continues to poll badly even while having many of the favorable benefits of the law front-loaded.



This unpopularity and the um, uneven, roll-out of the law, however is somehow the fault of the GOP.




Doctor rationing to begin in California:

The doctor can't see you now.

Consumers may hear that a lot more often after getting health insurance under President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
To hold down premiums, major insurers in California have sharply limited the number of doctors and hospitals available to patients in the state's new health insurance market opening Oct. 1.
New data reveal the extent of those cuts in California, a crucial test bed for the federal healthcare law.




Healthcare Company to Lay Off Over 100 Because of Obamacare:

A Georgia health care company will lay off over 100 employees due in part to Obamacare, according to a WSB-TV report:

"We have confirmed more than 100 Emory health care employees are going to lose their jobs in part because of the Affordable (health) Care Act," said a local anchor.

"I think it's bad it's affordable health care and people are losing their jobs," said a man interviewed by the reporter.

"It's sad. It really is," said another man. "A lot of people are going to lose their homes and cars and everything they worked all their life for."






Progressive darling Trader Joe’s to eliminate health care plans for part-time employees:

After extending health care coverage to many of its part-time employees for years, Trader Joe’s has told workers who log fewer than 30 hours a week that they will need to find insurance on the Obamacare exchanges next year, according to a confidential memo from the grocer’s chief executive.

In the memo to staff dated Aug. 30, Trader Joe’s CEO Dan Bane said the company will cut part-timers a check for $500 in January and help guide them toward finding a new plan under the Affordable Care Act. The company will continue to offer health coverage to workers who carry 30 hours or more on average.





Mickey Ds looking to get out from under ObamaCare’s onerous regulations:


Franchise restaurant owners have come to Washington seeking a change to ObamaCare that they say could prevent them from having to cut their employees’ hours.

The healthcare law requires large employers to provide insurance to employees who work at least 30 hours per week.

Franchise owners say the employer mandate threatens to erase their narrow profit margins and are telling lawmakers they need to overhaul the law before it’s too late.

“Employees won’t have the hours they need, and they won’t get employer-sponsored healthcare, either,” said Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association (IFA).

“[Franchisees] are dealing with high commodity costs, high energy prices, higher taxes from the ‘fiscal-cliff’ deal, and now they are trying to work through ObamaCare,” he said.

More than 300 members of the franchise association are making the rounds on Capitol Hill to lobby for the ObamaCare changes. Monday’s visitors included IFA members from Mr. Rooter, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts.






So, if Congress and Big Business are getting breaks from the law, why not the fast food sector? After all, now that health care in this country has been sufficiently politicized, the law will not be about “care” rather picking winners and losers.

The amount of lobbying being done on Capitol Hill by entities looking to get away from this law should tell you everything you need to know about it.





Finally, the President's BFF, Warren Buffett says it's time to scrap the law and start over and we whole-heartedly agree:


"Healthcare costs in the United States are like a tapeworm eating at our economic body.

"Those words come from famed investor Warren Buffett, who said he would scrap Obamacare and start all over.

"'We have a health system that, in terms of costs, is really out of control,' he added. 'And if you take this line and you project what has been happening into the future, we will get less and less competitive. So we need something else.'

"Buffett insists that without changes to Obamacare average citizens will suffer.

"'What we have now is untenable over time,' said Buffett, an early supporter of President Obama. 'That kind of a cost compared to the rest of the world is really like a tapeworm eating, you know, at our economic body.'

"Buffett does not believe that providing insurance for everyone is the first step to take in correcting our nation's healthcare system.

"'Attack the costs first, and then worry about expanding coverage,' he said. 'I would much rather see another plan that really attacks costs. And I think that's what the American public wants to see. I mean, the American public is not behind this bill.'"




This common sense approach to overhauling our healthcare system is precisely why it doesn't stand an ice cube's chance in hell in Washington D.C.










Video clip of the day



Sarah Silverman and some comedian friends of her put together a mocking video touting the formation of a fictional "Black NRA", portions of which you will see in the video below.


AlphoZo Rachel and some buddies of his own put together a devastating critique of the motives and intent behind Silverman's video and the larger issue of how liberals view race with their attempts to keep minorities and particularly blacks from wandering off the reservation.



(video approx 4-1/2 minutes long)








Precisely because of what was said above, we don't think we have any greater respect for a group of people than gay and black conservatives.



Exit question: when does pandering, parochialism and paternalism as practiced by America's left start blurring into bigotry and perhaps even racism?


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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Senate getting into the definition business





Citing a bogus need to protect journalists, a Senate panel starts down a dangerous path with respect to a free press and free speech.



