To deal with #Obamacare, school district cuts employee hours

May 31, 2013
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we won the election! Obama!!”

A little Blue on Blue action for your Friday, as one liberal constituency, school district employees, feels the pain to satisfy the demands of another, the “free healthcare and unicorns for everyone” crowd.

Elections. They have consequences:

1 [sic] of Indiana’s largest school districts is cutting the hours of 610 part-time teaching aides and cafeteria workers to save money and to avoid providing them health insurance under the federal health care overhaul.

Fort Wayne Community Schools Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend says it’s cutting their hours from 30 to 25 each week beginning June 3 because insurance would have cost $10 million. Beginning in January, large employers must offer health insurance to those who work at least 30 hours per week.

Friend told The Journal Gazette for a story Monday the insurance matter is “something that almost all employers with part-time employees are trying to resolve.”

And I don’t blame the school district one bit. They have a certain amount of dollars to work with each year, but their costs are going to go up tremendously in 2014 if they don’t make changes. Labor is another cost, so there’s a logical place to make cuts. Sadly, it looks like those targeted are also those who already make the least.

Once again, the progressive failure to understand basic economics and human nature winds up hurting those they claim they want to help.

via Conservative Intelligence Briefing

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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John Fund on “Obama’s Chicago Way”

May 30, 2013

An interesting –and frustrating– article by John Fund today about how the roiling scandals of the Obama administration are finally beginning to convince journalists that, instead of a Unicorn Prince who would deliver us all to an age of enlightened progressivism that actually worked, what we got (and they moved heaven and earth to elect) was a national version of the Chicago machine:

The scandals swirling around the Obama administration have many journalists scratching their heads as to how “hope and change” seem to have been supplanted by “arrogance and fear.” Perhaps it’s time they revisit one of their original premises about Barack Obama: that he wasn’t influenced by the Chicago Daley machine. You know: the machine that boosted his career and whose protégés — including Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, and his wife, Michelle — he brought to Washington with him.

The liberal take on the president was best summed up by Slate magazine’s Jacob Weisberg, who wrote last year that Obama “somehow passed through Chicago politics without ever developing any real connection to it.” It’s true that Obama initially kept some distance from the machine. But by the time he ran for the Senate in 2004, his main political Sherpas were Axelrod, who was then the chief consultant to Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Jarrett, the mayor’s former deputy chief of staff. As Scott Simon of NPR noted: “While calling for historic change globally, [Obama] has never professed to be a reformer locally.” The Daley machine, which evolved over 60 years from a patronage-rich army of worker bees into a corporate state in which political pull and public-employee unions dominate, has left its imprint on Obama. The machine’s core principle, laid out in an illuminating Chicago Independent Examiner primer on “the Chicago Way,” is that at all times elections are too important to be left to chance. John Kass, the muckraking columnist for the Chicago Tribune who for years has warned that Obama was bringing “the Chicago way” to Washington, sums up his city like this: “Once there were old bosses. Now there are new bosses. And shopkeepers still keep their mouths shut. Tavern owners still keep their mouths shut. Even billionaires keep their mouths shut.”

“We have a sick political culture, and that’s the environment Barack Obama came from,” Jay Stewart, the executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, warned ABC News when Obama ran in 2008. He noted that Obama had “been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption here in his home state.”

Part of the frustration I mentioned is that so many tried to tell the press that this guy could not have arisen from Chicago’s corrupt political culture without being dirtied himself by it — indeed, becoming part of it. Fund quotes several, and I’d add to that Michelle Malkin who, I think, coined “Chicago on the Potomac” to describe the Obama administration, and David Freddoso, whose “The Case Against Barack Obama” accurately laid out in 2008 what we’re now seeing take place under the bright lights of the national stage…. but too few paid any attention.

Where I think Fund, or, more accurately, journalist Chris Robling, whom he quotes, is off the track a bit is where we see this:

“Obama’s ideology may come from Saul Alinsky’s acolytes, but his political tactics come straight from the Daley playbook.”

…as if they’re separate streams. Actually, it’s more like they sprang from the same poisoned well; Daley and Alinsky may share the same political tactics, but Alinsky added the leftism, putting the urge to power at the service of an ideology. There’s a good article at Breitbart, “The Community Organizer in Chief, Part One: The Alinsky Ethics.” Worth reading for its own sake, Lee Stranahan quotes this gem from Alinsky’s Playboy interview:

Alinsky then goes on to boast about his association with the Chicago Mob, including Al Capone and Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, who Alinsky says he called “The Professor.” Alisnky approached the criminals under the guise of doing student research. Nitti and the other mobsters not only accepted Alisnky but actually revealed everything about their operation to him. This included extortion and murder. 

