Friday, November 29, 2013

Video clip of the day


It may not technically still be Thanksgiving but it's still Thanksgiving weekend and that is certainly good enough for us.

An oldie but a goodie from the fine folks at on Thanksgiving and property rights!:

(video approx. 2-1/2 min. long)

Here's Pilgrim head honcho, William Bradford, breaking down the problem:

"Yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and service did repine that they should spend their time and streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompense....

And for men's wives to be commanded to doe service for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brooke it."

Wow. Who knew that collectivism and sexism went so well together?

Here's to everyone continuing to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers and the rest of the weekend.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Your California high-speed choo-choo update


In two separate rulings on Monday, the same judge dealt potential death blows to California's beleaguered boondoggle, the largest public works project in American history, California high-speed rail.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

A Sacramento judge on Monday tore up California's funding plans for its bullet train project in separate orders that could force the state to spend months or years redrawing its plans for the $68 billion rail line.

Judge Michael Kenny rejected a request from the California High-Speed Rail Authority to sell $8 billion of the $10 billion in bonds approved by voters in 2008, saying there was no evidence it was "necessary and desirable" to start selling the bonds when a committee of state officials met last March.

He said the committee was supposed to act as "the ultimate 'keeper of the checkbook'" for taxpayers, but instead relied on a request from the high-speed rail authority to start selling bonds as sufficient evidence to proceed.

In a separate lawsuit, Kenny ordered the rail authority to redo its $68 billion funding plan before continuing construction, a process that could take months or years. He had previously ruled that the authority abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of the law. The judge said the state failed to identify "sources of funds that were more than merely theoretically possible."

Judge Kenney ruled that the Rail Authority in having completed environmental clearances for only 28 miles in the Central Valley violated the terms of Prop. 1A (the approved proposition of 2008 that got the wheels moving in this whole sorry mess) that required all the environmental clearances be in place as well as specifying the sources of funding for the first operable segment of the high speed line.

They've had about 5 years to secure clearances for the first 28 miles of track. It doesn't take a math major to extrapolate the lengthy time frame it's going to take to secure the rest of the clearances for the distance between LA and San Francisco.

Back to the article:

Still, Kenny stopped short of blocking the project altogether, and rail authority officials characterized Monday's rulings as a setback rather than a fatal blow.

"Like all transformative projects, we understand that there will be many challenges that will be addressed as we go forward in building the nation's first high-speed rail system," authority board Chairman Dan Richard said in a written statement.

This may not be a death blow but these two rulings definitely put high-speed choos on the ropes. And there may not ever be a death blow, per se, rather death by a million cuts.

We already know that the official estimate of $68 billion was accomplished in disingenuous fashion by Governor Brown’s people, slashing the electrical infrastructure and the actual choo-choos from the project (another violation of Prop. 1A). What happens when that bit of budgetary chicanery is made fully public? What then? Where will the money come from to finish the job?

And what of the other suits that are still pending? And remember, the environmental and logistical delays being experienced already by this project are occurring on what should be the easy part of this. It’s the flat, relatively sparsely populated Central Vally not the Tehachapi Mountains nor the congested Bay Area or L.A. Basin.

Brown’s in-state allies and the statist acolytes both in California and across this country are playing a waiting game and hoping to establish just enough forward momentum and progress that the project becomes terminal and can no longer be walked away from regardless of the absolute financial black hole it becomes… and it will.

Short of a radical re-structuring of the current one-party rule that currently exists in California, count on Cali’s high-speed choo-choos to be far and away the most disastrous public works program this country has ever seen. In a sense, it already is.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tales from Green Nation


Fisker: the Solyndra with wheels

Fisker had secured $192 million in tax-payer dollars to build hybrid sedans here in Delaware Finland at $50,000-$60,000 a copy. Unfortunately, no one wants hybrids that cheap, so Fisker went from manufacturing high-end sedans to truly luxury sedans at $110,000 per model.

Given this outstanding business model it should come as no surprise that in 2012 Fisker sold an estimated 900 cars as the Feds moved in to seize assets in this all but closed company.

