Monday, December 31, 2012

Occupy Wall Street activist arrested for weapons, explosives

Morgan Gliedman
The New York Post reports:
The privileged daughter of a prominent city doctor, and her boyfriend — a Harvard grad and Occupy Wall Street activist — have been busted for allegedly having a cache of weapons and a bombmaking explosive in their Greenwich Village apartment.

Morgan Gliedman — who is nine-months pregnant — and her baby daddy, Aaron Greene, 31, also had instructions on making bombs, including a stack of papers with a cover sheet titled, “The Terrorist Encyclopedia,’’ sources told The Post yesterday.

People who know Greene say his political views are “extreme,” the sources said.
In addition to being an Occupy Wall Street activist, Aaron Greene is reported to have had "five prior run-ins with the police, with the charges including, assault, and weapons possession."  The weapons found in their apartment allegedly include "a commercial replica of a grenade launcher; a modified 12 gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun; ammo; and nine high-capacity rifle magazines."  The explosives found include HMTD which is sufficiently powerful that it led police to evacuate several buildings.

The reason for the police visit to the Greene and Gliedman apartment was that Gliedman, daughter of privilege and graduate of exclusive schools, was wanted for "alleged credit-card theft."

Greene is not the only would-be Occupy bomber.  Last April, the FBI arrested five Occupy Cleveland members involved in a plot that included a plan to blow up a bridge. 

Hat tip: Instapundit.

PREVIOUSLY on the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement:
OWS opposes "the mere existence of private property"
NYPD identifies suspect in Occupy Wall Street rape
Occupy Portland explains its rape policy
Photos from Occupy San Francisco: the "general strike" that wasn't
Occupiers trash San Francisco restaurant
OWS: liberally anti-Semitic
Occupy Portland mob smashes windows
Occupy movement demands banks provide free money
OccupyFail: Corporations as people
Occupy Oakland: the devolution

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Absurdity of the Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times has a lengthy article, written by   on the resignation of Lisa Jackson as EPA Administrator.   It includes lots of fluff, such as "Jackson said in her statement that 'I leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction.'"  The article, however, is most notable for what it omits.

One thing not mentioned is the recent exposure of Jackson's possibly criminal use of secret email accounts to hide her EPA correspondence from FOIA and her consequent need to get out of Washington before a serious investigation can begin.  As this appears to be why she is resigning, the omission of it from the LA Times article is astonishing.

Also omitted is her suppression of science that disagreed with her  political advocacy of global warming and the imposition of CO2 regulations which is widely touted as her signature achievement. 

Some news articles contain outright falsehoods.  Others, like this one, mislead by omission of the key facts.  In either case, the legacy news media is not to be trusted.

PREVIOUSLY on news bias:
CBS News in deep denial about bias
UCLA Study: news is biased left
If the news media is so biased, why did they turn on Obama? 
Outright lies: media claim Ann Romney referred to a black ABC News reporter as "you people."
CBS Chief WH Correspondent cannot hide liberal slant
News media edit tape in order to lie about George Zimmerman
How reporters see the tea party vs. the occupiers
How reporters see the tea party
ABC news: 14 years of liberalism reviewed
CNN's anti-semite
At Cox Newspapers, they took this story seriously
How reporters avoid reality
News reporters and the liberal echo chamber in action
Salon has a sexual fantasy about Palin as a dominatrix
If only hate could change false to true
Ignorance at McClatchy Newspapers
Faking the news
University study finds Fox more fair and balanced than ABC/CBS/NBC
News media credibility at lowest level since polling began
Living in a Fantasy World, II
17% of US voters claim news media unbiased
Unbiased MSM gets its "truth" from Media Matters for America

Friday, December 28, 2012

ASPCA paid circus $9.3 million to settle lawsuit

Back in 2000, animal rights groups, including the ASPCA, sued the producer of the Ringling Brothers Circus for cruelty to elephants.  The only problem was that the circus, as far as the court could tell, treated its elephants well.  The ASPCA's case was based on the eyewitness testimony of Tom Rider.  The case collapsed when it was exposed that the ASPCA has paid Rider for his testimony.  CNN provides more details on why the activists were forced to pay such a large settlement:
A circus producer said Friday that an animal rights group has paid it $9.3 million to settle two federal court cases claiming elephant abuse.

Feld Entertainment, Inc., trumpeted the settlement with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as a victory for its Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

"These defendants attempted to destroy our family-owned business with a hired plaintiff who made statements that the court did not believe," said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, in a statement.

"Animal activists have been attacking our family, our company, and our employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses," Feld said. "This settlement is a vindication not just for the company but also for the dedicated men and women who spend their lives working and caring for all the animals with Ringling Brothers in the face of such targeted, malicious rhetoric."

The ASPCA was one of several animal rights groups that sued Feld Entertainment in 2000, alleging that circus elephants were abused.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Democrats embrace open racism

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson reviews (via Instapundit) some of the open racism that is now acceptable on the left:
Here is actor Jamie Foxx joking recently about his new movie role: "I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that?" Reverse white and black in the relevant ways and even a comedian would hear national outrage. Instead, his hip "Saturday Night Live" audience even gave Foxx applause.

