The Obama administration’s latest solar boondoggle, the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Product, which was awarded a $737 million federal loan this week, is backed by George Kaiser. Yes, the same George Kaiser who was the principal backer of Solyndra, which blew through half a billion of federal money before going bankrupt.
This smells really bad.
Stories like this remind us to maintain a healthy skepticism about anything we hear from the IPCC:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), set up by the UN in 1988 to advise governments on the science behind global warming, issued a report [in May] suggesting renewable sources could provide 77 per cent of the world’s energy supply by 2050. But in supporting documents released this week, it emerged that the claim was based on a real-terms decline in worldwide energy consumption over the next 40 years – and that the lead author of the section concerned was an employee of Greenpeace. Not only that, but the modelling scenario used was the most optimistic of the 164 investigated by the IPCC.
POSTSCRIPT: Since I haven’t had occasion to mention it for awhile, my position continues to be that the science on historical climate change seems to be reasonably solid (with a few major exceptions), but the science that purports to predict the future is little better than guesswork.
The Hill (together with other legacy media) would like us to believe:
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (Penn.) – an outspoken critic of gay marriage – was asked a question via YouTube about what would happen to openly gay servicemen if Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was reinstated. The Orlando crowd began booing.
It’s a lie. The Hill’s earlier reporting was misleading, but at least literally true:
Some members of the GOP debate audience booed a gay soldier who asked . . .
The Orlando crowd did not begin booing, as The Hill and others would have us believe. Two yahoos amidst the crowd booed.
POSTSCRIPT: Additionally, there’s something bizarre about the media’s take on this and another recent debate-audience controversy. They seem to think that the candidates on stage are answerable for anything that two or three people in the audience might say. We don’t know who those people are (they might be provocateurs!), and they are speaking in violation of debate rules. On the other hand, President Obama can share the podium at a rally with someone like Jimmy Hoffa, and Obama isn’t answerable for anything the man says. The only way to make sense of it is as a flagrant double standard.
It’s hard to believe I was once hopeful about Arne Duncan, President Obama’s Secretary of Education. We’ve since seen that Duncan is openly political and dishonest (but I repeat myself). We have learned that he is at the center of a school-admissions scandal in Chicago, and we’ve seen him appear at a rally organized by noted racist demagogue Al Sharpton (and urge Department of Education employees to attend as well).
Now we see Duncan spearheading an openly dishonest attack on Texas’s education record, designed to hurt Governor Rick Perry’s presidential chances. Duncan’s charges were simply false (for example, he referred to “massive increases in class size” when class sizes actually remained the same or shrank). And he ignored (or did not know) the fact that Texas schools (which Perry was only indirectly in charge of anyway) did much better than Duncan’s Chicago schools.
Pajamas Media has an update on the scandal of political hiring in the Holder Justice Department. Every single one of the 113 lawyers hired in the Civil Rights Division under Eric Holder has been a leftist. Not one of them have been conservative, libertarian, centrist, or even apolitical.
In case you are wondering, yes, this is improper, and not merely unseemly. The Department of Justice prohibits discrimination on the basis of political affiliation. The left used to understand this. They attacked the DOJ’s hiring record under President Bush, even though that record was much better than what we’re seeing from Holder now.
A red-light camera in Port Lavaca, Texas issued this truck a ticket:
The town is cancelling the ticket, but that’s not good enough. The thing is, machines are not supposed to issue tickets; humans issue tickets. So, supposedly, humans review the material and then sign the ticket, which includes a statement — under penalty of perjury — confirming the machine’s findings.
Clearly, the man who signed this ticket — a police sergeant — did not review the material. Will he be prosecuted for perjury? Not bloody likely. But if the police can lie on these statements without any consequence, they are of no value. Every single ticket issued in Port Lavaca pursuant to a red-light camera ought to be thrown out.
Moreover, does anyone believe that this one town is the only place in which the authorities are not diligently reviewing the red-light camera data?
As astonishing as it is that the Gunwalker scandal could get worse again, it has done just that. Not only did the ATF facilitate the trafficking of weapons to Mexican drug cartels, they did it themselves! They bought weapons with taxpayer money, and then delivered them to the criminals:
Not only did U.S. officials approve, allow and assist in the sale of more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa cartel — the federal government used taxpayer money to buy semi-automatic weapons, sold them to criminals and then watched as the guns disappeared.