But there is some good news. The feds have found a buyer. The bad news is that the tax-payer will once again take a bath on yet again another failed DOE green loan venture whose only apparent intent was to line the pockets of this administration’s politically connected.

(Previous posts on this epic boondoggle upon which we have blogged extensively can be found here)

From The Daily Caller:

The Energy Department has sold off its $192 million loan guarantee to Fisker Automotive to Chinese billionaire Richard Li for $25 million — the biggest taxpayer loss on a green loan since the failure of Solyndra.

The Energy Department will announce the “selling of the promissory note” to Hybrid Tech, which is owned by Chinese billionaire Richard Li, according to sources familiar with the sale. The DOE sold the loan to Li for $25 million after lending the financially troubled green automaker a total of $192 million since 2009.

A Chinese billionaire? We were previously unaware that Communists allowed such a species to exist. We’re sure there is nothing fishy going on there.

We’re not opposed to green energy. What we're opposed to is throwing away $167 million at a cronyisitc green scheme that never had a chance of surviving.

Mr. President, we know you will never get the clue that picking winners and losers is no way to run an economy so we’ll just have to wait for term limits to effectively achieve the same goal.

* Perhaps the quintessential image of the Fisker Karma: Being towed off the track after breaking down shortly into Consumer Reports test drive of the car. On the bed of that truck, the Karma achieves the greenie dream of a zero emissions vehicle lumbering down the highway on a flatbed at 50 mph.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Insert nail-in-the-coffin joke here

(We're a little late to the party on this one but you will understand after reading the below why it is worthy of reporting out on)

A story we have been following for over 3 years appears to have finally reached a happy and just conclusion.

The good monks of Saint Joseph Abbey of Covington, LA, had been making simple un-adorned caskets as a means of income for the Abbey for over 100 years. The monks ability to make and sell these caskets didn't sit well with state agency that regulates such matters (You would not be surprised to learn that embalmers and funeral directors make up 8 of the 9 members of the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors) and as a result the monks were given a cease and desist order by the Board regarding the Abbey's hand-crafted caskets as they were unlicensed... and cheaper than the government-approved caskets of Big Funeral.

The monks turned around and sued the Board 5 years ago under the 14th amendment which prohibits states from, "depriv(ing) any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law."

Back in April, the federal judge hearing the case found the Louisiana state law by which the monks were being mandated to be unconstitutional. The court ruled that the Louisiana licensing law represented economic favortism in its effective barring of competition in that particular marketplace and that the law did not serve the greater interest of the citizens of Louisiana.

This was a classic case of regulatory capture where the moneyed interests of Big Funeral used the regulatory regime to eliminate competition and thus prop-up their expensive our-caskets-only business model.

However, Big Funeral did not go gently into the good night and instead appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supremes refused to hear the case letting the lower court decision stand.

Here's one of the monks commenting on the entire affair:

"I was hesitant at the beginning to file the lawsuit. But it's the best thing that could have happened to our business," Abbot Justin Brown of St Joseph Abbey told the Los Angeles Times.

"We had all this excellent publicity, and now we are selling more caskets than we had ever expected. I think a lot of people heard about our case against the funeral directors and decided to buy one of our caskets."

However small our part was, we have been more than happy to give this important case free publicity.

No god-awful nail-in-the-coffin jokes here, just a simple case closed on a battle and huge victory for free markets.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Possibly a bigger mess than we realize

Simply mind-blowing.

Cory Gardner (R-CO) in a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing is questioning Henry Chao, the Deputy Chief Information Officer and Deputy Director of the Office of Information Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Feel free to skip ahead to the 2:40 mark for the exchange between the two on the readiness of, the federal online exchange whereby one, in theory, can purchase healthcare coverage.

Chao estimates that is still 60-70% incomplete before amending that to state that is 100% complete and that it’s the entire Obamacare infrastructure/system that is still 60-70% away from being complete.

As Chao states at 4:10, this includes the payment system.

Uhhhh…. If you wish to be covered by New Year’s under ObamaCare, first payment is due December 15th… not even 4 weeks from now.

The last minute or so of the clip Gardner questions Chao about testing the system while it’s still being built. Suffice to say, if we answered that line of questioning from our boss or our customer in the manner that Chao did, we would be without a job.