From the Associated Press:


A Senate panel on Thursday approved a measure defining a journalist, which had been an obstacle to broader media shield legislation designed to protect reporters and the news media from having to reveal their sources.

The Judiciary Committee's action cleared the way for approval of legislation prompted by the disclosure earlier this year that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed almost two months of telephone records for 21 phone lines used by reporters and editors for The Associated Press and secretly used a warrant to obtain some emails of a Fox News journalist. The subpoenas grew out of investigations into leaks of classified information to the news organizations.

The AP received no advance warning of the subpoena.

The vote was 13-5 for a compromise defining a "covered journalist" as an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. The individual would have been employed for one year within the last 20 or three months within the last five years.


The committee later approved the overall bill on a 13-5 vote.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a chief proponent of the medial shield legislation, worked with Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., as well as representatives from news organizations, on the compromise.

The bill would protect reporters and news media organizations from being required to reveal the identities of confidential sources, but it does not grant an absolute privilege for journalists.



Everybody else... forget about it.




Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., complained that the definition of a journalist was too broad. Pushing back, Feinstein said the intent was to set up a test to determine a bona fide journalist.

"I think journalism has a certain tradecraft. It's a profession. I recognize that everyone can think they're a journalist," Feinstein said.





But Di-Fi and the rest of our betters will figure that out for the rest of us. Don't you worry.


If you are thinking like we are, we don't particularly feel comfortable with that pack of jackals in the Senate defining who is and is not a journalist, particularly if it comes down to what Schumer, Durbin and Feinstein think.


Now, one would think that news organizations as 4th estate pillars would be speaking out against this curtailment of free speech but that's not how things work in the rent-seeking culture of Washington D.C. Let's just say that if you are not at the table then you are on the menu and any chance outfits like Associated Press and Rueters can curry most-favored status from Congress they are going to jump at that opportunity.


And we have said this before as well: this isn't about protecting whatever arbitrary definition of "journalist" the Senate comes up with, this is all about control. Senate Democrats acting on the cue from their boss aren't concerned with transparency and responsible governance. Picking winners and losers with respect to who is and is not a "journalist", creating a caste system, if you will, makes it that much easier to control the messaging coming out of Washington D.C.


Pesky websites like HotAir or Instapundit can then be marginalized or worse yet, be acted against once we start travelling down this road of who does and doesn't deserve protection under the 1st amendment.


This is a horrible piece of legislation that if it does get out of Senate will die in the House and which is another reminder of how critical it is for the (R)s to hold said House in 2014.






Monday, September 9, 2013

Some Syria stuff





We just got back from Vegas and for better or worse we were able to stay connected with the rest of the world and particularly with the latest Syria developments primarily via Twitter.


We've been rather unsparing of our criticism of the relative silence of the liberal-left with respect to a potential military intervention into Syria and though some of the usual suspects like Code Pink for all their odiousness are at least consistent in their anti-war stance, so good for them.


Having said that, hello, there, Hollywood!


John Ekdahl, writing for BuzzFeed has a tremendous piece on 14 principled celebrities that have put it on mute of late concerning Syria while they were in full-throat opposition when ol' you-know-who was in office 10 years ago.


We figure alien abduction, right? These folks were just so strident, earnest and so full of human compassion in making the case against the Iraq War that being spirited off by E.T. could be the only rational explanation.



Fortunately, Ed Asner has his own reason for going AWOL and though we don’t know if he’s speaking just for himself, this isn’t our first time at the rodeo so his explanation may cover quite a few other folks as well.



Liberals in Hollywood are not speaking out against President Barack Obama's call for military strikes against the Syrian government because they fear being called racists, veteran actor Ed Asner says.

"A lot of people don't want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama," Asner told The Hollywood Reporter.



Ehhh... We'd always suspected it but this just confirms that for the liberal-left in this country everything is viewed through the prism of racial-identity politics. And everything, including one's integrity and credibility (whatever true amounts of it celebrity-ville possesses) will be sacrificed at the altar of racial-identity politics.


If this is indeed the reasoning for this deafening silence, we suppose we still do have a race problem in this country.


It bears repeating then that going to war because of the hew of the Commander-in-Chief’s skin is the weakest of weak sauce and we've had nothing but for the past two weeks.





And just today, lying, disgruntled Vietnam War vet and current Secretary of State, John Kerry, who has been as incoherent on making the case for war as humanly possible may have actually gaffed his way into throwing his boss a life-line and extricating him from this whole mess when he appeared to be open to backing off military action in exchange for Syria handing over all their chemical weapons and opening up the vaults for U.N. inspectors. But did he really?


