Minimum Wage: West Virginia Democrats exempt themselves

February 28, 2014

500px-Flag_of_West_Virginia.svg

Weird, isn’t it? If having the state mandate higher and higher wages for everyone is such a good idea, why on Earth would WV House Democrats vote to exempt themselves from a law being imposed on everyone else?

Last week, the Democrat controlled House in West Virginia passed legislation raising the state’s minimum wage to $8.75 an hour, $1.50 higher than the federal minimum wage. The action is part of a nation-wide effort by Democrats to make a minimum wage increase central to their platform for the midterm elections. The increase didn’t effect all workers, though. Democrats exempted many of their own staff from the wage hike. Businesses may have to pay the higher wages, but the legislature will avoid many of the consequences. 

Why, it’s almost as if West Virginia Democrats didn’t believe in private what they were preaching in public.

But we all know that can’t be.

via reader Lance

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood marketing BDSM to teens?

February 27, 2014
Teach the children

Teach the children

I’m pretty open-minded, but this is a bit much, even for me:

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE)–which received more than $2.75 million in government funding in 2012–has produced and posted online a video specifically aimed at teenagers that promotes bondage and sadomasochism (BDSM) and proposes “rules” to follow when engaging in these activities.

“People sometimes think that those who practice BDSM are emotionally scarred or were once abused—not true, it’s a total myth,” the host of the video, Laci Green, informs its intended audience of teens.

“BDSM relies upon and creates trust,” she says.

Lifestyle choices are, of course, within broad boundaries an adult’s private affair. But through the age of 18, teens are the legal responsibility of their parents; I have to wonder how many would be happy to discover Planned Parenthood encouraging their teens to explore “alternative lifestyles” under the guise of “sexual health.” And why is my (hypothetical) child’s sex life, which I should hope he or she didn’t yet have, the business of an abortion mill, anyway?

The other question I have, one that’s not hypothetical at all, is why my tax money is going to support this?

Video at the first link.

RELATED: This isn’t the first time the Left has been caught showing teens how to have safe, alternative sex. Warning, it’s pretty graphic.

via Doug Powers

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare Chronicles: yet more flaming wrecks

February 26, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Jim Geraghty brings us more debris samples from the flaming wreckage that is Obamacare. You can read them for yourself, but here’s one of the best:

But perhaps Maryland’s mess looks good compared to Oregon, where the accusations of lying are piling up:

Carolyn Lawson, the IT expert who tried and failed to build Oregon’s online insurance exchange, complained to an Oregon Health Authority official that she was forced to leave under false pretenses in an email uncovered by the On Your Side Investigators.

Lawson emailed OHA chief operating officer Suzanne Hoffman in January to complain that a reporter had been given her personal cell phone number, and asked that the state “allow me to move on with privacy and grace,” after one of the worst health-care-exchange website launches in the nation left her career in tatters.

“I have done everything I have been asked to do,” Lawson wrote. “I stuck to the talking points even though I protested . . . that they were not accurate. I walked away quietly when asked to resign. I wrote the resignation letter per the script I was given.”



KATU Investigators recently uncovered major accountability issues on Lawson’s watch, and former Republican state representative Patrick Sheehan told KATU earlier this month that he’d gone to the FBI with allegations Cover Oregon project managers initiated the design of dummy web pages to convince the federal government the project was further along than it actually was.

Why do I have a feeling this one is going to end up in court, with Lawson (and probably several others) pleading to turn state’s evidence in return for a deal? Is it perhaps because a bill passed in a corrupt (1) manner can only leave corruption in its wake?

Excellent job, Democrats! You’ve earned every bit of what the public is going to give you in November.

Footnote:
(1) Ethically, if not legally.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


It’s a shame the UK doesn’t have a death penalty

February 26, 2014
Lee Rigby, victim of jihad

Lee Rigby, victim of jihad

For these two brave knights of Allah blood-crazed jihadis richly deserve it:

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were found guilty on 19th December 2013 of killing 25-year-old soldier Lee Rigby, who had served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Adebolajo, 28, was sentenced to a whole life tariff.

Adebowale, 22, was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

The pair were said to be shouting in the court room earlier, screaming “Allah hu Akbar” before they were removed by guards.

Judge Nigel Sweeney delayed sentencing in order to take account of a Court of Appeal ruling on the principle of jail terms for life.

Justice Sweeney said during the sentencing, “You have both gloried in what you have done.” He also stated that the two “butchered” Lee Rigby: “You, Adebolajo, concentrated on his neck. You, Adebowale, concentrated on his torso. What the two of you did resulted in a bloodbath”.

Adebolajo and Adebowale are Muslim converts who knew exactly what they were doing: waging jihad fi sabil Allah — “war for the sake of Allah” — in accordance with the Qur’an:

Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost. 

These murderers took Drummer Rigby from his wife and two-year old child, but will themselves live for decades at the British taxpayer’s expense. Doesn’t seem like justice to me.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Asking for trouble: the Obama-Hagel defense budget

February 25, 2014
U.S. Navy, post-Obama

U.S. Navy, post-Obama

Long ago, the Roman writer Vegetius wrote perhaps the wisest thing anyone has ever written regarding war and peace:

“If you want peace, prepare for war.”

In other words, if your potential foes know you are strong, that you are willing to use force to defend your interests, and that they are not likely to win, then they will not pick a fight with you.

