Friday, July 25, 2014

Don't any of these clowns have an Etiquette Secretary?

John Kerry shows insensitivity to mother of fallen Israeli soldier:

“How’s your day?” Kerry asked as he sat down. “How’s your day?” Evie asked back. “My day’s going better than yours,” he said.//
It's like child porn...

... the Western demand for photos of dead Palestinians is incentivizing the Hamas leadership to engage in strategies that create the situation where more Palestinians get killed.

IRS Scandal.

IRS has been lying about Lois Lerner's hard drive.

On July 11, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, at a hearing examining a lawsuit against the IRS by the targeted conservative group True the Vote, told Obama administration lawyers he wanted to see an affidavit explaining what happened with Lerner's hard drive.
He wanted something on the record and under oath that went beyond the tap dancing of recent congressional testimony. Walton also wanted to know the serial number of the hard drive and, if that number was known, "why the computer hard drive cannot be identified and preserved."
In response, the IRS said under oath that the hard drive from Lerner's computer was destroyed and recycled, echoing earlier testimony from Commissioner John Koskinen.
The reason given for Lerner's hard drive — possibly containing incriminating emails from and to the former head of the IRS Tax Exempt division — being destroyed and recycled, according to the IRS in the affidavit, was that a team of its technical experts had determined the drive was irreparably damaged and had to be recycled.
Except that was not true.
On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Committee investigators said that they had a chance to talk to the technical experts inside the IRS who actually examined Lerner's computer, and that the experts said the hard drive in question was merely "scratched" and most of the data on it was indeed recoverable.
According to a committee release, "in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data."
Yet no attempt to get outside help was made.

More good news.

The GAO was able to register 11 fake accounts in 12 attempts.

Health and Human Services is still paying the bills for the fake accounts. NBC News reports the subsidy cost for the 11 approved applications is about $2,500 a month or about $30,000 a year.  “For each of our 11 approved applications,” the report reveals, “we paid the required premiums to put policies into force, and are continuing to pay the premiums. 
In half of their attempts, the GAO withheld needed information on the exchange and got stopped. They followed up with calls to the CMS contractor to get assistance, which should have required the investigators to submit identity documents. Instead, they got approved coverage over the phone, complete with taxpayer-supplied subsidies paid to the insurance companies. 
Not that their efforts were entirely trouble free. Four of their fake applications got lost and had to be resubmitted, for a failure rate of one-third. That will sound familiar to those forced into the Obamacare exchanges. “According to CMS call-center and document-processing contractors,” the GAO reports, “multiple electronic applications have been common.”
And, "Obamacare will suck the life out of the economy." 

Get ready for more dampening effects on the economy from Obamacare, too. The Washington Post reminded readers this week that the employer mandates will soon come into force for most businesses, which now have to make decisions on staffing, hours, and benefits for their 2015 budgets. The Post focuses first on a restaurant chain in Idaho to see how the employer mandate has impacted staffing and benefit decisions. 
The owner of Bardenay in Idaho, Kevin Settles, had to put expansion on hold – and the new revenues and jobs it would create – while tracking employee hours and setting up health-insurance options for those who worked enough hours to qualify. He even offered to get more of them insured if they worked at least 39 hours a week – and was shocked when only a handful accepted. Others quit to work at higher-paying part-time jobs. “To my surprise, having had this program in place for nearly a year,” Settles told The Post, “I don’t think the staff cares that much” about health-insurance coverage. 
Businesses care about it, though, especially the cost. Investors’ Business Daily has documented over 400 mid- to large-sized employers that will or have already cut worker hours to avoid the full-time classification that will force them to provide health insurance or pay fines for non-compliance. Not all of these are private-sector employers, either. 
The list recently added seven public school districts that intend to cut hours for non-teaching personnel, moves that will save them millions of dollars in benefit costs. The Post also reports a move by French food-service company Sodexo to reclassify 3,000 workers as part time in order to drop their health benefits. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good for this kid.

It's time for people to claim the right of citizens.

The Reading Life.

Always bring a book with you because you never know when you are going to get a chance to read.

People ask if I'm actually reading all these books, and how I can possibly find the hours. I don't mind the question. I enjoy the give and take, and the talk of immersing oneself in a story. And anyway, there's plenty of time. At the doctor's office, the airport, in line at the DMV. I knew a guy who could finish half a novella in the shower, don't ask me how.//


Reading requires — especially today — intense discipline and the capacity to sit still and engage. It's a skill you can develop, this quieting of the mind. Some books make it easier than others, sure, but the fact remains: A strong reader is a champ at refusing the sweet mutter of distractions. That damn laundry can wait and you know it.