Race-obsessed comedian Chris Rock tweeted on the Fourth of July, "Happy white peoples (sic) independence day ..."

Actor Samuel L. Jackson, in a recent interview, sounded about as unapologetically reactionary as you can get: "I voted for Barack because he was black. ... I hope Obama gets scary in the next four years."

No one in Hollywood used to be more admired than Morgan Freeman, who once lectured interviewers on the need to transcend race. Not now, in the new age of racial regression. Freeman has accused Obama critics and the Tea Party of being racists. He went on to editorialize on Obama's racial bloodlines: "Barack had a mama, and she was white – very white, American, Kansas, middle of America ... America's first black president hasn't arisen yet."

Freeman's racial-purity obsessions were echoed on the CNN website, where an ad for the network's recent special report on race included a crude quote from three teen poets: "Black enough to be a n-----. White enough to be a good one." ....

ESPN sports commentator Rob Parker blasted Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III last week for admirably stating that he did not wish to be defined by his race rather than by his character: "He's black, he does his thing, but he's not really down with the cause." Parker added: "He's not one of us. He's kind of black, but he's not really like the kind of guy you really want to hang out with." ....

Attorney General Eric Holder, our nation's top prosecutor, has referred to African-Americans as "my people" and called Americans "a nation of cowards" for not focusing on race relations on his terms. [Emph. added]
Dr. Hanson also cites open racism from supposed Christians such as Rev. Joseph Lowery and Rev.  Jeremiah Wright and Obama's injection of race into the Henry Louis Gates and Trayvon Martin affairs.

The open issue is how anyone can bridge this divide and how our government can function effectively with important groups preaching open hatred for fellow citizens.

In the best of times, democracy is a fragile institution and these are not the best of times.

PREVIOUSLY on racism:
“They’re starting to realize white people are human beings just like us.”
Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom says all whites will go to Hell
Former Mayor Marion Barry declares that Asians are "dirty"
Dem. Rep. says Rep. Allen West resembles a hyena
Is it racist to require a photo ID to buy drain cleaner?
NY Times: Midwesterners have low-sloping foreheads
Don't understand what was said? Then it must be racist!
California offers student tutoring but only for students belonging to the right races
For liberals, "affirmative action" means "keep the Asians out"
Occupy Portland protesters hurl racist taunts at an African American
Democrat: "Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men"
The subtleties of White Privilege
Racist cupcakes
Is witch doctor image racist?
Obama ally: "I hate white people...."
“You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”
"The city wasn't ready to hire a white police chief."
A prominent black politician says the white incumbent cannot properly represent black voters.
San Franciscans discriminate against blacks.
"He's not black and he can't represent me, that's just the bottom line."

Democrat pleads guilty to vote fraud

Rep. Smith, D-MA
The Boston Globe reports:
A Democratic state representative from Everett who served on an election law committee is resigning his seat and will plead guilty to voter fraud charges in federal court in ­Boston, authorities said Thursday.

Representative Stephen “Stat” Smith, 57, faces up to two years in prison, and prosecutors will recommend a six-month sentence, according to his plea agreement. Smith has also agreed to vacate his seat, effective Jan. 1, and not seek elective office for five years from the date of his sentencing. A plea date has not been set.
According to an FBI press release, State Rep. Smith (D-Massachusetts) schemed with others to use the absentee ballot system both to steal votes from unsuspecting legal voters and to submit fraudulent votes from unqualified voters.
Smith is alleged to have cast invalid absentee ballots in support of his races for public office for voters who were ineligible or otherwise unaware of ballots being cast in their names. Smith submitted fraudulent Massachusetts Official Absentee Applications, which resulted in the issuance of absentee ballots. Smith was able to obtain many of the absentee ballots and cause them to be delivered to the ineligible voters, who would then cast votes despite lacking any eligibility to do so, or Smith would cast the ballots himself. For those absentee ballots issued to unaware voters, one or more government officials assisted Smith in intercepting the ballots prior to their delivery to the voters’ addresses, and those ballots were cast for the unaware voters.
From his 100% rating from the AFL/CIO and a D- from the NRA, Smith's politics appear to be on the left-end of the Democrat party.

Meanwhile, liberals, such as Jon Stewart, publicly claim that incidents of vote fraud are as rare as Unicorns.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of vote fraud:
Judge says there was enough vote fraud to overturn an election
Four Democrats plead guilty to vote fraud
Obama Admin supports vote fraud 
Is it racist to require a photo ID to buy drain cleaner?
2 Democrats plead guilty in vote fraud case
Invitation to fraud? In California, SEIU union members count the votes
How vote fraud is done in New Jersey
Obama DoJ: vote fraud helps "increase turnout"
More vote fraud: New York State
How to buy a vote
NJ Dems demand equal rights for fraudulent voters
Nevada accuses ACORN of 39 felonies
Three Obama supporters plead guilty
Another ex-ACORN worker pleads guilty
An insider's guide to vote fraud
Vote fraud update
Absentee ballot and dishonest elections
Fraud and Deceit in 2004

Thursday, December 20, 2012

This is what communism looks like

From Michael Ramirez:

The left likes to claim that its ideas are "new." Communism, however, dates back at least to Plato's Republic.  The results are always depressingly the same.