This disclosure, revealed in documents obtained by Fox News, could undermine the Department of Justice’s previous defense that Operation Fast and Furious was a “botched” operation where agents simply “lost track” of weapons as they were transferred from one illegal buyer to another.
Well, that defense (that they simply “lost track” of the weapons) was undermined long ago. We’ve known for some time that the ATF never followed the weapons. The new revelation here is the astonishing lengths to which the ATF went to avoid following the weapons:
According to sources directly involved in the case, [Agent John] Dodson felt strongly that the weapons should not be abandoned and the stash house should remain under 24-hour surveillance. However, [ATF supervisor David] Voth disagreed and ordered the surveillance team to return to the office. Dodson refused, and for six days in the desert heat kept the house under watch, defying direct orders from Voth.
A week later, a second vehicle showed up to transfer the weapons. Dodson called for an interdiction team to move in, make the arrest and seize the weapons. Voth refused and the guns disappeared with no surveillance.
Read that twice and see if you can comprehend it. The ATF was determined to see these guns end up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels without any surveillance.
It is now clear that, whatever the purpose of Operation Fast and Furious was, it certainly was not to follow the guns back to the “big fish”. ATF’s management took pains to avoid following the guns! So what was the purpose of the operation? No one has yet suggested any plausible, legitimate purpose. The only theories on the table are the gun-control theory, and the anti-Zeta theory.
POSTSCRIPT: More here, including a document that purports to be Voth’s written authorization to buy the guns.
Alas, this sort of story seems to be becoming commonplace in the UK:
Police have threatened a Christian cafe owner with arrest –for displaying passages from the Bible on a TV screen. Jamie Murray was warned by two police officers to stop playing DVDs of the New Testament in his cafe following a complaint from a customer that it was inciting hatred against homosexuals.
The nation that invented individual liberty has abandoned the freedoms of speech and religion.
Is America the only country left with a free press? Australia doesn’t have one: an Australian court has found a collection of newspaper articles to be illegal. It violated Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act by expressing improper opinions about who constitutes an Aborigine. The judge also prohibited the republication of the articles, and said he would consider forcing the newspaper to print an apology.
The CLASS program in Obamacare is an obscure provision that would create a long-term care insurance program. The provision was important because it exploited Obamacare’s usual accounting gimmick (comparing ten years of revenue to just five years of expenses) to generate an (illusory) $70 billion surplus over ten years. It thus helped shift the all-important (to nervous Democrats) overall price into the black.
But the program was never designed to work. Medicare’s chief actuary wrote (as quoted by Power Line):
I can’t see how there would be enough workers participating to cover the selection costs for those with existing [activities of daily living] limitations plus the costs for the internal subsidies for students and low-income persons. Thirty-six years of actuarial experience lead me to believe that this program would collapse in short order and require significant federal subsidies to continue.
And sure enough, the Obama administration seems to be shutting the program down. Its only function was to coax reluctant Democrats into voting for Obamacare, so its work is done.
Vanderbilt University is withdrawing its “approval” from several Christian organizations for requiring their leaders to be Christians. I don’t know what “approval” gets you at Vanderbilt, but at a typical school, it’s a requirement in order to use campus facilities, such as rooms for meetings. If that’s the case here, they are forcing these students to meet off-campus.
It should be obvious that this sort of policy — if applied uniformly — would make it impossible for any group of like-minded people to organize. For example, College Democrats would have to allow Republicans, not only as members, but as leaders.
But I’m sure it’s not being applied uniformly. This sort of thing has been contemplated at other universities (including mine) and it’s always a special persecution just for Christians. However, universities usually step back from actually doing it (as mine did).
I’ve been lax about reporting the Solyndra affair as it has grown from a typical screwup of the sort that arises whenever the government tries to supplant the marketplace and pick winners, into a huge political scandal. Let me catch up by listing what we know:
After Solyndra went belly-up (after blowing through half a billion in taxpayer money), the FBI raided their offices. We know that one of Solyndra’s top backers was a major fundraiser for President Obama, that Solyndra officials were frequent visitors to the White House, and that federal officials sat in on Solyndra board meetings.