My favorite place to read is in a dark bar mid-day. Although I can read almost anywhere, we're each allowed our preferences and mine is so. Coffee shops feel pretentious, the gym is freaking weird. Libraries are fine but there's so much candy and I can't handle it all calling my name. The last thing I read was The Conversations by Cesar Aira, and I devoured it in this quaint little dive up the road from my house. Aira's stuff is super meandering and detailed and it requires all of my senses working in unison; the bar is always close to empty when I go, so it's everything I need.
Bars, especially the ones I read in, are gifts. They're warm and brooding, and if you go early enough, it can be just you, a bartender, and enough open space to react to plot twists without judgment. All that's happening is the cleaning and the setting up shop for the lunch crowd. And so I'll sit with a book. Sometimes I'll even stand a while, which I did through part of the closing section of Wise Blood.
On average, I receive anywhere from five to 10 books a month; a relatively small number compared to some critics I know. They're sent to me by publishers and authors anticipating I'll give their work the shine they believe it merits. It's strange to feel that control, and I marvel at it.
I've always got stacks of books in a backpack and a mental log of places to lose myself in. So, on certain days I shove off someplace and pick a spot, usually a booth with the entrance in view. No matter where I go, I need to see who comes in and who leaves. Preparedness or paranoia, not sure which it is. Both.
Anyhow, do this: single out a bar or two. Make plans, let's say for a Wednesday between meals. It all depends on their hours of operation, as some bars open by 10am and others not until after 2pm. Don't drive too far. Don't go anywhere just to look at your phone, either, because your phone is not the point. Bring a book, sit. Look up every so often and make eye contact with the bartender. If you must, order something small. Be decent. Read.
He looked stupid then....

...and he looks dangerously incompetent now.

I ran across a book called "The Persecution of the Catholic Church in the Third Reich." Since it claimed to have been published in 1941, I purchased it as primary textual material.
After I received it, I wondered where it came from because the author is anonymous.
2. The Persecution of the Catholic Church in the Third Reich (1942).
It was published in London during 1942 and the author’s identity had, at the time, to be kept secret. Copies and reprints are available on the Internet and seem to vary between £5 - 18 or $9 - 25 plus delivery.
This book, of 565 tightly printed pages, is full of detailed events and is indispensable to anyone researching this subject.
After the war the history of the book’s formation could be revealed. Admiral Canaris was a German hero during the First World War and very patriotic. In 1935, when the army was still free from close Nazi control, Canaris was appointed head of the Army Forces Intelligence Service – the Abwehr.
Canaris (a non-practising Catholic) organised a secret group within the Abwehr, which included Josef Muller, a dedicated Catholic. So Muller, while travelling widely on secret army work, was able to collect details of persecution without raising Nazi suspicions. When completed, he delivered the information to the Vatican where Fr. Walter Mariaux translated and organised the material. In 1941 he passed the typescript to ‘Burns and Oates’, a Catholic publisher in London. They published it in 1942.
The Canaris group were involved in an assassination attempt on Hitler’s life, to be followed by an army seizure of power. On July 20th 1944, Colonel Von Stauffenberg, another dedicated Catholic, planted a bomb close to Hitler, but he was not killed. Most of the group, including Canaris, were exposed and executed, but Muller managed to remain free.//
After reading many books on the Catholic Church under the Nazis, I had never heard that any such book existed.

Another interesting factoid - Pius XII acted as the personal conduit for meetings between the British and and the German resistance that involved Canaris.

I knew about that, but I hadn't realized that there was more information floating through that conduit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The nice thing about having a Democrat in the White House is that there is never any bad news...

...such as you probably haven't even noticed the soaring inflation in food prices at all since the media is not covering that story.

To which I say: so what? None of those supposedly devastating critiques of the “inflation is real crowd” came even close to addressing the real problem for millions of American families: namely, that the prices of stuff they buy are growing a lot more quickly than the wages they use to buy that stuff. Yes, it’s nice that we spend a smaller percentage of our budgets on food than other nations do or than our grandparents did after World War II, but that’s cold comfort to a working mom trying to figure out how to buy $20 worth of meat with only $15 left in her pockets.
A lot has happened since Perry told us ten months ago to stop whining. Did events prove him right or wrong? Was his inexplicably bizarre method of averaging four years’ worth of inflation data actually an effective way of predicting future price growth? Let’s take a look:
Food Prices Since Sept. 2013
It turns out food prices have soared since he so confidently told us to shut up about them. The chart above shows the rapid disparity between food price growth and wage growth since Perry issued his “stop whining” directive. No joke: compared to less than a year ago, egg prices are up 13 percent. Beef is up 10 percent. Pork is up more than 9 percent. Fresh fruits are up over 7 percent. Overall, the prices of food at home are up 2.3 percent, while average hourly wages are up only 1.4 percent. In other words, food prices are growing 64 percent faster than wages.
The overall trend since the end of the recession in June of 2009 is no different. Food price growth is outstripping wage growth:
Federalist Food Price Time Series 07072014
"Ten Reasons Why I am No Longer a Leftist."