The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday said it welcomed a Russian proposal to avert U.S. military strikes by having Damascus turn over control of its chemical weapons to international monitors.

The statement by Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in Moscow offered the first indication that a diplomatic solution may be possible to the international standoff that has evolved since apparent chemical weapons attacks on rebel-held suburbs outside Damascus on August 21…

Moualem said Syria “welcomes the Russian initiative,” but did not say whether his country would agree to what Russia was asking. “We also welcome the wisdom of the Russian leadership, which is trying to prevent American aggression against our people,” Moulaem said.

Hours earlier, in London, Secretary of State John F. Kerry sketched out a similar transfer-of-control scenario, then dismissed it, after being asked by a reporter whether there was anything that Assad could do to avoid an attack. “Sure, he could turn over every bit of his weapons to the international community within the next week, without delay,” Kerry said. “But he isn’t about to.”


(italics, ours)

Even Kerry seems to be skeptical of this too-good-to-be-true proposal.



An agreement broached by the Russians that would entail a meaningless inspection regime (explain to us the logistics of inspecting in the middle of a civil war) in return for having to do absolutely nothing when the President indeed promised the country we would do our best to do next to nothing.


Our advise to the President on exchanging one meaningless gesture for another: Take it, Preezy, take it!



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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Video clip of the day



We'll defer to B-Daddy but we don't think any interviews with Admiral Hyman Rickover (the father of the U.S. nuclear Navy) which was a condition to entering the Navy nuke program and which were infamous for some of the bizarre line of questioning ever approached this level of "Holy Crap!"


From somewhere in South America:


(h/t: HotAir)







Programming note: We'll be in Vegas starting tomorrow and will return on Monday. We will try to blog as time and gambling on football and the ponies allow.


Ciao.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What we and others have been tweeting...





... regarding this whole sorry-ass Syria mess.


We want to start off by saying we are not reflexively opposed to military intervention in Syria. Assad is a bad dude and anything we can do to reduce the planet's population of bad dudes, we are generally in favor of.


The trick however with Syria is the people who want to topple Assad contain among them also bad dudes... very, very bad dudes of the Islamist variety. Perhaps you have heard of them. While there are certainly secular liberals in the rebel ranks, their saner, rational approach to things gets rather overwhelmed in, literally, the heat of battle. Blood-thirsty jihadists tend to have that effect on people.


We appear, then, not to have learned anything from our involvement in either Libya and Egypt that are in varying degrees of chaos at the moment precisely because the "good guys" of the rebel movement didn't have the juice to influence things to more peaceful and democratic ends.


Hence:









Now, as recently as this past Friday evening, the President was prepared to go it alone and by alone we mean with France. Word around the campfire has it that the President had a change of heart after British Parliament's stinging rebuke to PM David Cameron's support of the war on Thursday ending any hope of help in this endeavor from our closest ally.



Obama informed congressional leaders late Friday/early Saturday that he would seek Congressional approval before doing anything in Syria. And unlike delays he applies to laws that he himself wanted to see passed, he and the Veep promptly hit the links.










David Cameron was tres bummed and tweeted that he understood Obama's position on Syria. We were left wondering, however:







What the President has wanted to do from a brass tacks details standpoint has to this very moment not been revealed.



Of course, some people were wondering why Congress was waiting for the President to call them back to session to grant him authorization for doing something military-like in Syria.













Secretary of State, John Kerry went on the Sunday talkies to try to convince a skeptical electorate of the righteousness of the cause and kind of made a mess of things:

















No one, however, seemed to be very impressed with the President's sudden change of heart to go to Congress:





















At least, the President had some bi-partisan support. Unfortunately, for him, it was this bi-partisan support:











Yesterday, Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel went to the Hill for a hearing in order to gin up support for the war effort and failed miserably.




























Complete incoherency.











Such was the randomness and non-sensicalness of the reasons Hagel and Kerry were throwing out there as justifications for going to war in Syria it started resembling Cards Against The World:















Ahd while we heard one thing, others in our trusted MSM we heard another:










This morning the meme for those itching for war was that it was the patriotic thing to do. No lie:















And over in Europe earlier today, the President had the cajones to try to distance himself from the "red line" comment he had made last August:














Yeah, blame everybody else but yourself:











And look how far progressive ideology has come in just a few years. Forward!








At the end of the day, gang, remember this:









We're out of here!







Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Group of people in favor of law wondering why they are being subjected to that law.



In an all too familiar refrain, another set of people have come forward to seek relief from the federal health care law they formerly championed: Big Labor.