President Obama and his dullard Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, have evidently never read Vegetius:

Stating that a postwar environment was the time to do some shrinking, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a budget proposal Monday that reduces the Army to pre-World War II levels despite “a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States.”

“Our force structure and modernization recommendations are rooted in three realities: first, after Iraq and Afghanistan, we are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations; second, we must maintain our technological edge over potential adversaries; and, third, the military must be ready and capable to respond quickly to all contingencies and decisively defeat any opponent should deterrence fail,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon today.

You can read the details in Bridget Johnson’s article, but, quickly, the Army would be reduced to 450,000 soldiers, the Marine Corps to 182,000, the Navy would be kept at 11 carrier battle groups (unless further cuts are needed), and, among other cuts, the Air Force would eliminate its entire force of A-10 “warthog” ground-support aircraft. I’m sure infantrymen everywhere are thrilled with that one.

Hagel’s opening statement is nonsensical: in one breath he proposes devastating cuts to our military capabilities, while, in the other, he claims (rightly) that the world is growing “more volatile, more unpredictable,” and “more threatening.” When he claims this configuration will allow us to defend ourselves from foes by relying on high tech, he ignores his own assertion that the world is unpredictable. Who knew on September 10th, 2001, in the wake of the Clinton-era defense cuts, that we would find ourselves in a war that required liberating and occupying two nations? While we are leaving Afghanistan and have left Iraq (God help them), we are still at war with a transnational terror group waging holy war against us. What if they should take over another country as a base (Syria? Mali? Iraq, again?)?  Do we then shrug our shoulders and say “No can do?” What if North Korea decides to invade the South, again? Those A-10s will be sorely missed, I guarantee it.

Those are just two among the myriad possible threats we face as dictators grow emboldened by our feckless leadership. When Ronald Reagan launched our military buildup in the 1980s, it wasn’t just to have plenty of ships and tanks on hand, it was to demonstrate a will to resist the world’s tyrants, so that they would make no miscalculation. The Obama-Hagel defense cuts, on the other hand send just the opposite message, one of weakness and a lack of confidence, of opportunity for the enemy because this administration is renouncing our traditional role as guarantor of a liberal world order.

And it’s deliberate. In an essay that now seems truly prescient, Charles Krauthammer made it plain that, for an ideology that sees American power as a problem, not a solution, for the world’s challenges, decline is a choice, one made in sacrifice to the desire to turn the US into a gelded European social democracy:

This is not the place to debate the intrinsic merits of the social democratic versus the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. There’s much to be said for the decency and relative equity of social democracy. But it comes at a cost: diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth.

This affects the ability to project power. Growth provides the sinews of dominance–the ability to maintain a large military establishment capable of projecting power to all corners of the earth. The Europeans, rich and developed, have almost no such capacity. They made the choice long ago to devote their resources to a vast welfare state. Their expenditures on defense are minimal, as are their consequent military capacities. They rely on the U.S. Navy for open seas and on the U.S. Air Force for airlift. It’s the U.S. Marines who go ashore, not just in battle, but for such global social services as tsunami relief. The United States can do all of this because we spend infinitely more on defense–more than the next nine countries combined.

Those are the conditions today. But they are not static or permanent. They require constant renewal. The express agenda of the New Liberalism is a vast expansion of social services–massive intervention and expenditures in energy, health care, and education–that will necessarily, as in Europe, take away from defense spending.

This shift in resources is not hypothetical. It has already begun. At a time when hundreds of billions of dollars are being lavished on stimulus and other appropriations in an endless array of domestic programs, the defense budget is practically frozen. Almost every other department is expanding, and the Defense Department is singled out for making “hard choices”–forced to look everywhere for cuts, to abandon highly advanced weapons systems, to choose between readiness and research, between today’s urgencies and tomorrow’s looming threats.

That was in 2009, and now we’re seeing the inevitable product of that vast expansion of the welfare state. And the world is going to become much more dangerous because of it.

To paraphrase Vegetius, “If you want war, pretend your enemy wants peace.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Senator Rubio makes a fool out Senator Harkin over Cuba

February 25, 2014

This is truly a popcorn-worthy use of your time, my friends.

Background: Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the leading progressives in the Senate, took a trip to Cuba recently. Perfectly legal, members of Congress can go on such fact-finding missions when they wish. The senator must have visited an alternate-Earth Cuba, however, because, when he came back, he had nothing but praise for the Communist dictatorship:

It makes sense that as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Tom Harkin would want to check out how other countries are doing when it comes to public health. So he spent last week in Cuba, where he saw all sorts of things that made quite the impression on him.

Cuba is a “poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours,” the Iowa Democrat said to reporters Wednesday. “Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It’s interesting—their public health system is quite remarkable.”

This was all a bit much for Marco Rubio (R-FL), himself the son of Cuban refugees who had to flee the island to escape that wonderful health system, and so much else. (1) So, in a speech before the Senate, he proceeded to mop the floor with Harkin’s useful idiocy. From the Miami Herald:

This wasn’t some Cold War-era fulmination about Castro’s regime.

Rubio’s speech was about current events: the protests in Venezuela, the Maduro government and the ties it has with the Castros, who repress their own people and helped inspire the suppression in Caracas.

Venezuela is becoming the new Cuba.