Let’s give Chao the total benefit of doubt (and since we don’t feel like doing any mathematical heavy lifting) and grant the entirety of the ObamaCare system for being 50% complete. A sure-to-be-glitch-ridden system without proper built-in security protocols will be “completed” in November 2016.

Ya like apples?

Totally related: Prosecute the feds under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act for false advertising and failure to establish adequate security protocals.

Money quote:

“The bottom line is that no private entity would be allowed to get away with what the Obama administration is trying to get away with.”

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cause... Effect?


An Associated Press investigation that was reported out on earlier this week absolutely hammers the practice of corn-based ethanol (aka the worst alternative energy idea ever) as fuel for being environmentally counterproductive and not the return on investment financially the those in Big Corn say it is.

How bad is it for Big Corn? Here’s the lese from the AP’s expose’:

The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America's push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply.

Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine.

Naaah. We made up that last part but couldn’t resist the similar apocalyptic yet myth-making prose of Grantland Rice.

So, consider our surprise then when the administration that is absolutely addicted to horrible alternative energy implementation ideas said that via the EPA, they were scaling back ethanol production mandates.

Also from the AP:

The Obama administration on Friday proposed to reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply for the first time, acknowledging that the biofuel law championed by both parties in 2007 is not working as well as expected.

While the proposal highlights the government's struggle to ramp up production of homegrown biofuel s that are cleaner-burning than gasoline, it is unlikely to mean much for consumers at the pump.

The change would reduce by almost 3 billion gallons the amounts of ethanol and other biofuels blended into gasoline in 2014 than the law requires.

The 2007 law tried to address global warming, reduce dependence on foreign oil and prop up the rural economy by requiring oil companies to blend billions of gallons of biofuels into their gasoline each year. But politicians who wrote the law didn't anticipate fuel economy to improve as much as it has in recent years, which reduced demand for gasoline.

How bad is it for Big Corn that this administration may be finally acknowledging reality? That reality being even without ethanol we have become increasingly less dependent upon foreign oil. (We need to find the link but a widely reported study has this country being energy independent by 2025. In case you were wondering, this is a good thing.)

Reality being that many oil and natural gas reserves we are now tapping into in the Dakotas, western Pennsylvania and upstate New York are in the very rural areas ethanol purports to help. Reality being that, prima facie, burning food to run your Prius makes absolutely zero sense.

We applaud the administration for acknowledging these realities that we have been hammering away on for years.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The "fix" is in


We'll try to dial up video of the President's ObamaCare "fix" press conference but following it live via Twitter we can't help but feel it had to be a surreal scene. Amid tanking approval numbers, a failed website and hugely disappointing ObamaCare sign-up numbers, the President offered up a fix by which the millions of people that were kicked out of their healthcare plans in the individual markets could get them back given the acceptability of the plan as determined by state insurance commissions. There's huge problems with that which we'll get to later but first the news.

From the Washington Times:

President Obama said Thursday that what's good for illegal immigrants is also good for people who are losing their health insurance because of Obamacare, saying he'll use prosecutorial discretion to let companies continue to offer health plans that violate his law.

It's the latest example of the White House trying to work around Congress and instead take action on its own, and in this case it comes as Mr. Obama seeks to stop a wholesale abandonment of his health law by Democrats who have watched the rocky rollout.

"We put a grandfather clause into the law, but it was insufficient," the president said at the White House as he announced the new loophole he has created.

Under the new loophole, Mr. Obama will leave it up to state health insurance commissioners to decide which sub-standard plans can still be offered by insurance companies, and he has pledged that his administration won't penalize them for still offering those plans even though they violate the Affordable Care Act. The extension will last only one year.

This is unreal. It is not known what, if any, guidance will be given to the insurance commissioners in determining which unlawful health care plan will be deemed defacto lawful. And it is duly noted that just a couple of weeks ago the water-carriers in the state-controlled media were telling all us rubes that we ought to have been thankful that such a far-sighted and benevolent law was saving us from our "sub-standard" plan. Two weeks on, the President walks back his broken promise and essentially says you might be lucky enough to get that sub-standard plan back if state insurance commissioners deem it not too "sub-standard".

