Wednesday, January 28, 2015

So long and thanks for all the soap

But no "good luck."  Zero Hedge: "The New Greek Government Arrives In Its Residence: Finds No Power, No Wifi Password And No Toilet Soap."

Thank heaven it's deficit-neutral, right?

Hot Air: "CBO: 10 million will lose employer-based coverage under ObamaCare by 2021."  "Plus, the promises of deficit neutrality turn out to be just as valid as if you like your plan/doctor, etc etc etc. ObamaCare will run a $76 billion deficit in this budget year, and that will jump to $109 billion next year — and increase every year through FY2025. Over the next decade, the ACA will produce a deficit of $1.35 trillion dollars."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Terrible idea is scrapped

NY Times: "Obama to Drop Proposal to End ‘529’ College Savings Plans."

Tom Petty's lawyers won't back down

Hit and Run: "Sam Smith Agrees to Pay Tom Petty Royalties for Similarities to 'I Won’t Back Down,' Says He's Never Heard of It."

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

WashPost: "Drone incident at White House highlights long-studied, still-unsolved security gap."

Maybe I'm missing something but wouldn't it just be a matter of blocking or scrambling the radio frequencies on which these remote-control toys operate?  Everything that operates in the radio frequency (e.g. cell phones, TV signals, walkie-talkies, CB radio) is allocated a frequency range for operation.
Also, federal law prohibits the use of any device that could be used to jam or interfere with the GPS signals that drones rely on for navigation.
Well, there you go.  The sky's the limit over at Three Mile Island, boys.

These are the salad days

The CBO is reporting slow growth and trillion-dollar deficits are America's long-term future.  It's OK, because the Chinese will keep lending us money forever.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Epic blizzard

Here it comes.  For the first time ever in my career, they've preemptively shut down the factory in anticipation of this huge nor'easter.  At least we can chuckle at the NY Times lamenting "The end of snow!" a year ago.

Off the curve

This is pretty interesting: Chris Christie has a lot of name recognition but just can't get the love.

Personally, I like the guy, but New Jersey still has high taxes and intractable pension problems.  Where's the problem solving?  For someone who is a self-styled fighter, I'm not sure I see the victories.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Syriza hits the fan

Fox News: "Greece's anti-bailout Syriza party wins election."

Well, they promised freedom from austerity and now they're going to get it, good and hard:
Alex Tsipras, the young, charismatic leader of Syriza, is an avowed leftist (his son, Ernesto, is reportedly named for Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevera) and the party’s most likely candidate for prime minister. Tsipras has made it clear that any new government under Syriza—an acronym from the Greek words meaning “coalition of the radical left”—will “renegotiate” the loans extended to Greece by the EU, the IMF and the ECB since 2010 in order to preserve the euro. Those loans—now totaling some 175% of Greece’s GDP—were conditioned on austerity measures that Tsipras has declared intolerable.

While the Greek economy is growing moderately, and Greece is likely able to continue its debt service under existing austerity measures, a Syriza-dominated populist government would likely bring about an economic crisis worse than the one Greece and the Eurozone saw in 2010.
As this Atlantic article notes, the options for the Eurozone "troika" are to write down Greece's debt - and give other PIIGS a blueprint for forgiveness - or kick Greece out of the Eurozone.  It's gonna be interesting.

Extra - Or can Tsipras pull of the "Lula pivot"?

More - Daily Mail: "EU braces for catastrophe."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

No wonder he's Happy

South of the (Canadian) border

Doug Ross: "Try and contain your surprise: In Vermont, Drivers Licenses are a Magnet for Fraud by Illegal Aliens."

Go Patriots!

I just had a thought: when the Patriots take the field for the Super Bowl, they should play "Big Balls" by AC/DC.

The government is searching your couch cushions for spare change

Megan McArdle notes that Obama's plan to tax 529 savings is indicative of the endgame in seeking out new sources of revenue.  From "Uncle Sam is coming after your savings."
As I observed when I first wrote about the plan, the very fact that we are discussing taxation of educational savings -- redistributing educational subsidies downward -- indicates that the administration has started scraping the bottom of the barrel when seeking out money to fund new programs. Why target a tax benefit that goes to a lot of your supporters (and donors), that tickles one of the sweetest spots in American politics (subsidizing higher education), and that will hit a lot of people who make less than the $250,000 a year that has become the administration's de facto definition of "rich"?