Calling his bluff

From Hope n' Change:

Everyone complains about Speaker Boehner's negotiating style but, his offer of Plan B (increase taxes only on millionaires) along with Obama's reaction to it does provide clarity.

You can read more about Plan B at the Washington Examiner.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Obama's continuing incoherence

Pres. Obama spoke yesterday at the Interfaith Prayer Vigil Address at Newtown High School.  After reflecting on the horrific murders at Newtown and other shootings across the country, the President declares:
We can’t tolerate this anymore.  These tragedies must end.  And to end them, we must change.  We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true.  No single law -- no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.  Surely, we can do better than this.
He says that we "can't tolerate" these tragedies and they "must end."  That sounds clear and definitive.  But wait, just a couple sentences later, he  admits that we cannot "prevent every senseless act of violence,"  and thus these acts will not end, and we will have to tolerate them.

For a speech that liberals are comparing to the Gettysburg Address, shouldn't it at least be coherent?

Jacob Sullum says that the speech reveals the magical thinking of gun controllers (hat tip: Instapundit).  Obama's speech, however, is not even consistently magical.

Study: lower taxes lead to prosperity

According to the Kansas Policy Institute:
The 10 states with the highest rank in the State Business Tax Climate Index also dramatically outperform the rest of the country. They win handily on private-sector GDP growth (61% versus 42%), gained 6.1% private jobs while other states declined by 2.8%, and gained 5.5% from domestic migration at the expense of other states, which lost 1.2% between 2000 and 2009.
 The bottom 40 states had much higher spending on government services:
States in the bottom 40 of the Tax Foundation's Business Tax Climate Index (which assesses business, personal, property and other taxes) spent 40% more per resident.
Not only does such spending not lead to prosperity, it appears to inspire residents, as per the net migration numbers above, to move away to states with lower-spending and better economic opportunities.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Unintended Consequences

Politicians are fond of "sin taxes," those taxes which are intended to discourage some "bad" consumption while lining government coffers with money.   Since Democrats like taxes and they like controlling people, this is a two-fer.  The ever-liberal LA Times heralds a new study that offers "some fresh support" for sin taxes:
The study, published online by PLoS Medicine, is a meta-analysis of 32 other studies that use statistical modeling to gauge the impact of various tax and subsidy policies. Overall, it found that consumers buy less of something when the price goes up and they buy more of it when the price goes down.
This is, of course, just the Law of Supply and Demand but, to Democrats, this is new information (click for study).

Interestingly, the study found that "sin taxes" on "junk food" were ripe with unintended consequences:
Three studies in the meta-analysis attempted to make a connection between taxes and health, and their combined estimate was that a tax on dairy foods high in saturated fat would lead to an increase in death due to cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. In addition, taxes targeting junk foods in general had the unintended consequence of causing more deaths due to stroke and cardiovascular disease.

In both cases, the study authors wrote, it wasn’t that eating less saturated fat or junk food made people unhealthy; whatever they were eating instead of the taxed foods was to blame.  [Emph. added]
In the end, the LA Times was not bothered by the fact that the study on which they were reporting concluded that sin taxes can backfire.  The reporter, responded by mocking opponents of sin taxes:
Proposals to tax unhealthful foods are routinely vilified as “nanny state” initiatives that impinge on consumers’ right to eat as many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos as they’d like, and wash them down with gallons of Orange Crush.
Newspaper circulation is in decline and reporters wonder why.

PREVIOUSLY on Democrats and food
Food shortage: US now importing corn
Farmers protest against artificial drought
Women dies from eating only the purest "health foods"
herbal medicines to die for
Foodborne disease declines: NY Times blames "hard core" "conservatives"
Liberal: "In the 1970s the world will undergo famines"

California's out-of-control spending

A Bloomberg report highlights state employee compensation in several states but California's is particularly out-of-balance:
The numbers are even larger in California, where a state psychiatrist was paid $822,000, a highway patrol officer collected $484,000 in pay and pension benefits and 17 employees got checks of more than $200,000 for unused vacation and leave. The best-paid staff in other states earned far less for the same work, according to the data.
Bloomberg lays some of the blame on Governor Gray Davis (D-CA):
Nine years ago, California Democrat Gray Davis became the first U.S. governor in 82 years to be recalled by voters. The state’s 20 million taxpayers still bear the cost of his four years and 10 months on the job.

Davis escalated salaries and benefits for 164,000 state workers, including a 34 percent raise for prison guards, the first of a series of steps in which he and successors saddled California with a legacy of dysfunction. Today, the state’s highest-paid employees make far more than comparable workers elsewhere in almost all job and wage categories, from public safety to health care, base pay to overtime.
To be fair to Gov. Davis, it was Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) deserves some blame too.  He "granted state workers collective-bargaining rights during his first tenure as governor more than three decades ago."

Some liberal friends of mine like to quote Albert Einstein's dictum: "Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them."  If they took that quote seriously, they would be calling for all Democrats here to resign from office, at least until responsible adults could get the state's budget under control.