Back to the article:

Republicans were skeptical the administration had the authority to grant exceptions to the law, and they argue the only solution is to change the law through legislation. House Republicans have a bill set for floor action Friday that would do that.

"I am highly skeptical that they can do this administratively. I just don't see within the law their ability to do that," House Speaker John A. Boehner said.

But briefing reporters ahead of time, an administration official said they believe they do have authority to suspend enforcement for a year.

"HHS will be using its enforcement discretion to allow for this transition," the official said. "Enforcement discretion can be used generally in transitions, as well as a bridge towards legislation. This is something that has been used, for example, with the deferred action for childhood arrivals policy, pending immigration reform."

We think the reason why "enforcement discretion" is not in the Constitution is that it prevents chief executives of the government from further bunging up already horrible legislation. Borne of sort of a "get the damn thing right the first time" mentality. Oh, and also because "enforcement discretion" is a hallmark of a dictatorial regime. So there's that also.

One more time to the article:

"It is true that the chief executive has some room to decide how strongly to enforce a law, and the timing of enforcement. But here, Obama is apparently suspending the enforcement of a law for a year - simply to head off actual legislation not to his liking," said Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law, in a blog post at Volokh Conspiracy.

"The 'fix' amounts to new legislation - but enacted without Congress," Mr. Kontorovich argued. "The president has no constitutional authority to rewrite statutes, especially in ways that impose new obligations on people, and that is what the fix seems to entail."

This is really no different when, by executive fiat, he delayed the employer mandate for one year and delayed by one year also the income verification (subsidy qualification) portion of ObamaCare.

But going back to the you-might-get-back-that-old-health-care-plan-you-like "fix". It fixes nothing rather creates more uncertainty and thus more havoc at the state level. It makes ObamaCare even more financially unsustainable because those new "better" plans people were being forced into were also more expensive because people were going to be paying premiums for coverage they neither wanted nor needed. The whole house of cards absolutely depends upon people paying for stuff they won't use to subsidize the sick and/or elderly who will use it.

So, to offset this, the sick and elderly and those with pre-existing conditions will be paying more in premiums and deductibles… the very people ObamaCare was supposed to help will more quickly be getting the shaft by this “fix”.

The healthcare market becomes even more muddled as many healthcare insurance companies have left the individual marketplace. Aetna and United Health here in California have done so. Then what?

It appears that some states aren’t waiting for the answer and are already refusing to grant this fix wish. We swear that within minutes of the President concluding his press conference, state insurance commissions were lining up to say they weren’t going to play ball with further hosing up their respective state's individual healthcare market.

What a freaking mess. Some more tweetage to wrap up things:

To our liberal friends: turn that frown upsdide-down. You didn't know it but because of today and the incompetence of this administration, you are one step closer to your dream:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Even after Hugo Chavez...


...Venezuela is still Venezuela.

It’s Economics 101 that even a good American liberal would understand: price caps/controls cause shortages.

Hugo Chavez’s successor, President Nicolas Madura did not receive this memo and in an attempt to rein-in his country’s run-away inflation as well as keep the soup kitchen socialism of his predecessor alive, Maduro has, literally, sent in the troop to do the will of the people or something.

And when we say price controls cause shortages, these Venezuelans take it to a whole another level.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is extending price controls and will place limits on profits as he extends attempts to curb the galloping inflation that is eroding support for his rule.

Maduro made the announcement in a late-night television address Sunday in which he also vowed to step up inspections of businesses selling shoes, clothing, automobiles and other goods to make sure they aren't gouging consumers.

"We can't just close the businesses; the owners have to go to jail," Maduro said in an impassioned speech in which he cited Jewish, Muslim and Christian texts to harangue businessmen he accuses of usury. "We can't allow our hard currency to be used to rob people through the sale of these goods."

Huge crowds of government loyalists and opponents formed outside appliance stores over the weekend after Maduro ordered the military to occupy the Daka chain of electronic stores and slash by more than half prices for washing machines, televisions and other white goods.

While soldiers with assault rifles were deployed to keep bargain hunters in check, at least one Daka store, in the country's third largest city of Valencia, was looted by unruly crowds, according to photos and videos posted online.
Maduro Sunday night urged Venezuelans to remain calm, saying that he won't allow the "parasitic bourgeoisie" to overcharge consumers ever again.