We know that the White House pressured the OMB to approve the loan, and quickly (in time for a presidential speech), despite the OMB’s concerns that they hadn’t done due diligence (that’s for sure!):
“We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions (and we are worried about Solyndra at the end of the week),” one official wrote. That Aug. 31, 2009, message, written by a senior OMB staffer and sent to Terrell P. McSweeny, Biden’s domestic policy adviser, concluded, “We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.”
And it wasn’t just the Obama-era OMB with reservations. The Bush administration shelved the loan application (despite recent attempts on the left to blame Bush for the mess). PriceWaterhouseCoopers warned that Solyndra’s troubles “raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.” And it wasn’t just finance people, either. According to a former Solyndra employee, everyone working there knew the company was doomed. They were making a product for $6 that they could only sell for $2-3. The Obama administration was aware of these warnings, but ignored them.
Worse, this isn’t merely a situation where political pressure resulted in a terrible decision. The process violated federal rules and the law. The General Accountability Office found that the loan process bypassed required steps. The law specifically forbade the DOE from subordinating the government’s stake (i.e., placing the government after other creditors in any bankruptcy proceeding), but the Obama administration disregarded that provision. Thus, the loan was not only unwise, not only improper, it was illegal.
Solyndra’s actions were not proper either. Once they received the government’s “investment”, they lavishly wasted money. They spent over a million on lobbying, hiring lobbyists connected to John Kerry (D-MA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD). And, in fact, they violated the terms of their loan starting in December 2010.
Solyndra officials took the Fifth at a Congressional hearing last week. That surprised Congressional investigators who had earlier agreed to delay the hearing in exchange for a promise that the officials would testify. However, many other people did agree to testify. (Andrew Stiles summarized the proceedings here and here.)
One who did agree to testify was DOE official Jonathan Silver, who admitted that the conditions for Solyndra have been unfavorable for years (since before the latest loan!), and that the DOE has known since last July that Solyndra would go under.
One of the strangest aspects of the scandal is that somehow the California Democratic Party ended up a Solyndra creditor. No one will admit to knowing how that happened.
Alas, the Obama administration has learned nothing from the scandal. They have just announced three more solar loans totaling more than $2 billion, and have billions more to throw away this week. One of those loans, for $737 million, is to the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a project connected to Ron Pelosi, the House Democratic Leader’s brother-in-law. The political connections of the other projects have not yet been determined.
UPDATE: A nice video summarizing the scandal.
The stupidest of [the Labour Party's] proposals to date will be presented today, when Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, will propose a licensing scheme for journalists through a professional body that will have the power to forbid people who breach its code of conduct from doing journalism in the future.
They want the government to decide who is allowed to publish and who is not — and they explicitly mean to use the system to silence the people they don’t want publishing.
The real problem in the UK is structural. Since 1911, there have been no checks or balances in the British government. The House of Commons is all-powerful. If the party in power decides to scrap the Freedom of the Press, or any other freedom, no one can stop them.
I admit it; I’m not above noting this: The White House confuses Colorado and Wyoming.
Seriously though, with a Republican in office, this would have been proof of . . . well, what exactly it would be proof of would depend on the media narrative. For Bush it surely would have proven he is an idiot.
Asthma sufferers who use epinephrine inhalers will be required to switch to a new medicine next year. The new medicine is twice as expensive, and probably won’t work as well for some patients to boot. The old inhalers were not environmentally friendly enough.
There’s the environmental movement in a nutshell. I would be very surprised indeed if inhalers had any kind of significant impact on the ozone layer, whereas I am certain they have an enormous impact of people’s ability to breathe. But cost vs. benefit is simply not a consideration in green policies, especially under this administration.
President Obama’s dealings with Israel have generally been dreadful, but I must give credit where credit is due. According to Newsweek (so you may want to take this with a grain of salt), Obama authorized the delivery of 55 bunker buster bombs to Israel in 2009. This affirmed a delivery schedule determined by the Bush administration.
