Saturday, March 29, 2014

Your California high-speed choo-choo update


Poor old Jerry Brown and his end-of-career legacy defining project, the high-speed rail project, just can’t seem to catch a break these days.

Amid mounting legal problems thrown down by California Superior Court Judge Michael Kinney regarding the financing of the high-speed choo-choos, the project is now facing internal fire from their own peer review board over the travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

From the L.A. Times and their high-speed rail beat writer Ralph Vartabedian:

Regularly scheduled service on California's bullet train system will not meet anticipated trip times of two hours and 40 minutes between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and are likely to take nearly a half-hour longer, a state Senate committee was told Thursday.

The faster trips were held out to voters in 2008 when they approved $9 billion in borrowing to help pay for the project. Since then, a series of political compromises and planning changes designed to keep the $68-billion line moving ahead have created slower track zones in urban areas.

But Louis Thompson, chairman of the High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group, a state-sanctioned panel of outside experts, testified that "real world engineering issues" will cause schedules for regular service to exceed the target of two hours and 40 minutes. The state might be able to demonstrate a train that could make the trip that fast, but not on scheduled service, he told lawmakers. If public demand for the service supports additional investments, travel times could be improved after the currently planned system is built, he said.

The article does not expand on to what specific “real world engineering issues” Thompson is referring but let’s just assume he’s talking about “stops”, as in “stops” to let fare-paying business embark and disembark the choo-choos.

This thing has become so politicized and such an albatross, we can imagine every blessed cow town out there in the Central Valley is demanding that if the choo-choos are going to be rolling through their jurisdiction, then by damned, they are going to be making a stop there.

And with every stop there is the inherent logistical inertia with respect to safely loading and unloading passengers that will have to be factored into that 2 hrs. and 40 minutes claim.

But 2 hrs. and 40 minutes? $68 billion (real world estimates put this project at nearly twice that, by the way, due to budgetary sorcery wrought by Brown’s cook crooks) to achieve a feat that can be accomplished in 50 minutes via aircraft out of Burbank to San Jose? And now the experts say it's going to take 30 minutes longer than that?

Back to the article:

Rail authority officials said after the hearing, held by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, that they would meet the requirements of state law, but did not specifically say that trains would operate at the faster travel times. State law requirements may be open to legal interpretation. Language approved by voters says the system must be "designed to achieve" trip times of 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Did you see what just happened there? The original voted-upon 2 hrs. and 40 minutes is now the faster time. Peachy.

The article ends by talking about Brown raiding the carbon emissions cap and trade fund to help finance the project, a mere pittance up against the $68-120 billion tab (in the 6 years since voters approved the project, they have yet to name one private source of funding which will be required to finance this boondoggle).

The largest public works project in the history of this country, which will of course, be powered by very conventional fossil fuels is receiving cap and trade dollars; an irony which we are sure is not lost on you.

As it stands, dear readers, yet another nail in the considerably-sized coffin of California’s high-speed choo-choos. We cheer on its staggering, stumble-drunk demise.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Farewell, England, we scarcely knew ye


Alternative headline: Alternative fuel source gets a foothold in British hospitals

England of Magna Carta, ending slave trade and ending worldwide tyranny via WW I and WW II fame has appeared to step aside and say, “Ya know, eff it. We’re done here”.

This is what the self-revocation process looks like for a member in good standing of Western Civilization.

Via KT of the Scratching Post who had this to say with respect to the following: “.... it turns out there was no reason to Bomben auf Engelend after all. The British lion would eventually see the light.

From the Telegraph:

The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

At least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.

The programme, which will air tonight, found that parents who lose children in early pregnancy were often treated without compassion and were not consulted about what they wanted to happen to the remains.

One of the country’s leading hospitals, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, incinerated 797 babies below 13 weeks gestation at their own ‘waste to energy’ plant. The mothers were told the remains had been ‘cremated.’
Another ‘waste to energy’ facility at Ipswich Hospital, operated by a private contractor, incinerated 1,101 foetal remains between 2011 and 2013.

They were brought in from another hospital before being burned, generating energy for the hospital site. Ipswich Hospital itself disposes of remains by cremation.

“This practice is totally unacceptable,” said Dr Poulter.

“While the vast majority of hospitals are acting in the appropriate way, that must be the case for all hospitals and the Human Tissue Authority has now been asked to ensure that it acts on this issue without delay.”

“totally unacceptable”... “Human Tissue Authority”

Charmed, we’re sure.

We’re sure the global community will get properly exercised only when the British Health Ministry declares that the resulting embryonic tissue particulate is carcinogenic and a global-warming contributor as well

The second item as evidence of England stepping down from the world stage relates to Sharia law now being codified into British law and in this instance with respect to the writing of wills.

Also, from the Telegraph:

Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills.

Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.

The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs.

Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognise only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes.

Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society, said the guidance would promote “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system.

Because Balkanizing your country absolutely demands “good practice”.

Western Civilization with it’s freedom of speech and religion, its property rights and equality-for-all features had a pretty good run and at one time Great Britain was at the forefront of that novel and rebellious movement.

All movements, however, have their arc and it would appear the fat and sclerotic Brits are exhibiting some defense-of-culture laziness and hastening the demise of its imperfect yet better-than-the-rest culture.

We are not fans of anti-Sharia legislation that we have seen pop up from time to time over the years. Like ridiculous flag-burning amendments, it comes across as cheap pandering.

Do we not have a culturally-approved standing code of laws as it is? And did we not fight a civil war for the fair and equal treatment of all citizens and then have it out all over again some 100 years later to further enhance civil rights guarantees. Did we not get this all straightened out?