To that end, he vowed to place percentage limits on profit margins if congress approves a bill granting him special powers.

Free-market economists say such a move would exacerbate shortages that reached a record in October, according to the central bank. They say that to stabilize the economy, and shore up a currency whose black market value is a ninth of the official rate, the government needs to lift capital controls put in place a decade ago by former President Hugo Chavez and devalue the bolivar.

In this context, “free-market economists” can also mean “anybody that can rub two brain cells together”.

And as for those shortages, here’s some footage of that Daka store where the merch was flying off the shelf.

When the President of a country unlawfully seizes private assets, why should anybody be surprised that the populace would follow his lead in pursuit of their own lawlessness?

A President that sets prices for goods in an arbitrary fashion can fully expect his people to exercise common civility in a completely arbitrary fashion as well.

The folks at that Daka store are merely the logical result of leftist class warfare. Rule of law starts at the top.

Monday, November 11, 2013

What we saw and learned yesterday


The Denver Broncos prevailed 28-20 in a game that boiled down to Peyton Manning vs. the Charger secondary and that worked out pretty much as one would expect.

That secondary is brutal. We're thinking Eric Weddle has attained Pro Bowl status only because he stands out as merely serviceable amongst the abjectly miserable play of his teammates on the backend of the Bolt defense.

One thing we do know about Peyton Manning watching him all these years and that is he does not like pressure in his face and the Charger defense was far too passive in the first half in not dialing up blitzes and thus exposing a secondary that cannot cover and cannot tackle.

The pass rush gained some traction in the second half but it was too little too late as the Chargers settling for field goals (one of which was missed) while the Broncos scored touchdowns in the first half proved too much for the Chargers' comeback bid to overcome in the second half.

Two teams at 6-3, one that we’re worried about and one that we are not. The Colts got crushed in St. Louis by the Rams, 38-8. Burn the game film. Throw it out. The NFL has become a match-up league and what was witnessed was a dominant Rams defensive front bullying a shaky Colt offensive line. Nothing more, nothing less. Andrew Luck remains one of the best QBs in the game and yesterday’s aberration does nothing to change that. Next.

The 6-3 Niners lost in ugly fashion to the resurgent Carolina Panthers yesterday afternoon out on the Coast. Check out some of these numbers for San Fran: Total net yards: 151. 3rd down efficiency: 2/13. Passing yards: 46. 46. Colin Kaepernick, one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league today, was sacked six times. Despite the close score, 10-9, and taking into account the expectations for this team, this has to be one of the worst losses of the Jim Harbaugh era.

We won’t profess to know what’s going on with Kaepernick and that offense but they better get it figured out quickly, because… it is with great anticipation that we are looking forward to the Niners travelling to New Orleans to take on the red hot Saints and their greatly-improved defense under 1st-year defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan and which will be the featured afternoon game on Fox next Sunday.

Hey, Giants and Redskins fans, yes, the bad news is that you are both 3-6. The good news, of course, is that you are in the most hapless division in football where you are only one game back in the loss column from being tied for first place with the Cowboys and Eagles at 5-5.

And speaking of the Eagles…. Stat of the Week: The Eagles are 4-1 when running back LeSean McCoy gets 20 or more carries a game and obviously, 1-4 when he does not. C’mon, Coach Kelly, get Shady the rock.

There is no God:

The Ravens prevailed in OT against the Bengals, 20-17, after perfectly executing the Hail Mary at the end of regulation in yesterday’s game.

Oh, wait.

Baltimore defense, this is not the tip drill… you knock the ball down…. down…. down!

Those are the types of moments that most likely lop off years from NFL head coaches’ life expectancy.

Poor ol’ ESPN gets stuck with another turkey for Monday Night Football with Miam vs. Tampa Bay. We’re so over the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin controversy but given there will be nothing happening on the field worth talking about, we fully expect the World Wide Leader to flog that mule for all it’s worth before, during and after tonight’s telecast.