Walter Russel Mead has a very interesting article on the problem of Pakistan, and why Pakistan may see that problem (or problems, really) as essential to their continued existence as a nation.
Social Security is obviously a Ponzi scheme. Here is Wikipedia’s definition:
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The perpetuation of the returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors to keep the scheme going.
The only thing to quibble about here is whether Social Security “entices” new investors; enticed or not, you’ve got no choice. Some might also dispute whether it is “fraudulent”. It is: it makes promises it cannot deliver. (In fact, now we get that promise explicitly, in the form of an annual letter from the Social Security administration listing all the promised benefits we’ll never see.)
What is interesting is that Social Security’s own advocates have likened it to a Ponzi scheme:
Jonathan Last has already identified a 1967 Newsweek column by liberal economist and Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson as perhaps the earliest use of the Social Security/Ponzi-scheme comparison in public argument. Samuelson was actually drawing on the Ponzi analogy to defend Social Security. His claim was that the perpetual succession of human generations establishes the conditions for a sustainable Ponzi scheme. Regardless of whether Samuelson was the first commentator to use the Ponzi analogy, he has clearly been the most influential. Policy briefs and books churned out by conservative think tanks such as Heritage and Cato have cited Samuelson’s Ponzi column for years. . .
The unfortunate weakness of Samuelson’s model is its assumption that a growing economy will produce continual population increase. In an April 1978 follow-up in Newsweek to his original 1967 column, Samuelson acknowledged that demographic reality was disproving this assumption. Samuelson repeated his use of the Ponzi analogy and continued to defend his hopes for Social Security as best he could.
POSTSCRIPT: Of course, none of that will stop the
fact-checkers opinion police from labeling the comparison false.
Note to CBS: If you’re going to pluck a story from an obscure blog, maybe you should do a little research to see if it’s true first. (You could at least Google it!) This is particularly important if the story makes an extremely outlandish claim, like a major presidential contender shouting to her audience “who likes white people?”
Part of the problem is that CBS’s editors are so removed from the right half of American opinion, they apparently didn’t realize this was outlandish.
John Hinderaker coins the perfect phrase — “opinion police” — for the journalists who claim to be fact-checking, but really are evaluating opinions. This is a pernicious phenomenon that is becoming far too prevalent.
In this particular instance, Hinderaker was complaining about a Washington Post column by Glenn Kessler called The Fact Checker, which reported Rick Perry’s “newbie mistake” on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Kessler said Perry’s was factually incorrect when he said:
I certainly have some concerns. The first step in any peaceful negotiation for a two-state solution for the Palestinians is to recognize the right of Israel’s existence. They have to denounce terrorism in both word and deed. And they have to sit down and negotiate with Israel directly. Anything short of that is a non-starter in my opinion.
Kessler claimed Perry was wrong on all three points. On the first point, he says that Palestinians have indeed recognized Israel, but this is debatable.
For starters, many say that the Palestinians never really changed their charter to remove its anti-Israel language. They argue that merely voting to revoke the charter’s provisions is not the same thing as producing a new charter without those provisions. (Here’s an example of that school of thought.) Personally, I think that what Palestinian authorities did in 1996 or 1998 to revise a document written in 1964 is beside the point. What matters is what they say and do now. Just last month, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas denied the existence of Israel:
The Palestinian Authority will not be recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday, adopting a belligerent tone ahead of his planned statehood bid in September. . .
“Don’t order us to recognize a Jewish state,” Abbas said. “We won’t accept it.”
And this very day, the logo of the Palestinian mission to the UN denies Israel’s existence. In short, Perry’s position is, at the very least, a defensible opinion, not a factual error. Frankly, I think he’s right.
Kessler is even weaker on the other two facets of Perry’s statement. Perry says the Palestinians must denounce terrorism in word and deed. Kessler produces one example of the Palestinians denouncing terrorism in word. He does not produce any examples of the Palestinians denouncing terrorism in deed (okay, I’ll grant that that’s clumsy wording), because there are none to produce.
On the third point, that the Palestinians need to negotiate with Israel directly, Kessler seems to concede that Perry is right. The Palestinians are not negotiating with Israel directly, and haven’t since March 2010. But somehow this point too shows Perry’s ignorance. Kessler doesn’t explain how.