Read this article by Danusha V. Goska.

I've never been a leftist, but my reasons for not being a leftist are found on Danusha's list.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Have we reached the point where our government has such contempt for us that it is no longer even trying to make up plausible lies?

IRS lawyer: By the way, the hard drives of some other employees who dealt with Lois Lerner also crashed

WTF? Nation.

The cause of small government may be a matter of life and death.

Police officer who rousts crippled man will not be fired.

Here's the video:, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Well, at least it wasn't "suspicion of untaxed cigarettes"

//This is not to say that the actual manner by which the police took Garner down should not be thoroughly explored. NYPD guidelines apparently forbid the use of chokeholds, yet The New York Times story notes that a review board has received more than 1,000 complaints of police using chokeholds going back to 2009. The Times also notes that one of the officers who has been plunked on desk duty has been sued twice in federal court for civil rights violations, including one case where he pulled over a vehicle for a broken taillight and then strip-searched its inhabitants on the side of the road.

We should be concerned that the reason why the police swarmed Garner in the first place is getting lost. He allegedly possessed "untaxed cigarettes." That is it. There is this press focus on how the police took Garner down, and the problem with that focus is the question, "Well, what do you do when a 400-pound man refuses to cooperate when you try to arrest him?" Or to put it another way: Would there be an objection to police using a chokehold to take down and subdue man who was engaged in violent activity harming others? Because you know that's going to be part of the defense of this behavior.//

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Great Moments in American History!!!!

This is great!!!

Buzz Aldrin punches Moon Landing Denier in the nose.

MSNBC is the new Comedy Central.

Host Krystal Ball follows up her observations that George Orwell's "Animal House" was about "capitalist greed" by getting pranked by a Howard Stern fan.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Free-thinking Orthodoxy of Political Science.

At least, the blogger wasn't put under house arrest.

Scientific American Fires Blogger Who Gave "Troublesome Inheritance" Good Review

Throughout its 169-year history, Scientific American has been an august and sober chronicler of the advance of human knowledge, from chemistry to physics to anthropology.
Lately, however, things have become kind of a mess.
A series of blog posts on the magazine’s Web site over the past few months has unleashed waves of criticism and claims that the publication was promoting racism, sexism and “genetic determinism.”
Late last week, the publication took down the latest alleged outrage, a post about the late physicist Richard Feynman and his notorious womanizing. Then it republished the post with an editor’s note explaining that it was restoring the article “in the interest of openness and transparency.”
And it fired the blogger who wrote it.The trouble started in April when a guest blogger, a doctoral student named Chris Martin, wrote about Lawrence H. Summers’ assertions when he was president of Harvard University about the paucity of women in some scientific fields. While acknowledging that discrimination played a role in holding back women, Martin also concluded, “the latest research suggests that discrimination has a weaker impact than people might think, and that innate sex differences explain quite a lot.”


The post drew a sharp pushback, particularly on social media, from readers who questioned Martin’s scientific and cultural bona fides. “This slovenly article above is so full of outdated information it is painful,” wrote one commenter.
The second land mine was a post in May by Ashutosh Jogalekar, which favorably reviewed a controversial book by Nicholas Wade, “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History.” Jogalekar praised the book, saying it confirms the need to “recognize a strong genetic component to [social and cognitive] differences” among racial groups.
This time, some social-media commenters accused Scientific American of promoting questionable racial theories. In early July, the reaction led the publication’s blog editor, Curtis Brainard, to post a note that read in part, “While we believe that [the racism and sexism] charges are excessive, we share readers’ concerns. Although we expect our bloggers to cover controversial topics from time to time, we also recognize that sensitive issues require extra care, and that did not happen here.”

Science explains that if you are white and you did not vote for Obama, you are racist, but that ...

....if you are white and you did vote for Obama, you are still racist.

It Was Racist to Elect Obama President Because Science

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Who links to me?