Presumably, because you're running out of other places to get the money.
I make less - a lot less - than $250,000/year but I put 200,000 miles on my Subaru so I could do the responsible thing and put aside some money for my kids' college expenses.  It's utterly bizarre that the government would want to tax these 529 accounts but the government monster must be fed.  Get ready for the value-added tax, the last resort for significant tax revenues, and one that will punish all Americans equally.

OR we could shrink the size of this bloated, oversized government!  Amirite?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ricky Jay!

Oh man, I love this guy, arguably the best magician in the world right now.  From Vanity Fair:
Ricky Jay might just be the greatest living sleight-of-hand artist, but he’s never marketed himself to the level of becoming a household name, like David Blaine or David Copperfield. He doesn’t splatter himself on reality shows, reveal the secrets behind his greatest illusions for late-night cable, or pander with fans on Twitter or Instagram—which makes him the perfect subject for a documentary on the PBS American Masters series, which airs this week, Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice.
I'm tuned in right now.  I wanted to see him so bad when he was on Broadway but just never got the chance.  This might be the next-best thing.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The magical power of threatening violence

Mark Steyn on a professor who says "The first amendment ends at insulting Mohammad."
His argument is the classic Heckler's Veto. Because a not insignificant proportion of young Muslim men are bananas, they killed a bunch of people in Niger over the last Charlie Hebdo cover. Whether they even saw the magazine is unclear, but at any rate we should rein in free speech just in case the crazies are minded to kill any more people.

If you're in DeWayne Wickham's class at Morgan State and you'd like to get an A, why not threaten to kill him?
Sounds like a plan.

Saudi king dies

This is kind of a big deal.  NY Times: "King Abdullah, Who Nudged Saudi Arabia Forward, Dies at 90."

Surrounded by bad faith operators

There's an old saying in poker that if you're sitting at a table and can't figure out who the fish is, it's you.  When it comes to Obama's adversaries, there's no such thing as a principled stand.  Everyone around him is a bad player.  Here's the scene: in a closed door meeting of Democrats, New Jersey senator Robert Menendez said that sanctions for Iran should be on the table.  Obama told Menendez he was just saying that because of...certain lobbyists:
Obama said that as a former senator himself, he understood how outside forces -- like special interests and donors -- can influence senators to act, one of the senators recounted.
That's when Menendez stood up to challenge the President, telling Obama he took "personal offense" to his assertions, the New York Times reported, arguing that he has worked to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions for many years and was not motivated by political considerations.
Obama played the same schtick in the SOTU.  When it comes to Iran, there's Obama's way and there's total WAR:
Anyway, I now get to the State of the Union address. Obama said that he would veto any new sanctions bill that “threatens to undo” his “progress.” Then he said, “The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.”
So, you see? Support for sanctions — in the event of failed talks — equals support for war. Sanctions-supporter equals war-supporter.
Why do you want to go to WAR, Senator Menendez?

Obama is back on the campaign trail, stirring up credulous college students, and whining that he's ready to work with Republicans if, gosh darn it, they just abandon everything they ran on in the last election.

Because that's the kind of stand-up guy Obama is.  You're welcome, America.

Welcome, Bibi

National Journal: "Boehner, White House Clash Over Netanyahu Invite."

The White House didn't want that chickens*** Netanyahu telling us anything abut Iran.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oh, yeah, we're out of money

The Corner: "Overlooked in Obama's SOTU: we're broke."  "I did love his shout out to future generations and how much “we” value them. Well, Mr. President, if you value our kids so much, now is the time to engage in fundamental reforms of Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, and Medicaid. If you don’t, you’ll be sending a strong signal that the only reason you value future generations is that they’ll be the ones paying for our unpaid bills."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I can't watch the SOTU

I'll read the transcript later.  In the meantime, here's the Minuteman discussing how Obama wants to punish Americans who are trying to save for college via 529 accounts.  Like me.  Because responsible parents must suppress their instincts for individual initiative and get on the government program.