Nowhere in this “fact-checking” piece on Perry’s “newbie mistake” does Kessler demonstrate any factual errors. On the contrary, there is one difference in opinion, and two correct facts. But wait, Kessler talked to three anonymous “experts”, and all three said that Perry sounded remarkably uninformed. Oh, well then.
But wait, there’s more! Kessler concludes that Rick Perry’s campaign is a “fact-free zone” (no facts at all!) because they have never replied to any of his inquiries. Clearly, Kessler is using the word “fact” to mean something entirely different from what it means to me.
I would have blown off “car-free week”, just like Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick did. Of course, I wouldn’t have declared it in the first place.
An Obama fundraiser tells the truth:
There’s never been more money shoved out of the government’s door in world history, and probably never will be again, than in the last few months and in the next 18 months. And our selfish parochial goal is to get as much as it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can.
POSTSCRIPT: I wish I was as sanguine as he that our Brobdingnagian stimulus misadventure would never be repeated.
In Chicago, union executives get to retire on a public pension:
Twenty years later, 23 retired union officials from Chicago stand to collect about $56 million from two ailing city pension funds thanks to the changes, a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation found. Because the law bases the city pensions on the labor leaders’ union salaries, they are reaping retirement benefits that far outstrip the modest salaries they made as city employees.
[Pension experts] warn that it not only creates opportunities to scam the system but also robs the city of its ability to control pension costs. The city doesn’t set union salaries, the most important ingredient in determining the size of the leaders’ pensions.
Better yet, no one knows who made the rule:
No one from either the state Legislature or city government will take credit for the law, which passed in 1991, and the process of drafting pension legislation in Springfield is so shrouded in secrecy that there’s no way of knowing exactly whom to hold responsible.
But, whoever made it, it apparently can’t be fixed:
Making changes won’t be easy, however. That’s because the state constitution says pension benefits cannot be diminished once they are earned.
This serves as another reminder that Chicago is run by thieves. But at least it doesn’t affect the rest of us. We would never be so stupid as to put the Chicago machine in power nationwide.
(Via Hot Air.)
This would be big if it holds up:
A startling find at one of the world’s foremost laboratories that a subatomic particle seemed to move faster than the speed of light has scientists around the world rethinking Albert Einstein and one of the foundations of physics.
Now they are planning to put the finding to further high-speed tests to see if a revolutionary shift in explaining the workings of the universe is needed – or if the European scientists made a mistake. . .
CERN reported that a neutrino beam fired from a particle accelerator near Geneva to a lab in Italy traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light. Scientists calculated the margin of error at just 10 nanoseconds, making the difference statistically significant.
(Via the Corner.)
The government of San Juan Capistrano, California, show themselves to be unqualified for any position of public trust:
An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a “church” and not as a private gathering.
Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what city officials called “a regular gathering of more than three people”.
This reminds me of China’s crackdown on house churches. There’s obviously a difference in severity (a $300 fine does not compare to torture), but it’s not a field of endeavor that American officials are supposed to be in at all. Tarring and feathering is too good for them.
Looking for a way for the government to create jobs? Looking for a fast way, that doesn’t even require an act of Congress? A good way to start might be to abolish regulations that fine businesses for hiring too many people.
Wow. I have no idea if OnStar was a respected brand, but if it was, it sure won’t be much longer:
Navigation-and-emergency-services company OnStar is notifying its six million account holders that it will keep a complete accounting of the speed and location of OnStar-equipped vehicles, even for drivers who discontinue monthly service.
Adam Denison, a spokesman for the General Motors subsidiary, said OnStar does not currently sell customer data, but it reserves that right. He said both the new and old privacy policies allow OnStar to chronicle a vehicle’s every movement and its speed, though it’s not clear where that’s stated in the old policy.
Collecting location and speed data via GPS might also create a treasure trove of data that could be used in criminal and civil cases. One could also imagine an eager police chief acquiring the data to issue speeding tickets en masse.