Power rankings:

1. Seattle Seahawks

2. New Orleans Saints

3. Kansas City Chiefs

4. New England Patriots

5. Denver Broncos

Team we're putting on notice:

The Cincinnati Bengals. They’ve dropped two straight and are currently 6-4 and 1-1/2 games up in the very mediocre AFC North. They get a bye after travelling to Cleveland next week. These guys were one of our favorites to win the AFC Championship and though we aren’t jumping off the bandwagon it’s time put together a run. Recent history has told us that the Super Bowl champion is a hot team at the end of the regular season and the Bengals have a very manageable schedule over their last six games so it’s time to get things cranked up down the stretch.

That's all, gang. Thanks!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Message: "I care" *


A couple of weeks back when it became news that millions of American were losing their healthcare coverage, it came as a surprise to a majority of Americans that had heard the President on numerous occasions reassure the country that if you liked your current healthcare plan, you could keep it, and often times closing out that statement with a definitive “period.”

Predictably, the water-carriers in the state-controlled media when into spin mode. They reasoned that the President did not flat-out lie to the public because no one was losing their coverage, they were merely “transitioning” from their old “sub-standard” coverage into better coverage. That this decision was taken out of your hands was merely demonstrable of what a clueless rube you are and that we should be thankful of the wise and benevolent actions of a federal bureaucracy thousands of miles away made possible via ObamaCare… you’re welcome.

Of course, we didn't hear anything about this "transition-y" thing prior to October 1st but no matter...

So, imagine our surprise when Thursday evening, the President in an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC News, said he was sorry that all these millions of American were losing their current health coverage “based on assurances they got from me.”

So confusing. Why was he essentially apologizing for removing us from our “sub-standard” policies when as single males it was clearly in our best interest to have a healthcare policy that covered us for pregnancy/maternity services? That would be more comprehensive, would it not?

It didn't take long. Back into the spin cycle:

Of course there will be winners and losers as a result of ObamaCare

Again, this faint support for the law was not uttered prior to October 1st.

Let the tweet-fest begin:

Call us cynical but we’re skeptical of the president’s apology. The law which bears his name absolutely counts on younger healthier people paying for services/coverage they won’t use to cover that which others will use but can’t afford, i.e. the sick and/or elderly.

With insurance companies no longer able to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, good luck with getting enough of the “young invincibles” to prop up this wretched scheme. #implosion

C’mon… without ObamaCare you would’ve never have been introduced to the terms “adverse selection” and “death spiral”.

* During the 1992 presidential campaign, those were the guidance notes given to George H.W. Bush by his aides prior to a speech meant to convey his empathy with the American people during the early nineties recession. Missing the “guidance” portion, Bush recited those three words verbatim resulting in the most clunky, insincere and tone deaf moment of his Presidency.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Some not so random thoughts for the day


For the 3rd straight year, the lower-ranked team in this now-rivalry ended the BCS title hopes of the higher-ranked team as Stanford dominated the undefeated Oregon Ducks, 26-20, in a game not nearly as close as the score would suggest (2 years ago, it was the Ducks who dashed Stanford's title hopes).

Same ol' Oregon

Every year, we hear about how Oregon is going to be more physical at the line of scrimmage and every year we see them get pushed around at the point of attack by an Auburn, LSU or Stanford. Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio brought up an interesting point earlier this morning by noting that Oregon did not just lose a game they lost the argument. That argument being the benefit of the doubt when it comes to evaluating Oregon for the BCS title game or next year in the four-team playoff format against teams with identical records. If, say, next year the 4th and last spot comes down to a one-loss Duck team and a one-loss LSU Tiger team, who do you think is going to get the benefit of the doubt?

As self-professed West Coast homers, it pains us to admit it: the die has been cast and a team that is physically dominant up on both the defensive and offensive lines, like an LSU, is going to get the nod. Stanford, last night, merely confirmed what we see each and every year with this Oregon team and that is, at some point, you are going to have to grind out 3rd and shorts with the running game by being physical up front and that simply isn't in the Oregon football program DNA (Stanford's Tyler Gaffney's 45 carry/157 yards was the very definition of grinding).

The feds being who they are, are going after a product that is already frowned-upon:

Heart-clogging trans fats were once a staple of the American diet, plentiful in baked goods, microwave popcorn and fried foods. Now, mindful of the health risks, the Food and Drug Administration is getting rid of what's left of them for good.