However, when reality knocks and our English-speaking cousins are setting up a shadow or parallel legal system to the one that already exists, is anti-Sharia legislation worth a second look?

As it stands, right now, peace out, our cousins across the pond.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Technical bulletins: where horrible, no-good laws go to die

B-Daddy over at The Liberator Today did a fine job of covering that which we
are about to here, below.

Recall, back in September of last year at the height of shutdown fever, the
House passed a resolution that would've funded all government operations
while suspending the individual mandate for one year. At the time, we
thought that to be a very, very reasonable compromise. After all, there
was every indication that the rollout of the ObamaCare online exchange on
October 1st was not going to go smoothly so why not, legally, through the
legislative process, allow both the tragically flawed website and its
customers some more time to get up to speed?

Now, nearly six months after that, the individual mandate is about the only
aspect of the law that has not been delayed or waived or exempted by
executive fiat by the President himself. Yes, dear readers, it would
appear that it is not those House Republican "hostage-takers" and
"terrorists" rather President Barack Obama who is the biggest obstructionist
to his own signature piece of legislation.

But what now of the individual mandate? Since the individual mandate is
the lynchpin of the entire law (the mechanism by which to get young, healthy
people to pay for the healthcare needs of the old and infirm), there was no
way in hell anything was going to happen to it, right? Even if delaying the
individual mandate made the most practical sense for everyone involved,
there was no way that this administration was going to give in and thus give
tacit acknowledgement that the Republicans were right back last September.

Well, in the regulatory equivalent of a Friday evening news dump, the law
has once again been altered with dubious legality as an "out clause" of sorts
has been added to the regulations concerning the individual mandate.

From the Wall Street Journal... and we absolutely love the opening line:

ObamaCare's implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their
own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care
Act-the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly
excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance
or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the
Health and Human Services Department didn't think the details were worth
discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the
mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to
preserve some health plans that don't comply with ObamaCare benefit and
redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that
casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be
extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this
second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans
whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

You remember those cancellations, right? The
if-you-like-your-current-plan-you-can-keep-your-plan cancellations? But we
digress. Back in December, the administration, again by executive fiat,
allowed those with cancelled plans to go back to their old "bad apple" and
"sub-standard" plans from which they were to be saved by ObamaCare. Now,
with minimal administrative effort, those people with cancelled plans will
be exempted from the individual mandate.

Back to the article:

But amid the post-rollout political backlash, last week the agency created a
new category: Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your
plan was cancelled and that you "believe that the plan options available in
the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your
cancelled health insurance policy" or "you consider other available policies

This lax standard-no formula or hard test beyond a person's belief-at least
ostensibly requires proof such as an insurer termination notice. But people
can also qualify for hardships for the unspecified nonreason that "you
experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance," which only
requires "documentation if possible." And yet another waiver is available to
those who say they are merely unable to afford coverage, regardless of their
prior insurance. In a word, these shifting legal benchmarks offer an
exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one.

"documentation if possible" tells you all you need to know about how it is,
or more precisely, how this isn't going to be enforced. How fitting,
how perfect that this administration which treats with such pique and
disdain the purposely difficult parameters for governing a constitutional
republic would create something within their signature law that could aptly
be called the "it's, like, too haaaard", exemption.

To quote B-Daddy, “So, this is what victory over ObamaCare looks like”.

So, what now? The administration has effectively gutted the requirements for the individual mandate so how is it that the rest of the law is supposed to remain financially stable?

What else to do to save this wretched law than to bail it out with massive tax-payer lump sums and subsidies for the health insurance lobby? It’s what they do best, in fact, it’s pretty much all they do.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

What we've been tweeting

We apologize for the infrequency of posting here of late, a condition we will chalk up to a busy work schedule and the dog days of February and March where nothing happens, right?

We were able to get off some thoughts this past week via Twitter which we will share below:

Another day, Another constitutionally dubious unilateral executive order ObamaCare delay...

Over to you, Senator Reid:

So, the NFL is thinking of moving extra point tries back to the 25 yard line... color us skeptical:

We don't care whose mug it is being plastered over this nation's flag but please tell us how this is good for a constitutional republic...? oh, that's right a former constitutional republic.


Some call it "growing in office" while we have some other choice terms for it:

Chess champion on the inevitable ripple effect of botching the Syrian situation last year:

Internecine squabbles on the left over who was/wasn’t a true socialist, communist, Marxist, fascist… whatever and the explicit definitions of those terms make us all warm and fuzzy inside…

Yes! A thousand times over.

The (gun) control set obviously has issues with this concept.

So, the President wants to appoint a cop-killer advocate to the head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department...

It's getting to be that time of year...

OK, that's it for today, gang. Catch you all later.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hey, America!


During the 2012 presidential campaign, Senate majority leader, Harry Ried, rather infamously accused the Republican nominee Mitt Romney of not paying any taxes for the previous ten years. This, of course, was based upon nothing. It was a shameless partisan smear that Reid has become famous for.

Reid was at it again this past week on the floor of the Senate essentially calling the tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of American who had lost their healthcare coverage, had lost their doctor, had been denied treatment under ObamaCare or had seen the premiums sky-rocket… calling them liars.

In Reid’s own words:

“Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America,”

Unreal. Never seen anything like this in our life: the 2nd most powerful person of a major political party calling the citizens of this country liars.
The NRSC responded with this video…

… and we responded on our own via Twitter:

Got media bias?


Remember... it's for the children!

People unable to uncancel their ObamaCare plans:

Congratulations to the Senator from the great state of Nevada: there is no more loathsome and contemptible person on the American political scene than Harry Reid.