Passing on the OnStar service isn’t enough; you don’t even want their hardware installed. Thankfully, that’s easy to arrange. Just don’t buy GM.
UPDATE: OnStar reverses.
This exercise was eye-opening:
Why S&P Downgraded the US:
U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Recent [April] budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000
Let’s remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:
Annual family income: $21,700
Money the family spent: $38,200
New debt on the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
Budget cuts: $385
A group called the Franklin Center alleges that New York Times reporter Ian Urbina deceived readers in his reports attacking fracking. According to the Center, Urbina described his sources deceptively — making them sound better connected than they were — and described single sources using multiple different descriptions — making his sources sound more numerous than they were.
The Saudis are trying to suppress criticism, in Canada:
Saudi Arabia has hired lawyers to threaten Canadian broadcasters who dare to run a TV ad critical of Saudi conflict oil. . .
Alykhan Velshi, who runs EthicalOil.org, produced a 30-second TV ad comparing the treatment of women in Canada with the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia. . . Saudi Arabia doesn’t like criticism like that, though. They are a fascist state without a free press or any opposition political parties. And now they’ve hired one of the world’s largest law firms, a 2,600-lawyer monstrosity called Norton Rose, to threaten Canada’s media into silence, too.
Rahool Agarwal, one of the lawyers at Norton Rose, has been contacting broadcasters across Canada, threatening them if they air the ad. Already two networks have capitulated in the face of such threats, including CTV, Canada’s biggest private broadcaster. Agarwal has also threatened EthicalOil.org with a lawsuit, too. He won’t say for what — he clearly has no legal case. But the point is silencing dissent. And it’s working.
POSTSCRIPT: The primary culprit here is Saudi Arabia, of course, but Canada has to take some blame for allowing this to happen. If Canada had a better record viz a viz free speech, such threats as these would be less likely to work. As it is, every Canadian broadcaster has to worry about being hauled into a “human rights” commission.
Despite everything they pull, I find it hard to hate Google. Why? Stuff like this. Shopping for flights will never be the same.
The Washington Post says this claim by Speaker John Boehner isn’t true:
At this moment, the Executive Branch has 219 new rules in the works that will cost our economy at least $100 million. That means under the current Washington agenda, our economy is poised to take a hit from the government of at least $100 million — 219 times.
They give it three “Pinocchios”.
The problem is, it’s entirely true. If you go to the government’s web site, it lists 219 “major regulations” that are “under development or review”. The law defines “major regulation” as one that, among other things, will cost the economy $100 million or more. Boehner’s claim is unarguable.
So how do they say it’s false? The same way that other “fact checking” hacks try to call true statements they don’t like false. They make a “nuanced” argument that the facts don’t mean what Boehner implies they mean. Fine, make your argument. But that’s an editorial, not a fact check.
“Remove the doubt, reveal the deniers” is not scientific talk.
How bad is health care nationalization? Even a report prepared by one of its architects can’t whitewash it effectively:
Naturally, Gruber’s leads with a smiley face, noting for the umpteenth time that the law is expected to increase health insurance coverage; approximately 340,000 of the state’s residents are expected to gain insurance coverage by 2016. Of course, about 170,000 of the newly covered will be shuffled into Medicaid, a program that’s wrecking state budgets and providing, at best, uncertain health benefits.
Meanwhile expanding the state’s health insurance coverage will come at a significant cost to hundreds of thousands of individuals, especially within the individual market, where the law has the greatest effect. Gruber projects that the average individual market health insurance premium will cost about 30 percent more than if ObamaCare had never passed. For most individual market enrollees, the average premium increase will be even higher: 87 percent of the individual market is projected to see a premium price increase of 41 percent.
Defenders of the law might note that more than half—about 57 percent—of those who get their insurance through the individual market will benefit from the law’s generous health insurance subsidies. But even discounting the enormous public cost of financing those subsidies (which account for roughly half of the law’s $950 billion price tag over the next decade), it’s still not much consolation for the majority of individual market enrollees.
That’s because more than half the individual market will still end up paying more: “After the application of tax subsidies,” the report projects, “59 percent of the individual market will experience an average premium increase of 31 percent.”