Condemning artificial trans fats as a threat to public health, the FDA announced Thursday it will require the food industry to phase them out.

Manufacturers already have eliminated many trans fats, responding to criticism from the medical community and to local laws. Even so, the FDA said getting rid of the rest _ the average American still eats around a gram of trans fat a day _ could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.

It won't happen right away. The agency will collect comments for two months before determining a phase-out timetable. Different foods may have different schedules, depending how easy it is to find substitutes.

(italics, ours)

California did just that a year or two ago and it left us scratching our head as plasma T.V.s had effectively been banned not by legislation buy by technological obsolescence. Who even made plasmas anymore? That technology had been left behind years ago superceded first by LCD and then LED technology. Such is the speed of emerging technology and correspondingly that of the regulatory regime that they were getting around to doing something about a problem that was made extinct by two successful tech innovations.

It would appear that trans fats are in the same category as plasmas. They are going by the boards due to public health pressure and advances in dietary technology. The free market is working so why does a regulatory beak need to be stuck into matters?

Totally related: We purchased a 42" Samsung plasma hi-def television 9 years ago for... $4,500.

Now check out today's Friday Fry's ad:

We're not quite sure how we're going to do it but we want to work the above phenomena into the broader "increasing income inequality" discussion that is predominant in many socio-political circles and it would be along the lines of increasing consumer buyin power.

We may ask for the assistance of B-Daddy of The Liberator Today who is far more versed in these areas than we are.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Definition of the day


What you are about to read was once derided by a political set of people not all that long ago:

CORPORATISM: the organization of a society into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and exercising control over persons and activities within their jurisdiction.

And in other totally related news:

How big of a headache has the implementation of Obamacare and the subsequent health insurance cancellations become for the Obama White House?

Big enough for the president to call on health insurance executives to help him explain the situation to upset Americans.

The White House is asking insurance companies to explain to millions of Americans the cancellation letters they’re receiving in the mail.

President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, met Tuesday with CEOs from some of the largest health insurers. The White House says McDonough updated the CEOs on fixes to and problems with enrollment data sent electronically to insurers. McDonough also solicited input on whether the system is getting better.

The White House says McDonough urged insurance companies to “ramp up communication and education efforts” to those who have lost their insurance.

Millions have received cancellation notices, sparking outrage because Obama repeatedly promised that those who liked their health care could keep it. The White House says many of those losing coverage have better, cheaper options through the new exchanges.

No conflicts of interest here, right? Just what sort of pressure is the White House exerting on Big Health and how much of it is being exerted?

Are you comfortable with Big Health and Big Government being in bed together to the extent that they are? You would not be mistaken if you felt that the well-being of both are hopelessly tied together at this point.

Of course, the cynic in us would say that this sort of arrangement is precisely the sort of thing Republicans would play politics with and hold hostage during the next budget showdown and that is precisely the problem. The public-private enterprise that is the Affordable Care Act serves only those two entities and not the needs of the individual. Millions of Americans who have and will have their current insurance plans cancelled transitioned are finding this out.

This from Roger L. Simon:

Liberalism as practiced in today’s America is a chimera, not actually an ideology but an alliance of interest groups controlled by elites for the preservation of their (the elites’) wealth and power. The interest groups often seem to be working against their own advantage by being so affiliated (e. g. African-Americans are in the worst shape in years under Obama), but not the elites who have been able to thrive. These elites are also able to appear altruistic to themselves and others while behaving in manners that are hideously selfish and atrocious to the common good. Liberalism is not so much an ideology in our society as it is a shield, a defense mechanism for a lifestyle.

(italics, ours)

We scarcely recognize modern liberalism and it's once-adherents. What ever cronyism or in-bed-together arrangements (remember Haliburton and Enron?) is not recognized during this administration as the saintly good intentions and infinite and benevolent wisdom of the current crop of our betters in D.C. trump any sort of principle our liberal friends once professed to possess.

As it stands, we will call them out for what they are: hypocrites.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Video clip of the day

. presents their Nanny of the Month:

A few observations:

- Since we don't have a sweet tooth and would feel pretty weird about trick or treating at this advanced stage in life, what really is the point of Halloween than for the fairer sex to get all tarted-up?