From Breitbart.com:



In what is being reported as a surprise move, the 40,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they have formally ended their association with the AFL-CIO, one of the nation's largest private sector unions. The Longshoremen citied Obamacare and immigration reform as two important causes of their disaffiliation.

In an August 29 letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, ILWU President Robert McEllrath cited quite a list of grievances as reasons for the dissolution of their affiliation, but prominent among them was the AFL-CIO's support of Obamare.

"We feel the Federation has done a great disservice to the labor movement and all working people by going along to get along," McEllrath wrote in the letter to Trumka.

The ILWU President made it clear they are for a single-payer, nationalized healthcare policy and are upset with the AFL-CIO for going along with Obama on the confiscatory tax on their "Cadillac" healthcare plan.

The Longshoreman leader said, "President Obama ran on a platform that he would not tax medical plans and at the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention, you stated that labor would not stand for a tax on our benefits." But, regardless of that promise, the President has pushed for just such a tax and Trumka and the AFL-CIO bowed to political pressure lining up behind Obama's tax on those plans.




That sound you are hearing right now is us playing "Our heart bleeds for you" on the world's smallest violin.


When did McEllrath get the memo on the tax on his union's "Cadillac" health plan? It's not like it was snuck in there at the last moment. It's been a prominent feature of the legislation since they started negotiating bribing their way to get it passed and now it's become an issue? (We've been blogging about that aspect of the law for years)


We can only surmise, then, that McEllrath just assumed that because the "Cadillac" tax was the law he was going to be exempted from the law in a similar manner as Congress has been exempted from the law or at least get a one-year delay of the tax similar to how Big Business received a one-year delay on the employer mandate.

Well, no such luck, Mac and now watch him take his ball and go home.



For his part, Trumka concedes that mistakes were made in the crafting of the 2,200 page monstrosity.


From Townhall.com



“It still needs to be tweaked,” said Trumka, who pointed to the possibility that union members will lose their health insurance because of the inability of some union plans to qualify for federal tax subsidies.

“ObamaCare is a major step in the right direction but yeah, I said, we made some mistakes,” Trumka told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

“We have been working with the administration to find solutions to the inadvertent holes in the act,” Trumka said. “We are working to try solve problems, just like they tried to solve problems with employers, with large business and small business groups.”


(italics, ours)


This is more from that non-existent clause in the Constitution "consults with businesses" where the President arbitrarily decides which parts of the law apply to whom and Big Labor is freaked out they may not qualify as Preezy's BFF any longer and may be forced to deal with the wretchedness of a law they got behind with full force.


Everything from the economy, energy policy and now his signature piece of legislation has been reduced to picking winners and loser by this administration.


Running a constitutional republic in a random, un-transparent and cronyistic manner is no way to go through life, son.





Monday, September 2, 2013

A civil rights struggle you may not have heard about





Proof positive that the end game for the statist-left isn't merely "equality" nor "equal access" rather equality and equal access to the same crappy status quo.


This country's Justice Department is at it again in attempting to keep children from escaping a failing public education system:





The Justice Department is trying to stop a school vouchers program in Louisiana that attempts to help families send their children to independent schools instead of under-performing public schools.

The agency wants to stop the program, led by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, in any school district that remains under a desegregation court order.

In papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, the agency said Louisiana distributed vouchers in 2012-13 to roughly 570 public school students in districts that are still under such orders and that "many of those vouchers impeded the desegregation process."

The federal government argues that allowing students to attend independent schools under the voucher system could create a racial imbalance in public school systems protected by desegregation orders.




You see, it's all about a social normative rather than parents fighting for a good education for their children. Fine-tuning fully arbitrary racial balances trumps the welfare of the children of Louisiana.


Governor Jindal called school choice a "moral imperative" and he is exactly right. We somehow manage to affix the label of "civil rights" to everything under the sun: from housing to healthcare to, yes, even public education. Yet, somehow, the struggle for black parents to afford their children a decent education away from the failed system by their own choice is not worthy this honor.


This irony may or may not be lost on this nation's political class. Frankly, we don't care. That they have formed an unholy alliance with the teachers' union to block educational opportunities for the less-well-off in our country is the only thing that matters to us.


It's readily apparent that Eric Holder, the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department, is using civil rights era legislation to create a perpetual grievance industry where the educational opportunities of minority children are sacrificed at the altar of "racial imbalances." Again, irony overload.


For the sane among us, it's always 5 o'clock somewhere and for the statist among us that views everything through a racial prism, it's always 1955 everywhere.




h/t: Powerline