President Obama claims to have passed the largest middle-class tax cut in history:
We said working folks deserved a break, so within one month of me taking office, we signed into law the biggest middle-class tax cut in history, putting more money into your pockets.
How can he claim that, when, of course, he has done no such thing? The White House justifies the claim saying that “largest” means going to the largest number of people:
“The point the president was making that is there is not a tax cut that has been enjoyed by such a broad section of the population,” an administration official said, pointing to a report that said that 95 percent of working families received some kind of tax cut under the Making Work Pay provision in his stimulus bill.
Ooo-kay. Give everyone a quarter and it will be bigger yet.
A British man who killed a home invader with the invader’s own knife has been arrested for murder. The only way this makes any sense at all is if the police suspect that the home invasion story is false:
Chief Superintendent Tim Forber of Greater Manchester Police said: ‘We believe the dead man was one of two men who were attempting to carry out a burglary at the house.’
Well, scratch that theory I guess.
So in England today, not only are you forbidden to have the means of self-defense (heck, you can’t even have a Swiss Army Knife), you’ll be arrested even if you use the criminal’s own weapon against him. If you want to stay on the right side of the law, you have to roll over for the criminal and hope he doesn’t kill you. I’m sure “he obeyed the law” will look great on your tombstone.
But the reaction of the authorities isn’t the worst part of this story. Read this and weep:
[The home invader's] family were too upset to comment but they left floral tributes at the scene referring to him as ‘Ray’ and ‘Uncle Raymondo’.
One read: ‘Love you son, going to miss you more than anything. You mean the world to me. Love you loads, Dad.’
And it goes on. There are photos of weeping friends. Friends of the criminal that is. England is now a place where the family of a criminal killed in the midst of a home invasion feel they can go back to the home he tried to invade and place a tribute to him! They will even get their sorrow reportedly sympathetically in the press. That place has truly lost its moral compass.
Pajamas Media reports:
The final tally in our hiring expose is staggering. Since Barack Obama installed Eric Holder at the Justice Department, there have been 113 new career lawyers hired into the Civil Rights Division. There isn’t even a single token conservative in the bunch. Worse yet, as this PJMedia series has demonstrated conclusively, the breakdown of the new hires reveals that not even moderates are welcome. Here are the numbers:
Apolitical Attorneys: 0
As has been said repeatedly, there is nothing problematic with hiring liberals to work in the Division. But contrary to the views of many in the civil rights community — including the current leadership of the Justice Department — there is also nothing wrong with hiring conservative or apolitical attorneys to undertake this work. Yet such professionals have been categorically blackballed from joining the career ranks of the Division. That is not only unjust, it is illegal. . .
Notwithstanding the claims of revisionist historians, the Bush Civil Rights Division hired and promoted lawyers from all across the political and ideological spectrum. Even in the three sections of the Division that were the focus of a libelous report from the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility and Inspector General, nearly a third of the new career attorneys hired and promoted were clearly liberal and many others were entirely apolitical. Meanwhile, enforcement figures in nearly every section were through the roof (in some cases, such as the Voting Section, putting the Obama administration numbers to shame), while not one nickel had to be paid out in sanctions.
Now, less than three years later, all semblances of ideological balance in the Division have been utterly eliminated, and proudly so. . . Reports from inside the Division by individuals familiar with the work of the hiring committee describe the resumes of one qualified applicant after another being tossed in the “No” file merely because the candidate could not satisfy the newly imposed liberal litmus test.
What’s the big deal if a liberal administration hires only liberals? Don’t forget that, not very long ago, the hiring record of the Bush administration — which was much, much better — was billed as scandalous.
The Truth About Guns has a quick summary of the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act. There are a few areas where I would have hoped for better, but it’s still a big step forward.
It will be interesting to see what happens. Democrats can block it, of course, but they can ill-afford to energize the gun-rights movement, and they know it.
I’m very disappointed to find Michelle Bachmann carrying water for the anti-vaccine hysterics. There are legitimate grounds on which one can attack Rick Perry’s HPV vaccination policy, but suggesting that it causes mental retardation is simply irresponsible. Anti-vaccine foolishness is causing great harm, and it’s wrong to give that movement any aid at all.