- As a parent, if you haven't figured out where the pervs in your neighborhood live, you're probably doing it wrong.

- Yet, how could one vote against this ordinance? Like, you're for pervs or something?

- All of which gets back to our constant refrain: If the premise behind your law is that "it's for the children", it's a good bet that your law sucks.


Monday, November 4, 2013

"Check's in the mail"... "Don't worry, I'll pull out"... and other great American promises




As the disaster that is the ObamaCare rollout continues let's take a couple of looks at how the spin is in. First up is Diane Feinstein (D-CA) with CBS's Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation:

(if you don't have time for the 3 minute video, scroll down for the money quote)

SCHIEFFER: The president said in the beginning that one thing was that if you liked the health care program you had, you could keep it. We now know there was debate within the administration before he said that as to whether that was actually a promise that could be kept. Should the president not have made that statement?

FEINSTEIN: Well, as I understand it, you can keep it up to the time — and I hope this is correct, but this is what I’ve been told — up to the time the bill was enacted, and after that, it’s a different story. That part of it, if true, was never made clear.

Correction, DiFi. It was made perfectly clear. The President, out on the campaign trail and even after he won his second term was using good ol'-fashioned 'Merican plain-speak when he told all of us without qualifications or reservations that if we liked our current healthcare plan... we could keep it, no questions asked. This has now turned out to be one big fat lie that the administration knew about but for obvious political reasons had to stick to this lie.

And here's the New York Times doing some furious spinning of their own in an editorial piece on Sunday:

Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want. That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it.

Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that. By law, insurers cannot continue to sell policies that don’t provide the minimum benefits and consumer protections required as of next year. So they’ve sent cancellation notices to hundreds of thousands of people who hold these substandard policies. (At issue here are not the 149 million people covered by employer plans, but the 10 million to 12 million people who buy policies directly on the individual market.)

(italics, ours)

No, what Mr. Obama clearly did is what the folks in Placentia, California call lying.

And what the Times did in those two paragraphs was pretty clever. It's as if the Republicans backed the President into a corner and that he was forced to lie to combat all those, um, lies coming from the Republicans and, more precisely, the wacko-bird/tea party wing of the party who have happened to be spot-on with their warnings against the hazards of this pitiful law.

In the last half of the second paragraph, we see the dominant narrative with respect to the cancellations: your current policy sucks, so the President is doing you a favor by cancelling it and shoving you into a plan that is better for you. You're welcome.

Funny. We did not hear that line of reasoning prior to October 1st when went live.

No matter. What has always bothered us most about this law aside from the fact it was unworkable and financially unsustainable was that it represented an unwarranted and unnecessary intrusion into one's personal, financial and medical matters and choices (the fact that the IRS is the enforcement wing of this regime ought to chill one to the core). It is, at its core, an existential threat to our freedom and liberty.

It's soft authoritarianism (it's for your own good, trust us) and speaking of regimes, here's Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) doubling down on that mentality with respect to the cancellation lie:

“I suppose he could have added a caveat that if you have a plan you like, you can keep it, as long as it fits into this new regime that we are building for America. To say you can keep that, that’s not really right…there’s a lot of gray area there."

New regigme. Charmed, we're sure. Look no further, gang, for the perfect distillation of the statist/collectivist mindset: you're too stupid to figure out your own business, so we'll do it for you.

* We have it on good authority that this is not a PhotoShop job and that someone did indeed "gift" that to Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius at a townhall event over the weekend. Awesome.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Radio KBwD is on the air (the covers edition)

Lou Reed passed away last Saturday. He was 71 years old.

His passing and this being the first Saturday of the month kind of makes the following a bit of a no-brainer.

Written by Reed while he was with the Velvet Underground this version of "Sweet Jane" appears on Rock'n'Roll Animal and which also contains the highly awesome guitar intro by guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner.

The song has been covered by countless artists and bands but the following has always been our favorite as it has a decidedly different vibe from what you just heard.

Off their excellent Trinity Sessions album, here's The Cowboy Junkies and their version of Reed's classic: