It’s been a while since I had a bad one, but when they come, look out. The world pretty much stops for a while. Always feel like I’ve been hit by a truck when they’re over.
February 11, 2014
“Last week, two congressional committees issued a little-noticed report detailing how Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, and Health and Human Services officials conspired to create a massive new entitlement not authorized anywhere in federal law.
In the summer of 2012, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight & Government Reform and Committee on Ways & Means launched an investigation to determine ‘whether IRS and Treasury conducted an adequate review of the statute and legislative history prior to coming to [the] conclusion that [the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's] premium subsidies would be allowed in federal exchanges.’ Over the next 18 months, the committees held numerous hearings with senior Treasury and IRS officials, while investigative staff conducted interviews with key agency attorneys responsible for developing the regulations in question. Investigators also reviewed what few documents Treasury and IRS officials allowed them to see…..
The proposed rule met instant condemnation in the media, from members of Congress, and from individual citizens during the rule’s public-comment period. Critics noted the IRS was planning to do the exact opposite of what the statute permits the agency to do.”
Read the whole sordid story at the link.
Ho Hum, nothing to see here.
“Earlier Monday, Obama’s team announced “that it would give midsized employers until 2016 to provide health insurance for their workers, delaying another key provision of the Affordable Care Act,” per Washington Examiner reporter Brian Hughes.
Holder struggled to identify the basis for President Obama’s authority to flout Obamacare’s implementation schedule when Lee pressed him on the subject during a recent Senate hearing.
“I’ve not had a chance to look at, you know, for some time, exactly what the analysis was there, so I’m not sure that I would be able to put it in what category,” Holder told Lee on Jan. 29 when asked to ground the original delay of the employer law in a standard three-part test for such unilateral actions by the executive branch.
Lee asked Holder to write him an explanation of the legal analysis that the Justice Department used to justify delaying the employer mandate, which was originally supposed to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. The attorney general has not yet done so.
The Utah Republican said Obama is acting on the weakest of constitutional grounds. “The law says x, and he is trying to do not x, but y,” Lee told the Examiner.
As of today there is no party line on this, simply a refusal by the Attorney General- The Attorney General of the United States- to justify or explain the legal basis for this move.
Taken as a single instance this should disturb everyone. Taken in context with other Executive actions, this should be more than disturbing. Hello? Voice in the wilderness here? What happened to the people who were upset about the abuse of power during Bush?
Look, I realize that I’ve gone all political of late (okay, “late” being a generous term), and I do keep in mind the admonition of friends to not go off the deep end, but these posts are there to illustrate, and build an ongoing body of evidence, that our system isn’t working. And it’s broken in a very dangerous and unprecedented way.
To everyone who says but the last guy did it! I’ll answer yes, and it was wrong then too… that doesn’t excuse the current administration and it’s a dangerous precedent that we need to stop. Our republic was not designed to operate under these conditions.
To my friends on the other side of the political aisle, a simple question: would you be supportive of a Republican president that did everything the current one has done? If not, why would you be in opposition to those actions?
Why aren’t you now?
Shirley Temple, iconic child star, dies at 85 – Yahoo News: “Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, has died, according to publicist Cheryl Kagan. She was 85.”
February 10, 2014
Oh man, I want one of these. If only I could figure out a way to soundproof it. Excellent.
The Sochi Olympics are more costly than every other Winter Olympics in modern history combined. “…corruption isn’t a side effect of the Russian Olympics, the Olympics are a side effect of the corruption”.
Sochi Winter Olympics: $51,000,000,000
Salt Lake City Winter Olympics: $2,000,000,000
February 9, 2014
“High school is an apt metaphor for the shenanigans inside the Times’ $850 million skyscraper at the corner of Fortieth Street and Eighth Avenue. The Times portrayed in Kurson’s article is not the established, serious, and competent institution of the liberal imagination. It is the Beverly Hills High School in Clueless, a cliquey and catty war of all against all, where the self-importance of the occupants masks deep insecurities. The next time our reporters and producers and anchors and bloggers affect an air of moral or social superiority, the next time they pretend to know the answers to every political and economic and cultural question, remember this: They are basically teenagers.”
Most of us got away from needing the approval of the Cool Kids back in high school.
“Cycling Road Race, 1964 Held over 194 kilometers (120 miles), the 1964 road race saw a spectacular finish in which Mario Zanin, (right) a mechanic from Italy, emerged from the pack with 20 meters to go and won by a wheel. The finish was so close that Sture Pettersson of Sweden crossed the line only sixteen-hundredths of a second behind Zanin, yet he ended up in 52nd place.”