For 14 minutes and 16 seconds, Rubio gave the best oration of his political career, speaking largely off the top of his head and with only the barest of notes. Rubio sometimes dripped with sarcasm or simmered with indignation as he made the case to Congress that the United States needs to continue Cuba sanctions and punish Venezuela.

Enjoy:

My only question is at what point did Harkin sneak out in embarrassment?

I know Rubio has lost his luster with conservatives because of his support for the Senate immigration bill last year. Indeed, he’s fallen well-off my own short list, as I came to question his judgment. But, in this speech on Cuba and Venezuela, on the fecklessness of the Obama administration’s policy in the region, and the fatuousness of Castro apologists such as Tom Harkin, all I can say is “Viva, Marco!”

RELATED: More at Hot Air.

Footnote:
(1) If you want to read one of the best books about what life under the Castro brothers has really been like, I recommend Armando Valladares’ memoir, “Against All Hope.” I’m tempted to send Tom Harkin a copy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What would you think if #Obamacare were killing your mother?

February 24, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

For Stephen Blackwood, that horrifying possibility is not hypothetical.

Mr. Blackwood’s mother was diagnosed with cancer at age 49 in 2005. She needs the drug Sandostatin to have a fighting chance at survival. Though her policy with BlueCross/Blue Shield was expensive, it met her needs for a very expensive treatment, paid for the drug, and let her see any physician she needed. She and her family were satisfied with it.

Then along came Obamacare, and Mr. Blackwood’s mother lost her insurance. I’ll let him take the story from here:

The repeated and prolonged phone waits were Sisyphean, the competence and customer service abysmal. When finally she found a plan that looked like it would cover her Sandostatin and other cancer treatments, she called the insurer, Humana, to confirm that it would do so. The enrollment agent said that after she met her deductible, all treatments and medications—including those for her cancer—would be covered at 100%. Because, however, the enrollment agents did not—unbelievable though this may seem—have access to the “coverage formularies” for the plans they were selling, they said the only way to find out in detail what was in the plan was to buy the plan. (Does that remind you of anyone?)

With no other options, she bought the plan and was approved on Nov. 22. Because by January the plan was still not showing up on her online Humana account, however, she repeatedly called to confirm that it was active. The agents told her not to worry, she was definitely covered.

Then on Feb. 12, just before going into (yet another) surgery, she was informed by Humana that it would not, in fact, cover her Sandostatin, or other cancer-related medications. The cost of the Sandostatin alone, since Jan. 1, was $14,000, and the company was refusing to pay.

The news was dumbfounding. This is a woman who had an affordable health plan that covered her condition. Our lawmakers weren’t happy with that because . . . they wanted plans that were affordable and covered her condition. So they gave her a new one. It doesn’t cover her condition and it’s completely unaffordable.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Blackwood’s mother, in order to receive the treatment she needs, has to somehow come up with $14,000 on her own. Her case is currently on appeal with Humana.

And the next time…?

Apologists for the law will of course blame Humana, and, to be sure, I do not excuse them. The incompetence is infuriating, bordering on the Kafkaesque.

Still, none of this would be happening without that anti-constitutional monstrosity of  a law, which the Democratic Party shoved down the throat of a nation that did not want it, that was mostly satisfied with the insurance it had, and wanted them instead to deal with the economic crisis we were then facing.

But the progressives who knew so much better than we what we needed had other plans in mind, and so Stephen Blackwell’s mother now faces the very real, very frightening possibility that she will not be able to find insurance to cover the treatment she needs to stay alive, or that she might have to beggar herself and her family to get it.

Or do without.

Via Roger Kimball, whose final paragraph is worth quoting:

You won’t find chilly, insulated elites like Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama admitting it, but the blood of Mrs. Blackwood and millions of other Americans harmed by their thoughtless legislation is on their heads. Obamacare is a totalitarian scheme masquerading as a humanitarian enterprise.  Its human cost is incalculable, but already, just a few months in, we’re beginning to get a sense of the suffering it will cause.  When your treatment for cancer is disallowed, when your daughter cannot get the medicine she needs, when your mother’s insurance is cancelled, will you still go gently into that good night of liberal sanctimony? Or will you finally realize that when Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” this might not have been the beneficent program The New York Times and other such outlets led you to believe?

The Democrats deserve every bit of electoral hell coming their way, and so much more.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Minimum Wage Laws: Sabotaging the Ladder of Economic Opportunity

February 23, 2014

The only people who truly benefit from minimum wage increases are union bosses, who salivate at the prospect of more dues coming in, money they can use to buy legislators.

International Liberty

If I banged my head against the wall every time politicians advocated bad policy in Washington – which is a tempting impulse, I would have been institutionalized because of brain damage a long time ago.

But it’s difficult to maintain my self control when I think about minimum wage laws.

All sentient human beings should know higher minimum wage laws will mean more unemployment. Just ask them, for instance, what would happen if the minimum wage was raised to $100 per hour. Once they admit that would lead to massive job losses, they’ve accepted the principle and it’s simply an empirical issue of figuring out how many jobs are lost when the minimum wage is $75, $50, $20, $10, $6, etc.

At the risk of stating the obvious, businesses seek to make money and they won’t hire somebody who can only produce $6 of value per hour if…

View original post 277 more words


Tennessee VW workers rejected the UAW because of… racism!

February 23, 2014
Chattanooga VW workers, per MSNBC

Chattanooga VW workers, per MSNBC

But, of course.

According to MSNBC pundit Timothy Noah, workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen assembly plant rejected membership in the United Auto Workers union because they were a bunch of mouthing-breathing, knuckle-dragging, Southern racists:

“The South has always been hostile territory for union organizing. Y’know, as Harold said, the culture war in the South trumps the class war. You already have in a number of Southern states right to work laws, which means that even if they had unionized the plants, those who benefited from the presence of that union wouldn’t have had to pay union dues if they didn’t feel like it. So you’re in an overwhelmingly hostile climate.

And the opposition I gather, through, portrayed this as a kind of northern invasion, a re-fighting of the Civil War. Apparently there are not a lot of, uh, black employees in this particular plant. And so, that kind of, uh, uh, uh, waving of the Confederate flag was an effective strategy.”

Yep, those Johnny Rebs in Tennessee just took a pull on the whiskey jug, channeled the spirit Jeff Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest, and voted down the union, because they wanted to re-fight the Chattanooga campaign. It couldn’t have been because they made a rational economic decision as free people that the union didn’t provide enough benefits to warrant the dues they’d have to pay. Nah. It just had to be because there were so few Blacks there in the workforce that they weren’t afraid to show their real, neo-Confederate faces.

Who’s the bigot again, Timmy?

RELATED: Naturally, the UAW wants the NLRB to overturn the election results and call a new vote. Typical: If you can’t win, vote and vote again until the rubes vote the way they’re told. What do they think this is, the EU?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Lessons of World War I. @BarackObama, take note

February 23, 2014

World War I montage

There’s an excellent (1) article by Victor Davis Hanson (2) on the lessons to be drawn from World War I, or, as I sometimes call it, the 19th century’s collective act of mass suicide (3). As this is the centennial year of the war’s start, we’re naturally seeing and will see all sort of books, articles, and programs about how it happened, whose fault it was, and what we can learn from it.

Hanson’s article deals with the last. After reviewing the standard analyses regarding secret treaties, rigid mobilization plans, and a too-harsh peace, all of which have their flaws, he keys on one that has bearing for our increasingly dangerous world, today — misjudgment:

One of the lessons of the outbreak of World War I is the importance of perceptions. At some point in 1914 the German military and diplomatic community concluded that the country not only could pull off a successful lightning strike against France, but could do so without starting a world war — given various events over the prior decades.

Such flawed thinking is a good reminder that appearances often matter as much as reality in provoking wars. Hitler certainly was suicidal in attacking his de facto partner, the Soviet Union, in June 1941. But for all his crazy ranting about his grievances, Untermenschen, and grand strategy, it was the false perception that the Soviet Union would quickly collapse — given its recent dismal performance in Poland and Finland, and the prior purging of its officer corps, contrasted with the recently successful Blitzkrieg in Poland and Western Europe — that persuaded Hitler to try something so fatally dangerous.

And yet, at the end of both wars, Germany was defeated –crushed, in the latter case– by the nations her leaders has mistakenly deemed weak. War had assumed its role as the final arbiter of the realities of power, at the price of wholesale destruction and millions dead.

For which Hanson sees a rough parallel and lesson for today:

China, like the Westernized Japan of the 1930s, wants influence and power commensurate with its economic clout, and perhaps believes its growing military can obtain both at the expense of its democratic neighbors without starting a wider war. North Korea is not convinced that demanding concessions from South Korea — or simply humiliating it and the U.S. — by threats of war would not work. Iran trusts that the age of the U.S. mare nostrum in the Mediterranean is over, that the Sunni Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms are spent, that once-unquestioned Western guarantees to Israel are now negotiable, that nuclear acquisition is an agreed wink-and-nod obtainable enterprise, and that terrorist appendages can achieve political objectives in the Middle East just as effectively as carrier groups.

Putin dreams that the Russian imperial world of the 1950s can live again, through coercion, Machiavellian diplomacy, and the combined lethargy of the EU and the U.S. — and he often is willing to take some risks to refashion current realities. Failed socialist and Communist states in Latin America nonetheless believe that a distracted or uninterested U.S. no longer cares to make the argument that transparent democratic capitalism is the region’s only hope for the future. The miseries of Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela are apparently no reason for them to feel that they should not extend them to other countries.

And then ties it to our current leadership:

Amid all that, a minor bow and apology here, or an inadvertent pink line and empty deadline there, matters. Gratuitous talk of “reset” and “lead from behind,” coupled with serial scapegoating of past U.S. policies and presidents, massive new debt and vast cuts in defense, also sends a message to our rivals and enemies that occasional gambles and aggressive moves that would usually be seen as stupid and suicidal may not be any more.

World War I became “World War I” when Germany believed that Britain would not fight to support France or honor an ancient treaty with little Belgium. They were wrong, but part of the reason they were wrong was due to the diffident mixed signals being sent by London. The world now has to hope that the diffidence emanating from Washington doesn’t lead to similar misjudgments in Moscow, Beijing, or Tehran.

Footnote:
(1) Kind of a needless adjective, when talking about anything written by VDH.
(2) Why isn’t this man in the Senate, instead of the blithering idiot Boxer? I demand satisfaction!
(3) Update: I should have made this clear, I guess, but, no, I do not believe the First World War was fought in the 19th century. As I explained to a commenter, WWI and the “suicide of the 19th century” refers to the civilization of the “long 19th century,” a term some historians use for political, diplomatic, and cultural themes that were dominant from roughly 1789 to 1914. The chronological 19th century ended at midnight, December 31st, 1900. The world of the 19th century came to an end in August, 1914.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Nevada #Obamacare exchange goes into “disaster recovery” mode as director resigns

February 21, 2014
x

His plan is working

Via Hot Air. After projecting 118,ooo enrollees and getting little more than 20% actually paying for their insurance, in addition to the seemingly ubiquitous “technical glitches,” Nevada’s Silver State Health Insurance Exchange now finds itself without a director, who resigned:

Troubles with Nevada’s glitch-riddled insurance exchange may have claimed their first casualty.

Jon Hager, executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, said Thursday that he will resign from the agency effective March 14.

Hager’s announcement follows a Feb. 13 meeting where the exchange’s board of directors chastised him for cutting March 31 enrollment goals from 118,000 to 50,000. They also told Hager to put together a “disaster recovery plan” to fix technical problems that have plagued the exchange’s Nevada Health Link website since it launched on Oct. 1.

They said alternatives to consider would include firing vendor Xerox or joining the federal exchange.

Hager said in a statement that “it is time to use my newfound knowledge to pursue the opportunities that have been offered to me.”

He did not say what opportunities he’s been offered.

Given Las Vegas’ history, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the opportunities was a ride to a remote location in the desert. One way.

But it’s the highlighted portion that amused me. I would have thought Oregon’s exchange was a likelier candidate, though California’s seems in need of an intervention, too. Hawaii’s has been a wreck, while Forbes called Massachusetts’ exchange the worst-performing  in the nation. Maryland is considering tossing their state exchange into the Potomac.

Perhaps all state exchanges need a “disaster recovery plan,” but what can they do when the disaster is the Affordable Care Act, itself?

Note: I changed “site” to “exchange” in the title, since the problems are with more than the web site, itself.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Washington Post declares @ScottWalker a leading 2016 contender

February 20, 2014
Target

Target

And how do we know that? Because they’ve launched the official smear campaign. From Jim Geraghty:

The story […] points out that of the two criminal investigations mentioned in the lead, one “is closed and found no wrongdoing by the governor” but has “the potential to embarrass him.”

One revelation is that “e-mails show he knew county officials were working closely with campaign officials.” Of course, the problem isn’t county officials and campaign officials “working closely” — the public official’s schedule and other matters require communication between the two offices. The problem is when taxpayer dollars are used for campaign purposes, or if public employees work on campaigns on the taxpayer’s dime. One complaint is that the county officials used private e-mail accounts for political communications with the governor, allegedly to “shield political business from public scrutiny.” But if the county officials had used their official work accounts, wouldn’t they be doing campaign work on a taxpayer-funded and supplied e-mail account? The effort to avoid the scandal is being cited as a scandal.

The other investigation is examining “possible illegal political coordination during the 2012 recall election.” Both investigations were begun by Milwaukee district attorney John Chisolm, a Democrat, and it will not shock you to learn there is no investigation of union activity during the recall.

Read the rest as Jim recites a litany of questionable private political use of public funds and property by the Obama camp, about which the WaPo wrote nary a word. Why, it’s as if they were covering for the Democrats….

Nah. Couldn’t be.

This is the opening salvo in a campaign similar to what was launched recently against Governor Christie in “Bridge-gate” and years ago against Sarah Palin: the Democrat-MSM establishment (but I repeat myself) will reveal whom they fear by whom they attack and they will attempt to destroy that person. After 2008, Governor Palin was savagely attacked in the press to the point that she was ruined as a broadly popular potential candidate. In the New Jersey bridge brouhaha, the press devoted so much coverage to Governor Christie that one would think he had committed mass-murder in downtown Trenton. Coincidentally, he’s also been touted as a leading contender for 2016. What was at worst a regional controversy was treated as a  national scandal, while Benghazi, the IRS, the FCC… Outside of Fox, not so much.

Congratulations, Governor Walker. They fear you!

PS: On the question of 2016, while it’s still way early, I’m generally in the “governors before senators” camp, and I’d be very happy with any from among Perry, Walker, or Jindal, in no real order. And, who knows, a dark horse Republican governor might become a real contender.  We have an excellent bullpen. This isn’t to diss our 2010 or 2012 classes of senators, many of whom have great promise, themselves, but I’d prefer they serve a term or two in the Senate and then as a governor, before running for president, to get some executive experience. I’m a bit wary of electing freshmen senators to such a a tough job, for some reason…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Grim Times for Gun Grabbers

February 20, 2014

The biggest hypocrisy of the gun-grabbers seems to be “Bodyguards for me, no self-defense for thee, peasant!” (Note: My apologies, folks, but the reblogged post doesn’t seem to be showing up, right now. You can find the original here.)

International Liberty

I’ve already explained why leftists must be depressed about their failure to restrict private gun ownership.

They’ve suffered brutal electoral setbacks in Colorado, and more and more states have strengthened the right to keep and bear arms.

Moreover, it’s hard for them to claim their agenda is about safer streets when cops overwhelmingly reject the premises of the anti-gun zealots.

And they also have to deal with something very troubling that further undermines their campaign against the Second Amendment.

That troubling thing is facts and data.

Because the more information that we learn, the more evidence we have – as John Lott often reminds us – that more guns equal less crime.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley peruses some new data from the FBI. Here are some key excerpts.

A new FBI report says that violent crime continues to fall nationwide, which might annoy liberals because…

View original post 648 more words


Forget space exploration; colonizing Mars is un-Islamic

February 19, 2014
Haram.

Haram.

The fatwa is out, and so is colonizing Mars:

The fatwa – or ruling – was issued by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment (GAIAE) in the UAE after the Mars One organisation announced that it would try and establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.

The committee argued that an attempt to dwell on the planet would be so hazardous as to be suicidal and killing oneself is not permitted by Islam.

According to Khaleejtimes.com it said: ‘Such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam. There is a possibility that an individual who travels to planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there, and is more vulnerable to death.’

The astronauts, the committee said, would end up dying for no ‘righteous reason’ and would face the same punishment in the afterlife as someone who’d committed suicide.

The committee, led by Professor Dr Farooq Hamada, said: ‘Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe is an issue agreed upon by all religions and is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Quran: Do
not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.’

The GAIAE has issued around two million Fatwas through its Official Fawa Centre since its inception in 2008.

Funny. We were able to get men to the Moon, let them hang out there a few days, and then bring them back. Several times. We’ve also done pretty well with extended stays at the International Space Station. With technological advances, especially the advent of 3D printing, a permanent base on the Red Planet doesn’t seem to be much of a problem at all. In fact, the Mars One foundation already has plans well underway.

Maybe the GAIAE needs a refresher course in real science. Things have changed a bit since the seventh century.

via Gateway Pundit

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


LA restaurant imposes surcharge to pay for #Obamacare

February 18, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

What is it we like to say, folks? That’s right, “Elections have consequences!” When you vote for a party that insists against all sound reason on passing legislation that raises a business’ cost, said business is likely to pass that cost along to the consumer — us.

It’s called economics, progressives. You should acquaint yourselves with it, sometime.

Anyway, a hot new Los Angeles restaurant, Republique (1), has added a 3% surcharge to all tickets to cover the cost of their new, more expensive, Obamacare-mandated insurance:

Republique has taken heat from patrons for the tacked-on cost, but managing partner Bill Chait told Southern California Public Radio there is a method behind the madness.

The restaurant wanted its 80-plus workers to be full-time workers, but the health care law in the coming years will require large employers to provide health coverage to its full-timers or pay fines.

Although the Obama administration has delayed the mandate for companies of 50 to 99 employees to 2016, critics say the rule is forcing employers to trim payroll or move people to part-time status ahead of time.

From there, employees can fend for themselves on new insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare.

“There’s an inherent incentive to put people in the exchanges and not through the restaurant and their employers if they’re part-time employees,” Mr. Chait told SCPR.

But that wasn’t good enough for Mr. Chait or chef Walter Manzke.

Chait and Manzke decided that they needed full-time staff to provide the best service possible to their customers, and that in turn meant paying more for insurance. And that in its turn lead to the decision to charge customers more. All of these are reasonable business decisions, and I have no problem with Chait and Manzke’s decision. It’s their business, their property. And they seem to have made their peace with it. (2)

(Or maybe they don’t want to tick off their trendy, mostly liberal customers by complaining…)

What I do have a problem with is government forcing them to make a choice that leads to higher prices for consumers, especially when it’s clearer every day that this anti-constitutional monstrosity of a law, which a majority of the nation has never wanted and which was shoved down our throats, is not going to do a bloody thing it promised and in fact is going to make things worse. (For the latest example…)

Obamacare doesn’t just need to be repealed. It needs to be staked and buried under a crossroads at midnight.

Here’s a video report from KCAL 9.

via The Right Scoop.

Footnote:
(1) No menu online? Dudes, really?
(2) You can have fun watching customers argue with each other over the surcharge in their Yelp reviews.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sorry John Kerry, I know the world is round and that global warming is a fraud

February 17, 2014
"Careful! Don't fall over the edge!!"

“Careful! Don’t fall over the edge!!”

So, having spewed thousands of pounds of harmful greenhouse gasses (1) to fly to Indonesia to warn against the evils of Man-caused climate change, Secretary of State Kerry had this to say:

Kerry, who has framed global warming as a centerpiece of his diplomatic agenda, kicked off a tour in Jakarta, Indonesia devoted to climate change.

“We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts,” Kerry told students at the U.S. Embassy-run American Center. “Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits.”

“The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand,” he added. “We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”

I hate to break it to you, Mr. Secretary, but I don’t belong to the Flat Earth Society. Nor do I believe in the Hollow Earth. I haven’t much truck with reading tea leaves or the entrails of animals, either, though I suspect both might have as good or better a track record at prediction than the computer models Warmists use in their forecasts of climate doom.

What I do believe in is empirical science: hypotheses tested against accurately observed evidence with replicable results until they are either falsified or show they can withstand challenge. And empirical science increasingly says the theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming is nothing but a bunch of hot air. Have you forgotten the debunking of Mann’s “hockey stick,” which was shown to be garbage? Or the corruption of the scientific method and peer-review process revealed in the Climategate emails? How about the fact that warming appears to have stopped over 15 years ago? In fact, we may now be on the down-slope of a 60 year cycle.

Is it probable, or even possible, that Man has had some effect on the Earth’s climate? Sure, but the signal is so small as to be unmeasurable compared to the overwhelming influence of the sun and the seas.

The only people with their heads buried in the sand, Mr. Secretary, are you and the other fools who ignore the ample and very clear science that at a minimum casts strong doubts over your precious Green ideology.

Your membership packet in the Flat Earth Society, including a secret decoder ring, is on the way.

PS: A very good book every clear-thinking AGW skeptic should have. And here’s another.

UPDATE: From Jim Geraghty, here’s what our Green Secretary of State will spew into the atmosphere on his week-long trip:

This is part of a six-day Kerry trip through Seoul, South Korea; Beijing, China; Jakarta; Indonesia; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, then back to Washington.

In case you’re wondering, flying first class from Washington to Seoul to Beijing to Jakarta to Abu Dhabi and then back to Washington runs up roughly 12.16 metric tons of carbon dioxideaccording to CarbonFootprint.com, which uses data from the EPA and Department of Energy.

The average American generates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide in a year.

If he’s so worried about CO2 (aka “plant food”), shouldn’t he have done all this by teleconference?

Footnote:
(1) At least in the Cult of Gaia, where it’s known as the Dread Demon Carbon Dioxide.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


In praise of Boehner and McConnell?

February 16, 2014
Not RINOs?

Not RINOs?

It’s been common among my colleagues on the Right to deride House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as “RINOs,”  or “Republicans In Name Only.’ Weak, cowardly leaders who are practically supine before the Democrats, even after taking back the House in the Tea party wave of 2010. And the complaints are understandable: conservatives won a big election then and, since the House represents the people directly, arguably represent a majority of the nation. So why is the debt still going up, why is spending still increasing, and why (among other things) are we still stuck with the albatross of Obamacare? When are we ever going to fight? Throwing up our hands in the air in exasperation, we decide it’s the Washington Republican Establishment that doesn’t want really want reform and we focus our ire on Boehner and McConnell, even hitting the latter with a primary challenger.

“Not so hasty!”, as Tolkien’s Treebeard might say.

At National Review, Charles Cooke (no squish, himself) argues that tactics matter, that passing the continuing resolution last fall and the recent debt-ceiling increase were both wise, and that Boehner and McConnell are playing  a smart long game:

“I’d be willing to risk losing the Senate if we could keep America,” Mitch McConnell’s primary challenger, Matt Bevin, told Glenn Beck this morning. What an astonishingly incoherent and misguided sentence that is. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” asks the King James Bible. A fair question, yes, but politics is a different game altogether, and, in this case, the alternative isn’t an otherworldly victory or spiritual advancement but simply more loss. The question for Bevin must be “for what shall it profit a man if he shall lose another debt-ceiling fight and lose his party’s shot at the Senate as well?” And the answer is “not at all.” If this is what we are to expect from the revolution — a host of nihilistic, suicidal, performance artists who would rather be outside of the control room screaming than inside and in charge — then give me the cynical calculations of a Mitch McConnell any day of the week.

“Any time, you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders,” Ronald Reagan complained in 1964, “we’re denounced as being opposed to their humanitarian goals. It seems impossible to legitimately debate their solutions with the assumption that all of us share the desire to help the less fortunate. They tell us we’re always ‘against,’ never ‘for’ anything.” Could this sentiment not be applied currently to some slices of the Right? After all, pretty much every single Republican agrees on the question of Obamacare. Pretty much every single Republican agrees on taxes and spending and the size of government. Pretty much every single Republican agrees on the debt. They disagree, however, on tactics. And tactics matter. Make no mistake: For all the bluster, the Democratic party and the wider progressive movement is absolutely terrified of Obamacare, which has been a liability for almost five years now, and which is not going away. As I noted yesterday, the majority of the elections this year are going to yield fights between a candidate who wants to repeal the law completely and a candidate who is critical of it in at least one way. There is nothing that the president would like more at this moment than to play last October over again — to paint the GOP as an extreme, risk-taking, rump party holding the country hostage. McConnell and Boehner were right to recognize that handing him that opportunity this year would have been a disaster.

I largely agree, though I believe the “Establishment” could have been more aggressive in the recent debt-ceiling argument by, for example, demanding that insurance companies not get a guaranteed bailout in the event they lose money over Obamacare. That would at least have forced the Democrats to go on record as being in favor of giving public money to one of the most hated industries in the nation.

But, overall, I think Cooke is right. It’s not a cop-out to say we only control one-half of one branch of the government; it’s simply an acknowledgement of reality and that, therefore, our options are limited. While it’s satisfying to give in to the urge to fight-fight-fight at every instance, it profits neither conservatism, the Republican Party, or the nation –to which our ultimate responsibility lies– to fight battles we’re sure to lose, such as the “defund Obamacare” effort of last fall. The will to fight is important, but knowing when to strike is equally so, if the goal is to win.

Politics is an art that requires patience, a willingness to move in increments, rather than having it all now. It’s an art the Left practiced to take over the Democratic Party after the 1960s, and it’s served them well. Populist, Tea Party conservatives have done less well at it, perhaps because of a powerful “Jacksonian” strain in our political DNA — we’re “hasty,” in other words, and we mustn’t in our impatience let the Democrats off the hook they’ve caught themselves on before November’s elections.

If so, then perhaps Cooke is right, and we should praise McConnell and Boehner, rather than throw rotten tomatoes at them.

You may call me RINO, now.

Addendum: To answer the almost-inevitable “Well, Fahrquar, when are we gonna fight? It’ll be more of the same shite after we take over the Senate!”, well, that’s nihilism and I’m not a nihilist. Yes, it’s possible the Beltway Establishment would rather accommodate itself to the expanded progressive “new normal,” but, for now, I’m willing to give them some leash and work like the dickens to give the Republicans the Senate — while electing the most conservative candidates possible, at the same time. Then we test them. With both chambers, they’ll have no excuse for not passing reform budgets, repealing and replacing Obamacare, and fixing entitlements. Place the onus on Obama, let him threaten vetoes: momentum will be on our side and, in the required compromises, we’ll have a much better chance of winning the incremental game.

And if the leadership balks, then we break out the pitchforks and torches.


Flood fight at the Met Office

February 15, 2014

This is a big blow up in one of the bastions of global warming alarmism. Put another way, it’s as if a Catholic cardinal stood up in a conclave and denied Papal infallibility. These are hard times for Warmists. Aww….

Watts Up With That?

No, global warming did NOT cause the storms, says one of the Met Office’s most senior experts

One of the Met Office’s most senior experts yesterday made a dramatic intervention in the climate change debate by insisting there is no link between the storms that have battered Britain and global warming.

View original post 292 more words


Foreign Service officers revolt against lousy Obama appointees

February 14, 2014
Qualifications

Qualifications

In the Catholic Church, the sin was called “simony,” the buying and selling of sacred offices, such as bishoprics. The practice was one of the abuses that lead to the Reformation. Now Foreign Service officers are rising against a secular simony, the Obama administration’s appointment of unqualified ambassadors who also happen to be big campaign donors:

After a string of rocky confirmation hearings for President Obama’s diplomatic nominees, the group representing America’s Foreign Service professionals signaled Friday that it’s had enough.

The organization, in a major rebuke, is now urging that the White House set minimum qualification standards for its ambassadorial nominees.

“The topic of the qualifications of ambassadorial nominees is of great interest to AFSA’s membership,” The American Foreign Service Association said in a statement. “All Americans have a vested interest in ensuring that we have the most effective leaders and managers of U.S. embassies and missions advancing U.S. interests around the globe.”

The American Foreign Service Association has long argued that ambassadorial nominees should, for the most part, come from the ranks of career professionals — as opposed to the ranks of top-dollar political donors. But the organization is taking its concerns to a new level, announcing Friday that it will propose new guidelines for “the necessary qualifications and qualities” for diplomatic candidates.

The statement said the group has been “closely monitoring” recent confirmation hearings.

AFSA has good reason to be upset. Administrations have typically operated under a 70-30 rule, under which political appointees (as opposed to professionals) were kept to around thirty percent of the available posts. Some went a little higher, others a little lower. The Obama administration, on the other hand, has broken all records: per AFSA, fully 53% of all appointees have been political, the trend rocketing during the second term.

If they were qualified, the practice would contemptible and venal, but tolerable. But many of these appointees are spectacularly unqualified:

  • Senator Max Baucus, appointed to represent us in China, admitted he was “no real expert” on China. This is the same China that holds most of our debt and is a growing military rival in the Pacific. The only reason Team Smart Power yanked him out of the Senate (from which he was retiring) was to try to save the seat for the Democrats in the coming midterms.
  • Hotelier and mega-bundler George Tsunis was so ignorant of of Norway, to which he had been appointed, that he managed to offend the Norwegian government at his confirmation hearing.
  • Noah Mamet, another bundler, admitted under questioning that he’s never been to Argentina, one of the most important countries in South America and which appears to be heading into a crisis. Maybe they should have asked if he could find it on a map.
  • And Colleen Bell, an Obama bundler and soap opera producer appointed to be our ambassador to Hungary, a nation whose democratic institutions are under attack by rising fascism, couldn’t describe our strategic interests in this NATO ally. Senator McCain utterly humiliated her in her hearing.

AFSA, which is not a union per se and has traditionally kept a low profile, is making the unprecedented demand that ambassadorial appointments meet some minimum qualifications. One would think this would already be true, but not apparently in Chicago-on-the-Potomac.

What’s next? Appointing Obama’s favorite horse?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Ninth Circuit overturns California gun law

February 13, 2014

law constitution bill of rights

When even the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says progressive gun-grabbers have gone too far, it’s something to take note of:

The court concludes that California’s broad limits on both open and concealed carry of loaded guns — with no “shall-issue” licensing regime that assures law-abiding adults of a right to get licenses, but only a “good cause” regime under which no license need be given — “impermissibly infringe[] on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.” The Ninth Circuit thus joins the Seventh Circuit, and disagrees with the Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits. (State courts are also split on the subject.)

“Shall issue” vs. “may issue” has been a big bone of contention among gun rights advocates here in California, as high-handed county sheriffs and city police chiefs have used the distinction to deny otherwise law-abiding citizens their right to carry a weapon.

Given the differences between the various circuit courts, expect this one to go to the federal Supreme Court.

PS: The Washington Post genuinely upgraded the paper by letting Ezra Klein go and adding Prof. Eugene Volokh, founder of The Volokh Conspiracy.

via PJM.

RELATED: More analysis. What next?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)