 PREVIOUSLY on California politics:
California Democrats protect child-molesters
California politicians arrested for soliciting bribes
California's war on private property
The Klamath river dams: whistleblower exposes Obama junk science
Stanford: California households owe an average $30,500 for unfunded public employee pension debt
San Franciscans protest loss of property rights
California 2nd worst state for business climate
Reluctant California bureaucrats are shamed into saying the Pledge of Allegiance
How to use environmental regulations to stifle competition
Politicized Science, the delta smelt, and California farmers

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Three reasons why Right-to-Work laws are to be celebrated

Workers in Michigan have three reasons to celebrate:

1) Right to work laws give workers more individual freedom and that, of course, is the moral thing to do.

2) Right to work laws mean an end for forced political contributions. Democrats will have to get their money only from willing donors.

3) Right to work laws help the economy grow.  The chart below, from Prof. M. J. Perry, shows that, since the recession ended, twice as many jobs are created in right-to-work states as in union states.  This is true even though the population of union states is much larger than right-to-work states: 
PREVIOUSLY on unions:
Invitation to fraud? In California, SEIU union members count the votes
Gov. Christie on New Jersey and the astounding greed of its teacher's union
California Teacher's Union protects child molesters
The Occupy Movements: protesters paid by unions to disrupt CPAC
Study: teacher's unions are bad for education
Teacher's unions, or how to get a job teaching in California even if you are illiterate
Union corruption in Los Angeles

Incentives really do work, even for Democrats

When they advocate higher taxes and regulations on job creators, Democrats pretend that incentives are irrelevant.  In real life, Democrats know better:
  1. Google CEO Eric Schmidt is a long time Obama supporter but Google uses an impressively complicated series of shell companies to hide its corporate profits from taxation.
  2. Former Senator John Kerry, rumored to be a possible cabinet pick in Obama's second term, happily hid his 76-foot yacht from Massachusetts taxes until his subterfuge was publicly exposed.
  3. Warren Buffett is a prominent Obama supporter who calls for higher taxes on the rich.  Yet, he has arranged for most of his estate to escape taxation.
Apparently, the cognitive dissonance causes them no pain.

PREVIOUSLY on Democrats and cognitive dissonance:
Democrats flee from consequences of Democrat policies

Friday, December 07, 2012

Democrat-on-the-street discusses the "fiscal cliff"

Once, again, evidence that the average Democrat has no idea what his party is actually doing in Washington:

Hat tip: LMAO.

Hillary Clinton makes a discovery

H. Clinton
There seem to be two kinds of liberals:
  1. Those who slowly learn from experience.
  2. Those who do not learn from experience.
Put Hillary Clinton in the former category.  Four years after her nitwit call for a "reset" in US-Russia relations, she has discovered why the relations were chilly in the first place.  The Financial Times reports:
The US is trying to prevent Russia from recreating a new version of the Soviet Union under the ruse of economic integration, Hillary Clinton warned on Thursday.

“There is a move to re-Sovietise the region,” the US secretary of state told a news conference in Dublin hours before going into a meeting with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. ....

“But let's make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.”
It could be worse.  It could have taken her eight years to catch on.

PREVIOUSLY on the Obama administration's foreign policy:
Why has respect for America fallen in Egypt?
The Sgt. Schultz administration: Obama claims ignorance as his defense
What Obama wants you to believe about Benghazi
Is Obama using Carter's speechwriters?
"Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them," say Iranians
Obama gets an education
Krauthammer on a roll
Obama's go-it-alone foreign policy: Russian edition
Obama alienates Germany
Jimmy Carter's lasting influence, II
Obama's charm offensive not working
Obama snubs Brazil
Obama insults Britain
On Iran's nuclear program, Obama abandons cooperation with Europe
Obama antagonizes India
Jimmy Carter on N. Korea's nuclear bomb tests
Jimmy Carter's Lasting Influence

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Deep denial at CBS News

TVNewser interviewed CBS CEO Leslie Moonves:
“I don’t think you have to succeed by being partisan. Obviously Fox and MSNBC have been successful by taking that road,” Moonves said. “God forbid that is the only news on television where everyone has decided that we are taking a side and that is the only way to go, and people will watch with whatever they agree with, and get the polls they only want to agree with. I think partisan news, hopefully, is not our future. It won’t be at CBS.”
Any thought that CBS News is non-partisan can be quickly dispelled by remembering RatherGate, reading Bernard Goldberg's book, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, or reviewing the CBS-related archives at NewsBusters.

Hat tip: Ed Driscoll.

PREVIOUSLY on denial:
European policy based on denying reality
Liberals, denial, and Iranian nuclear ambitions
Obama pretends Islamic extremism doesn't exist
Dems in denial over communist/Islamist intentions
Sen. Kerry and holocaust denial
Of holocausts and denial
9-11: Denial is comfortable, II
Islamic fascism: Denial is comfortable

Piers Morgan explains the liberal view of the 2nd Amendment

Author/journalist Carol Roth responds.  Enjoy:
Hat tip: Jason.

PREVIOUSLY on guns and gun control:
Liberal paradox: gun sales surge but not violence!
News report: Gun crime down "despite" increase in gun sales
Liberal imagines a wild tiger attack.  What to do?
After gun control comes knife control

Monday, December 03, 2012

Jeffrey Hillman's boots and why liberalism is doomed to fail

Right now, the country's most famous pair of boots is the pair that NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo bought to give to Jeffrey Hillman, a bare-footed homeless man (photo).

Now, just days later, Jeffrey Hillman is again going barefoot.  Mr. Hillman explained in an interview with the NY Times:
“Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” Mr. Hillman said in an interview on Broadway in the 70s. “I could lose my life."
One has to conclude that charity is difficult.  Officer DePrimo may spend his days pounding the streets of New York City but even he finds his efforts to help the homeless stymied by the complexity of their situation.  This just makes ever less plausible the claims of liberals that welfare state bureaucrats have any insight at all into how to help the poor.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

"Who gave the order to let my son die?" (a protest song)

Chris Cassone sings in memory of Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Ambassador Chris Stevens:

Via TheOtherMcCain and Instapundit.

Proceeds on sale of the song (click here) go to the SEAL NSW Family Foundation.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Science versus the UN: 125 scientists expose UN's fraudulent claims

In an open letter to H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, over 125-plus scientists call him to account for his false climate claims such as that “Extreme weather due to climate change is the new normal" and that tropical storm Sandy shows "the reality of climate change." The scientists reply:
We the undersigned, qualified in climate-related matters, wish to state that current scientific knowledge does not substantiate your assertions.
Read their whole letter here. Just to pick one point that they make:
The U.K. Met Office recently released data showing that there has been no statistically significant global warming for almost 16 years....   The NOAA “State of the Climate in 2008” report asserted that 15 years or more without any statistically-significant warming would indicate a discrepancy between observation and prediction. Sixteen years without warming have therefore now proven that the models are wrong by their creators’ own criterion.
CO2 is a greenhouse and human-caused emissions of it should cause warmer temperatures.  Global warmists, however, take that a step further and claim that man-made CO2 has a dominating effect on the environment.  There is no evidence to support that claim.

Scientists who signed this letter include such notables as William M. Gray, who is often referred to as the father of seasonal hurricane forecasting, and Princeton Physics Professor William Happer.

Bill Whittle for President

If you watch this 15 minute video, it is clear that Mr. Whittle will not be our next president but that America would be a better country if he was:

Hat tip: Leonard.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to raise money by email: one of the things Obama did right

When you look at how full your spam folder is and how many canned emails you likely delete without reading it may surprise you that, according to Businessweek (hat tip: Larry), "[m]ost of the $690 million Obama raised online came from fundraising e-mails."  What makes people open and respond to mass emails?  The Obama campaign apparently studied the issue in great detail.  They sent out emails to test groups changing subject lines and formatting and carefully studying how which emails generated the most cash. 
It would be interesting to have a comparable table for Romney emails but I don't have one.

The subject lines "I will be outspent" and "some scary numbers" were the big winners, generating five times as much cash as "the one thing the polls got right..."  The above table seems to lead to the conclusion that Democrats respond much more strongly to appeals to anxiety ("scary numbers") than to appeals to reason.

It is important to know your audience.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Obamacare as a bureaucratic nightmare

Many businesses have started to deal with the reality of Obamacare.  Managers at Applebees, Papa John's Pizza, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Denny's have announced plans to freeze hiring, reduce hours, layoff employees, or increase prices all because of Obamacare.  But that is just one aspect of Obamacare.  Another is what it does to physicians. Peter Weiss M.D., F.A.C.O.G., is the Director and Founder of The Rodeo Drive Women's Health Center.  Writing at PJmedia, he explains the bureaucratic nightmare that it creates for both physicians and patients:
I wish I had the chutzpah of the people who wrote Obamacare. What they did not tell you, and I am, is that it covers absolutely nothing more than the bare minimum.

I have now posted a notice in my office and each exam room stating exactly what Obamacare will cover for those yearly visits. Remember Obama promised this as a free exam — no co-pay, no deductible, no charge. That’s fine and dandy if you are healthy and have no complaints. However, we are obligated by law to code specifically for the reason of the visit. An annual exam is one specific code; you can not mix this with another code, say, for rectal bleeding. This annual visit covers the exam and “discussion about the status of previously diagnosed stable conditions.” That’s the exact wording under that code — insurance will not cover any new ailment under that code.

If you are here for that annual exam, you will not be covered if you want to discuss any new ailment or unstable condition. I cannot bait and switch to another code — that’s illegal. We, the physicians, are audited all the time and can lose our license for insurance fraud.
Nonsense like this used to be something that only Europeans had to put up with.  Thanks to Obama, it is moving to America.

Obamacare gets still more intrusive:
[D]octors will be obligated — that’s right, obligated — to talk to you about things you may have no interest or need to talk about.

You may just want to have a pap smear or check your cholesterol. However, I am now mandated by the government to talk to you about your weight, exercise, family life, smoking, sexual abuse(!), and even to ask if you wear seat belts. And I am mandated to record your answers.

I am a physician. But I need to tell you to wear a seat belt and then record your answer.
Big Brother has come to America

Hat tip: Instapundit and Instapundit.

PREVIOUSLY on Obamacare:
How Obama bought support for Obamacare from the big Pharmaceutical companies
How to get health care in a socialist country: Swedish man fakes stroke to get approved for an X-ray
AstroTurf for Obamacare
Preview of Obamacare: Medicare loses $375 million to fraudulent billings by a single physician
Obama Admin defunds a piece of Obamacare
Government health care is something to die for
AP: Obamacare increasingly unpopular
Obamacare forcing Boeing to cut back employee healthcare coverage
Special privileges: McDonald's and 29 other companies get waivers from Obamacare
Obamacare threatens health coverage for fast-food workers
ObamaCare threatens child-only insurance
Medical insurance prices rising due to ObamaCare
Obamacare endangers student health
Obama's health care and economic policies explained
Obamacare may raise insurance costs by 54%
Harvard economist explains why Obamacare will raise premiums
HHS says Obamacare will cause costs to go up and cause employers to drop coverage
The dawning of the reality of Obamacare
Consumers outsmart Massachusetts' version of Obamacare
Obamacare threatens high tech jobs
Obamacare and trillions of dollars of unfunded mandates
The fraud of Obamacare, as seen from the left
Pelosi: Pass Obamacare so artists can quit their day jobs
Britain's Obamacare: Hospital patient dies of thirst as nurses ignore his pleas for water
Nobel Laureate economist explains why socialized medicine always fails
Rep. Ryan explains the dishonesty of Obamacare economics

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's a paradox! Homelessness in San Francisco

This is a couple years old but it is a worthy addition to my "it's a paradox" collection.  A news article in the San Francisco Weekly reports:
Despite its spending more money per capita on homelessness than any comparable city, its homeless problem is worse than any comparable city's. 
"Despite"?  Only a liberal would think that the generous handouts that the city provides would be a reason for homeless to move elsewhere.  Homeless settle in San Francisco because of, not despite, the city's generosity.

Hat tip: Ed Driscoll.

 PREVIOUSLY on the paradoxes that vex liberal minds:
Paradox: gun sales up despite politicians' threats to ban gun sales
Paradox: student test scores improve despite school funding decrease
News report: Gun crime down "despite" increase in gun sales
It's a paradox: Congress unpopular "despite record"
"Ironically," conservatives and their children are happier
It's a paradox!: Crime down when criminals are in jail.
Paradox: crime is down (again)
Paradox: few fraudulent voters if voters are required to have IDs

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How much will Sequestration reduce the US Federal deficit?

Unless the lame duck Congress acts, a series of automatic budget cuts, part of the Budget Control Act (BCA) and called "sequestration," will go into effect.  The (left-wing) Center for American Progress calls these budget cuts "draconian."  Former Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta calls the sequestration cuts "devastating."

One might think that such devastating and draconian cuts would solve the problem of skyrocketing US debt.  No such luck.  Using numbers from the Bipartisan Policy Center, Veronique de Rugy has plotted what the publicly-held Federal debt, as a percent of GDP, would look like, both without ("pre-BCA") and with ("post-BCA") sequestration.  The difference is not large:

The dotted lines in red mark when the publicly-held Federal debt reaches the danger level of 100% of GDP.  Sequestration delays that mark by just two years.

The underlying problem, of course, is that sequestration does nothing to fix the entitlement mess.

Monday, November 19, 2012

WSJ: Business investment stalling

Obamanomics is still not working.  According to a Wall Street Journal survey, business investment is declining:
Half of the nation's 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders have announced plans to curtail capital expenditures this year or next, according to a review by The Wall Street Journal of securities filings and conference calls.

Nationwide, business investment in equipment and software—a measure of economic vitality in the corporate sector—stalled in the third quarter for the first time since early 2009. Corporate investment in new buildings has declined.
 PREVIOUSLY on Obamanomics and how it differs from economics:
Germany moves to the supply side
The Obama first term debt: $70,000 per family
Obamanomics: maximize the uncertainty
Obamanomics: its intellectual foundations explained
Strangling business is no way to create jobs
CEOs to Obama: Get out of the way!
Survey of CEOs: Obamanomics is still the problem
A CEO explains how Obama's policies damage the economy
CEO: businesses are "frightened to death" of Obamacare and Obama's regulatory overreach

Obama says: come to the USA, go on welfare

Do you want to come to the USA because it is the land of opportunity? Obama would prefer if you came here for the welfare. The official US government website, has a page devoted to explaining the welfare benefits that immigrants or naturalized citizens can receive:

On the right hand side above, you can see help for becoming a naturalized citizen.  In the center of the page is a list of welfare programs that you might be able to qualify for.  Don't speak English?  No problem.  Just click on their link to get a full list of welfare programs written in Spanish.

If you have a hard time reading the screenshot above, the text in the center column, with links, reads as follows:
Depending on your immigration status, length of time in the United States, and income, you may be eligible for some federal benefit programs. Government assistance programs can be critically important to the well-being of some immigrants and their families. Frequently, however, there is a lack of information about how to access such benefits. Benefit programs can be complicated and you may be given misleading information about how they operate.
The links below will lead you to official government websites describing a range of assistance programs.
Another page on the website advertises "free public education" for immigrants.

Most American citizens have ancestors who were immigrants.  They, however, came here (1) legally and (2) not because the US advertised generous welfare.

PREVIOUSLY on immigration, legal and illegal:
Tax fraud and illegal immigrants
How profitable is it to be an illegal?
California Supreme Court rules: Illegals get in-state tuition
Illegal immigration, Asian style
Minutemen vs. May Day protesters in San Francisco; Two arrested
Obama policy: give citizenship to convicted terrorists
Feds cede border to smugglers. Warn citizens to stay away
Obama administration overturns rule of law on immigration
Amazing: NY Times editors thought illegal immigration was legal
California pays for schooling of Mexicans who live in Mexico and only cross the border to go to school
Political bias on Spanish-language TV network Univision
British pop star denied visa to US. Should she have tried to get in illegally instead?
Sex slave ring arrested. Pro-illegal advocates object.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The 'urban cocoon' and the delusions of Democrats

Princeton Professor Robert J. Vanderbei has updated the red-blue map of America for the 2012 election:

Looked at by area, the blue portion is only a tiny fraction of the US.  This is deceptive because the blue (Democrat) area represents about half the population.  By area, it appears small only because Democrats mostly live in high-density urban areas.

So, why are urban areas so overwhelmingly Democratic?  Writing in Forbes, Mark Hendrickson examines (hat tip: Instapundit) this issue:
One obvious explanation for the overwhelming Democratic majorities in big cities is the Curley effect with the corresponding concentration of Democratic constituencies like welfare recipients and unions, but there is more to it than that. The Curley effect has turned once-vibrant cities into economic basket cases, but what, then, can explain the perennial dominance of Democrats in such thriving, prosperous cities as Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco? Why do affluent, white-collar, highly educated citizens in these cities tend to be liberal and vote Democratic?

Sociologists could have a field day with this question, but the explanation could be something as simple as the fact that people who live in cities are relatively insulated from how difficult and challenging it can be to produce the food, energy, equipment, devices, etc., that comprise the affluence that urbanites enjoy. In their urban cocoons, city-dwellers take for granted the abundance and availability of the economic goods that they consume.
I think that he is on to something here.  It is easy for city dwellers to live isolated lives.  Renters in a big city such as New York, for example, likely have never met a landlord personally, let alone had a chance to listen seriously to him talk about the difficulty of doing business in the city.  If the only people one knows are renters, one might easily think that "rent control" was a good idea.

For conservatives/libertarians, the key challenge is finding an effective method for combating the popular delusions of urban dwellers.

 PREVIOUSLY on Democrats and their childlike delusions:
Democrats "stand up" to imaginary bullies
A Democrat's inner child
Obama's childlike view of the world
CNN: Thinking of states like they are the federal Gov.'s children
Soldier objects to liberal infantilization: we are not your "sons and daughters"
Seeing the US president as your father
US Government as "parent"
Economic policy by analogy to "standing up" to a bully
Thinking of an industry as an overindulged "child"
Dr. Helen Smith on Democrats and their lack of good father figures

Saturday, November 17, 2012

“They’re starting to realize white people are human beings just like us.”

Racial divisions are quite strong in the US.   Pastor Joseph Lowery, a favorite of Obama, says that all whites will go to Hell.  Churches that subscribe to Black Liberation Theology, such as Obama's old church in Chicago, take it a step further: they preach that whites are demonic.

Occasionally there are small points of hope.  In New York, volunteers are lending a helping hand to those who live in the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.  The New York Times sent a reporter to one such devastated area, the housing project in Brooklyn known as Red Hook Houses.  This (hat tip: Instapundit) is what she found:
Stung not only by pervasive income inequality, but also by the steady march of gentrification in this once-derelict area, some here found it hard to accept aid from the same apple-cheeked young people pricing out longtime residents of the neighborhood. 

But realizing that this demographic group, long held up as the villain in the tale of life in the projects, could care, was just as hard for some residents. 

“They’ve been talking about white people as bad for so long, they feel shaky, embarrassed,” Al Pagan, 46, who lives in the Red Hook Houses, said as he watched the volunteers help his neighbors. “They’re starting to realize white people are human beings just like us.” [Emph. added]
That is a small step forward.  Imagine how much progress could be made if America had a post-racial President.

PREVIOUSLY on racism:
Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom says all whites will go to Hell
Former Mayor Marion Barry declares that Asians are "dirty"
Dem. Rep. says Rep. Allen West resembles a hyena
Is it racist to require a photo ID to buy drain cleaner?
NY Times: Midwesterners have low-sloping foreheads
Don't understand what was said? Then it must be racist!
California offers student tutoring but only for students belonging to the right races
For liberals, "affirmative action" means "keep the Asians out"
Occupy Portland protesters hurl racist taunts at an African American
Democrat: "Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men"
The subtleties of White Privilege
Racist cupcakes
Is witch doctor image racist?
Obama ally: "I hate white people...."
“You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”
"The city wasn't ready to hire a white police chief."
A prominent black politician says the white incumbent cannot properly represent black voters.
San Franciscans discriminate against blacks.
"He's not black and he can't represent me, that's just the bottom line."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Feds: at what point do we get to call them insane?

All sides seem to agree that the current economic malaise is the result of the mortgage meltdown. The cause of the mortgage meltdown was giving mortgages to people who couldn't afford them. In rational times, we would have learned our lesson. The Obama administration, however, is busy making the same mistake all over again. The LA Times reports:
After two foreclosures and two bankruptcies, Hermes Maldonado is as surprised as anyone that he's getting a third shot at homeownership.

The 61-year-old machine operator at a plastics factory bought a $170,000 house in Moreno Valley this summer that boasts laminate-wood floors and squeaky clean appliances. He got the four-bedroom, two-story house despite a pockmarked credit history.

The last time he owned a home, Maldonado refinanced four times and took on a second mortgage. He put a Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz C300W in the driveway and racked up about $45,000 in credit card bills and other debts. His debt-fueled lifestyle ended only when he was forced into bankruptcy.

His reentry into homeownership three years later came courtesy of the Federal Housing Administration.
The Federal Housing Administration is insuring Mr. Maldonado's loan along with those of many other high risk borrowers.  If those loans go bad, the US taxpayer is on the hook for the losses.

Today,  House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) reports that FHA will be asking for a bailout.   Bloomberg News reports:
The agency is “burning through” its last $600 million and FHA officials have briefed him that they will need a financial backstop within a month, the Alabama Republican said during a press conference in Washington….

FHA insures a portfolio of about $1.1 trillion in home loans and now backs 15 percent of U.S. mortgages for home purchases.
This will be the first time in the FHA's 78-year history that it has asked for a bailout.

Would it really be so bad if Mr. Maldonado simply rented?

PREVIOUSLY on the housing bubble/mortgage crisis:
Pres. Clinton and the origins of the housing bubble
Occupy movement demands banks provide free money
Rep. Speier rewrites history on mortgage regulations
Financial crisis in review
Barney Frank and the collapse of housing prices
How we got in this economic mess
Those who do not learn from history

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama is watching you

Technology Review reports:
The search and ads company today released figures revealing that it was asked to hand over user data 7,969 times by US agencies in the first six months of 2012 - an increase of 26 percent over the previous six months. That continues a long established trend in the figures released in Google's twice-yearly transparency report…. The 7,969 requests asked for data from a total of 16,281 user accounts, and ninety percent of the requests were complied with.
The government is undoubtedly getting information from other companies but, unlike Google, they typically do not discuss it publicly.

Having your data online is convenient but not private.

Hat tip: Instapundit

PREVIOUSLY on privacy:
Can the government snoop on your e-mail? 
How important is your e-mail password?
Trial starts of Obama supporter who allegedly hacked Palin e-mail
Internet privacy law update
Privacy and your electronic medical and financial records
Expect no privacy during hard disk repairs
e-mail is not private
ACLU argues for right to privacy for those who have sex in public bathrooms

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A liberal's take on why Romney lost

Joe Trippi was worked on the presidential campaigns of six Democrats.  Fox News teamed him with Karl Rove to monitor this year's campaign.   At no time this year did either Trippi or Rove think that Ohio, a critical state, ever leaned toward Romney.  Trippi explains exactly when it became clear to him that Romney would surely lose Ohio and therefore the Presidency as well:
Sometime before the conventions I was doing some focus groups in Ohio when I saw the dam break against Mitt Romney among undecided voters. They were undecided but when you asked them why they were not voting for Romney they would volunteer that they were worried about Bain Capital or didn’t like him hiding his tax returns, or that Romney wanted the auto industry to go bankrupt – fair or not – the unanswered negatives on Romney had taken hold – and I knew in my gut Ohio was over – Romney would never win it.
In other words, Obama's concentrated negative campaigning in Ohio over the summer worked.  Subsequent polling showed that, in Ohio, Romney never recovered.

ASIDE:  Why was Ohio a critical "must win" state?  What makes it so special?  The answer comes from ranking the states from the easiest for Romney to win to the most difficult.  As Karl Rove calculated it, the easiest for Romney were the ones that McCain won in 2008.  The next easiest were the three states: Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia.  But, winning all those was still not enough.  Romney had to win several of the seven toss-up states.  Of those seven, however, Florida and Ohio were the biggest (most electoral votes).  Unless Romney won both Florida and Ohio, it was hard to see any other way for Romney to get the needed 270 electoral votes.  That made Florida and Ohio "must win" states.  In the end, Romney lost both Florida and Ohio.

Peggy Noonan's take on why Romney lost

The status quo election

They used to say that presidential elections were "about the economy, stupid."  If this last one was, why didn't Obama suffer an historic defeat?  Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan cites two focus groups to explain the anomaly:
Many things would have propelled Mr. Obama to victory, but one would be a simple bias toward stability, toward what already is. People are anxious, not as hopeful as they were. Two memories. One was a late-summer focus group of mothers who shop at Wal-Mart WMT +0.24% . One asked, paraphrasing, "If we pick Romney, does that mean we have to start over again?" Meaning, we've had all this drama since 2008, will that mean we're back at the beginning of the crash and have to dig out all over again? The other is a young working mother in Brooklyn, a member of an evangelical church, who told me 10 days ago her friends had just started going for Mr. Obama. Why? "People are afraid of change right now." [Emph. added]
In other words, the election was in fact about the economy and the voters thought that Obama was the safer choice.  In the midst of the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression, this indicates a massive failure on the part of the Romney campaign to get its message out.  This might be because, at every step along the way, the Romney campaign seemed to speak in tepid focus-group-tested phrases.  They didn't inspire voters.  In the end, 1.3 million fewer people voted for Romney than for McCain.  If Republicans are going to win next time, the candidate will need to be able to articulate a reason to vote for him that is both simpler and clearer.
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