“PLAYBOY: Didn’t you have any compunction about consorting with — if not actually assisting — murderers?

ALINSKY: None at all, since there was nothing I could do to stop them from murdering, practically all of which was done inside the family. I was a nonparticipating observer in their professional activities, although I joined their social life of food, drink and women: Boy, I sure participated in that side of things — it was heaven. “

Now there’s a moral precept for you; when there are no men, be thou an observer who shares food, drink and women. 

Alinsky continues:

“And let me tell you something, I learned a hell of a lot about the uses and abuses of power from the Mob, lessons that stood me in good stead later on, when I was organizing.”

So is revealed the real face of Community Organizing for you: the ethics of Al Capone.

The ethics of Al Capone (just under a more respectable guise with the Daleys) blended with Alinskyite Socialism and taken to Washington, D.C.

Obama’s “Chicago Way.”


[Jihad] Memorial Day weekend and the anniversary of a great defeat

May 29, 2013

(Note: this is a reposting of something I first wrote a couple of years ago. Though the Memorial Day weekend is now past, I still think it fitting.)

Memorial Day is a holiday set aside for Americans to honor our servicemen past and present and to remember, if even for a moment, those who gave what Lincoln called that “last full measure of devotion.” But this weekend also reminds us of another war, one far older than the United States, and yet hasn’t ended.

Some people call our current struggle with jihadist Islam “The Long War,” meaning that this fight is expected to go on for years, if not generations.

But it’s a long war in another sense, too, because we of the West been fighting it, through periods active and quiet, since Muhammad first declared as Allah’s command:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Today marks an anniversary in that nearly 1400-years long struggle, the Fall of Constantinople and the end of the last remnant of the Roman Empire:

“Siege of Constantinople,”Jean Chartier c.1475

From Constantinople, the Turks, who had taken the Arabs’ place as leaders of the jihad, would march on into Central Europe, conquering the Balkans and twice besieging magnificent Vienna. This last great surge was stopped at the gates of the city in 1683; after that, Islam went into a long period of quiet that gradually ended in the final decades of the 20th century, until the jihad resumed amidst fire and terror on September 11th, 2001. Where once stood Franks and Greeks and Austrians and Spaniards and Italians, now there stands… us.

Is there a grand lesson in all this? I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that people who think this “long war” will end quickly and easily, even by simply declaring it over, are only fooling themselves. As long as there remains in Islam a compulsion to fight everyone else until they submit:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then lo! Allah is Seer of what they do.

…this war will go on.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Michele Bachmann retires – updated

May 29, 2013

Well, this is interesting:

Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann, a conservative Republican who ran for president last year, made a surprise announcement Wednesday and said she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in Congress.

The Minnesota congresswoman was facing inquiries into her presidential campaign and a potential rematch with Democrat Jim Graves, a wealthy hotel executive who came within about 4,300 votes of defeating her in November.

“My decision was not influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann added, “This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign.” In January, a former Bachmann aide filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming Bachmann made improper payments to an Iowa state senator who was the state chairman of her 2012 presidential run. The aide, Peter Waldron, also accused Bachmann of other FEC violations.

Color me a bit skeptical regarding those denials: a Tea Party conservative running in purple Minnesota was always going to have a hard time, and maybe she saw that the allegations against her would give her opponent, who ran a strong race last time, enough of a club (1) to beat her next time. Not running will almost surely hand the seat to the Democrats, however.

Steve Greene wonders if she’s clearing the decks for a Senate run. I have my doubts (statewide would be even harder for her than winning her district), but, if she does, there’s no doubt she’ll make it interesting.

UPDATE: I largely agree with this analysis by National Journal’s Reid Wilson (h/t Jim Geraghty):

Bachmann’s political career trumped her legislative career. While she became a heroine to many Tea Party activists, raising more money than almost any other member of the House of Representatives during her last election cycle, she held little sway in Washington beyond a tiny cohort of friends and allies and she passed no significant legislation during her time in Washington. Most Tea Party conservatives are closer to Jordan, or the leadership structure of the Republican Study Committee.

And while Bachmann remained the poster child for the Tea Party label, especially to liberal media outlets in search of a boogeyman, other more conservative members have risen to greater prominence, in both the House and Senate.

Her political troubles made her one of the few members of Congress who would be more difficult for her party to defend than an open seat would be. That is, Republicans would rather run a fresh candidate without Bachmann’s baggage than try to defend her suburban Twin Cities district. In 2012, Mitt Romney took 56.5 percent of the vote in Bachmann’s district; Bachmann eked out a win over Democrat Jim Graves by just 1.2 percentage points, or about 4,300 votes.

Bachmann may have been the loudest member of the class of 2006, the one who inspired the most heated arguments. But she will hardly be the most consequential; her enduring legacy may be the lessons she taught in how to lose friends and become completely uninfluential.

With her exit, Democrats lose a potent fundraising tool. Republicans lose a headache they would just as soon do without.

Power Line is more charitable toward her.

Footnote:
(1) Not to mention her bizarre assertions about Gardasil. That caused me to seriously reconsider her candidacy in 2012, and not in a good way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gee, the #IRS Director was awfully popular at the Obama White House

May 28, 2013

Especially starting in 2010, when the IRS began targeting conservative groups:

The Washington Examiner reported on Monday that Mark Everson, Commissioner of Internal Revenue from 2003 to 2007, during the Bush administration, visited the White House exactly once while in office. Indeed he felt like he’d “moved to Siberia” so out of the ordinary political loop was he. But Douglas Shulman, Commissioner from 2008 to 2012, during the Obama administration, visited the White House 118 times just in 2010 and 2011. His successor, Steven Miller, also visited “numerous” times.

I doubt even the Secretary of State saw Obama that often.

The question is why Shulman was there so often. John Steele Gordon notes that some visits covered implementation of the IRS role in enforcing Obamacare, but most had no purpose listed in the visitor logs.  Were they discussing revenue collection? Playing basketball? Toking some choom? We don’t know.

And that silence speaks loudly, given the timing of the increase in visits by Shulman, the fact that the harassment began the day after the anti-Tea Party Treasury employees union chief visited the White House,  and the massive anti-tax, anti-Obamacare Tea Party protests that were taking place in Washington at the same time.

Quite a coincidence, no?

I suppose Shulman could be brought back before Issa’s committee to explain what these mysterious meetings were about, but, poor man, he seems to be as clueless as his boss about how this all happened.

Must be all the choom they smoked together.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Uh oh, the Met Office has set the cat amongst the pigeons

May 27, 2013

Well, well, well. Follow the link from WUWT back to Bishop Hill; it seems the Met Office, the UK’s official weather and climate forecaster and a temple in the cult of global warming, has just admitted that its claim of statistically significant temperature increase (i.e., that which can only be explained by anthropogenic causes) cannot be supported. That’s like knocking the foundation stone out from under the entire edifice.

Watts Up With That?

Excerpt from Bishop Hill (plus a cartoon from Josh) showing that the claim of a statistically significant temperature rise can’t be supported, and the Met office is ducking parliamentary questions: (h/t Randy Hughes)

Met Office admits claims of significant temperature rise untenable

This is a guest post by Doug Keenan.

It has been widely claimed that the increase in global temperatures since the late 1800s is too large to be reasonably attributed to natural random variation. Moreover, that claim is arguably the biggest reason for concern about global warming. The basis for the claim has recently been discussed in the UK Parliament. It turns out that the claim has no basis, and scientists at the Met Office have been trying to cover that up.

View original post 160 more words


Shocking? Insider trading on #Obamacare, facilitated by the White House?

May 27, 2013

I use the question mark because, at this point, after stomping on freedom of speech in the IRS scandal and the utter cynicism behind the Benghazi cover-up, I’m not so sure I’d really be shocked by plain-old cronyism. In fact, a little workaday graft might be refreshing.

Time to call the SEC?

Wall Street investors hungry for advance information on upcoming federal health-care decisions repeatedly held private discussions with Obama administration officials, including a top White House adviser helping to implement the Affordable Care Act.

The private conversations show that the increasingly urgent race to acquire“political intelligence” goes beyond the communications with congressional staffers that have become the focus of heightened scrutiny in recent weeks.

White House records show that Elizabeth Fowler, then a top ­health-policy adviser to President Obama, met with executives from half a dozen investment firms in 2011 and 2012. Among them was Kris Jenner, a stock picker with T. Rowe Price Investment Services who managed its $6 billion Health Sciences Fund.

Separately, an officialin the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid spoke in December with managers of hedge funds, pension plans and mutual funds in a conference call. The official, Andrew Shin, was pressed during the 50-minute call for information about upcoming Medicare decisions but declined to discuss matters still under agency review, according to people familiar with the call.

That call and the White House meetings Fowler attended were arranged by political-intelligence firms, an expanding class of consultants in Washington that specialize in providing government information to Wall Street.

But they deny anything hinky or downright corrupt went on. So there. That’s settled. And, besides, they don’t remember.

But didn’t Obama say something about “punishing our enemies and rewarding our friends?”

Sounds like this might be “part B.”  smiley thinking

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)