February 8, 2014
“The idea that any sample returned from Mars would first have to be sterilized, Zubrin says, is like ‘finding a viable dinosaur egg and then sterilizing it. This hysteria is an insult to the science.’”
February 7, 2014
“According to the laws of physics, a planet the shape of a donut, or toroid, could actually exist — but it’s extremely unlikely to ever form naturally. But what if an advanced alien civilization decided to build one? What properties would a toroid-Earth exhibit? And what would life be like?”
“Covered California, the poster child for ‘successful’ Obamacare exchanges, has been misleading people looking for insurance by providing a ‘phantom list’ of doctors attached to their plans.
One guy ruined the plan after he purchased health insurance on the California exchange and then had the gall to call doctors to set up an appointment. His temerity drove him to call every doctor listed as in-network, and none of them were.
In the normal world, this would be called ‘fraud.’ In Obama’s America, it’s called a ‘snag,’ and on a national scale, the Obama regime labels it ‘Shut up, Fox News!’
After all, isn’t the goal getting everyone insured? Who cares if you can’t actually see a doctor or get health care, because everyone will get a terrific piece of paper that says ‘health insurance policy.’ Equality, at last — everyone’s got the same thing; namely, nothing at all.”
Oh, but it’s just partisanship causing the disagreements about the ACA. Partisanship and racism, right?
Meanwhile, the chorus of crickets from supporters on the left grows louder.
“Oymyakon’s lowest recorded temperature was a frigid minus 71.2 C (minus 96.16 F) back in 1924. According to The Independent, wearing glasses outdoors can cause them to stick to the wearer’s face. This is just one of the more menial problems of the extremely cold weather.
Other adaptations locals have to make in their daily lives are more extreme than a short time of nearsightedness or farsightedness when stepping outside. The frozen ground makes it difficult for working indoor plumbing, so most toilets are outhouses. The bitter cold also makes it difficult to dig graves. The ground has to be warmed with a bonfire before a funeral. Locals use heated garages for their cars. Cars left outside need to be kept running, otherwise they will not restart. Planes cannot fly into the area in the winter. And of course the risk of frostbite is great after only a few minutes in the cold.
‘I was wearing thin trousers when I first stepped outside into minus 47 C,’ Chapple said. ‘I remember feeling like the cold was physically gripping my legs, the other surprise was that occasionally my saliva would freeze into needles that would prick my lips.’”
Wow. Some amazing pics at the link. I’d actually love to experience -96 degrees. Once. Outhouse in that weather? Not so much. You think the kid in Christmas Story had problems…
February 5, 2014
“REDMOND, WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Bill Gates’s first day at work in the newly created role of technology adviser got off to a rocky start yesterday as the Microsoft founder struggled for hours to install the Windows 8.1 upgrade.
The installation hit a snag early on, sources said, when Mr. Gates repeatedly received an error message informing him that his PC ran into a problem that it could not handle and needed to restart.
After failing to install the upgrade by lunchtime, Mr. Gates summoned the new Microsoft C.E.O. Satya Nadella, who attempted to help him with the installation, but with no success.
While the two men worked behind closed doors, one source described the situation as ‘tense.’
‘Bill is usually a pretty calm guy, so it was weird to hear some of that language coming out of his mouth,’”
February 4, 2014
February 3, 2014
“One might expect such a thin story from, say, the National Enquirer, but The New York Times? And one might wonder why the newspaper didn’t ask the very first question nearly anyone else would ask when presented with such a claim: ‘Uh, OK, you say you have evidence, can we see it?’ Then, if said evidence didn’t pan out, it’d be Spike City for the big scoop.
But no, The Times ran with the piece, which made the follow-on media follow on the story throughout the day. But few noticed the way the lede was changed — in less than 20 minutes…
So, in the end, The Times ran a thin story with an unsubstantiated claim of “evidence” directly linking Mr. Christie to the lane closures because it didn’t need a “smoking gun” — or any evidence at all. The allegation alone was enough to put the governor in a “no-win situation.”
Again, I say it: fix the media and you fix the country (or a big chunk of what is wrong with our Democracy). I’m not saying that they NYT shouldn’t print stuff that’s damning to one side or the other– the news is the news and we need the straight truth, honorably reported– but I think it’s fair that a journalistic outlet adhere to normal journalistic standards when they do go to print. Extraordinary claims demand evidence, after all, and in this case they claimed that they had the evidence, then didn’t say what it was. Then later went with the vague “he was linked to knowledge” wording. Then later “softened the lede”. And then finally turned the story into a non-event through retroactive editing. Does this seem responsible?
If they decide to print something like this w/o evidence to back it up, and then later softpedal and backtrack, doesn’t that put their objectivity and claims of neutrality into doubt? Shouldn’t that cast suspicion on other things they report?
Fairness and (at least a semblance of) objectivity should not be too much to ask from our media outlets. On both sides. Personally, I would like the truth with as little bias and slant as possible so that I can make up my own mind. It’s no wonder people don’t trust them any longer (as evidenced by rapidly declining viewership and the rise of alternative sources). I don’t like being fed bias while being told that it’s truth. That’s not the job of the media.
February 2, 2014
California Cracks Down on Hacker Boot Camps | Wired.com: “Hacker boot camps have sprung up across the world in recent years, offering crash courses in the art and science of computer programming. These schools are particularly prevalent in the San Francisco Bay Area, the heart of the tech world. And in a place where demand for coders just keeps going up, the schools are very popular. But now these Silicon Valley schools have a problem. Over the past month, California regulators sent cease and desist letters to many of these hacker boot camps, saying they run afoul of the state’s educational laws, as first reported by Venturebeat. ‘They’re not properly licensed, and the law requires them to be licensed to offer an educational service like they are,’ “
Later in the article it states that “They aren’t your traditional vocational schools. There are no grades, no degrees, and no diplomas. They’re usually staffed by professional coders, not licensed teachers. Many of the teachers are volunteers — even though the schools are usually private companies, not non-profit organizations”… so it’s not as if these hacker schools are misrepresenting themselves. Want to learn to code? Take a crash course in it from a hacker school. But because these places are operating outside of the bureaucratic control system they are being issued C&D letters and threatened with fines.
California should look at its own success rate with public education and instead of messing with these new ideas, try to learn from them. What a joke.
January 31, 2014
“There have been many benefits to Snowden’s leaks. It is conceivable that they’ve imposed significant costs on America too, but asserting that to be so is insufficient. Evidence is needed, because that’s how a reality-driven society works, and also because of the many instances that the government has wildly exaggerated the harm done by that which embarrasses the people in charge of running it…
Recall that the Pentagon Papers, the Abu Ghraib photos, the waterboarding revelations, the reports about warrantees wiretapping in the Bush years, and the WikiLeaks trove of documents were all alleged to have done grave damage to America. The harms were overblown in every case. If the U.S. government ever deserved the benefit of the doubt from its citizens, it long ago squandered that privilege. Like the boy who cried wolf, it now needs to offer proof. “
I predict this New Journalistic Ideal will become common practice around January 17, 2017 at the very earliest.
“Judging from her interview on ‘The Daily Show’ Thursday, you wouldn’t be able to tell that Nancy Pelosi is one of the most powerful figures in Washington.
Throughout her discussion with Jon Stewart, the House minority leader passed the buck for the government’s failures and acted as if she is completely removed from any position of responsibility.
‘I don’t know,’ Pelosi said when asked by Stewart why it was so hard for the government to ‘get a company to execute’ something like building HealthCare.Gov ‘competently?’
‘Well, let me get the House minority leader here, I can ask her, hold on,’ Stewart said through laughter, mocking her answer. ‘Wait. What do you mean you don’t know? How do you not know?’
‘It’s not my responsibility,’ Pelosi said.
Pressed on bureaucratic problems at the Veterans Administration, Pelosi said the failures were ‘horrible.’
‘Seems insane,’ Stewart retorted.
‘It’s stunning but do something about it,’ Pelosi said, as if she was powerless in the matter.
‘I was going to say that to you. I was actually going to say that to you,’ Stewart responded, seemingly suggesting that the House minority leader might have some power to ‘do something about it’ herself.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t her party have an unassailable majority of the Govt. a few years ago? Doesn’t it have 2/3rds now?
If they can’t show that their agenda is viable when in near-total (or total) control, then maybe that says something about their agenda, right?
“‘Defuse the ticking time-bomb known as your child’s imagination before it explodes and destroys her completely,’ said child-safety expert Kenneth McMillan, who advised the HHS in composing the guidelines. ‘New data shows a disturbing correlation between serious accidents and the ability of children to envision a world full of exciting possibility.’
The guidelines, titled ‘Boundless Imagination, Boundless Hazards: Ways To Keep Your Kids Safe From A World Of Wonder,’ are posted on the HHS website, and will also be available in brochure form in pediatricians’ offices across the country.
According to McMillan, children can suffer broken bones, head trauma, and even fatal injuries from unsupervised exposure to childlike awe. ‘If your children are allowed to unlock their imaginations, anything from a backyard swing set to a child’s own bedroom can be transformed into a dangerous undersea castle or dragon’s lair,’ McMillan said. ‘But by encouraging your kids to think linearly and literally, and constantly reminding them they can never be anything but human children with no extraordinary characteristics, you can better ensure that they will lead prolonged lives.’”