Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Last Chance

The State Department on Monday reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him, according to an internal personnel announcement. Mr. Fried’s office is being closed, and his former responsibilities will be “assumed” by the office of the department’s legal adviser, the notice said. (NYT, 1/28/2013)

The vindication of George Bush and Dick Cheney is now complete, but because journalism is dead, you will not hear that sentiment expressed. President Obama could not be reached for comment on the collapse of his signature issue of the 2008 campaign.

As Breitbart News noted yesterday, Democrats have long pushed for “comprehensive” immigration reform, but have also blocked reform when passage was possible, as in 2005-7, since retaining the issue as a grievance motivates Hispanic voters and immigrant-oriented interest groups.

By rejecting the citizenship-for-security compromise, the president may hope to focus media criticism on Republicans in Congress, who largely oppose a new amnesty for illegal immigrants. If the past is any indication, Obama will use that opposition to label Republicans as racist. (Breitbart.com, 1/29/2013)

Yet neither Mr. Obama nor his White House have reached out to Mr. Rubio, and many Democrats want to use the immigration issue to drive turnout in election after election. Their goal is to have a legislative dance and then blame Republicans for killing reform sometime in 2014. (WSJ, 1/28/2013)

Interesting take on immigration from two sources. Certainly it works to Obama's advantage to batter Republicans over immigration. However, we surmise that secret promises were made to Hispanic leaders last year after they went public and criticized Obama for failing to act. No doubt the President used the same line he used with the Russians: "After the election I will have more flexibility." So even though Obama would probably like to use immigration as a wedge issue until the 2014 mid-term elections, given a bi-partisan Senate proposal it will be difficult for him not to act.

Need To No
After highly classified details of a U.S. cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear program were made public, President Obama went to the White House press room to denounce those who suggested the leaks were coming from his top national security aides. “The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive [and] it is wrong,” the president declared.

Well, the Federal Bureau of Investigation may disagree. The Post broke the news Sunday that the FBI has launched an “aggressive” investigation into “current and former senior officials suspected of involvement” in the leak that Obama personally ordered cyberattacks on the Iranian nuclear program using a computer virus called Stuxnet. The New York Times story which first revealed the details of the cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear program cited as sources “members of the President’s national security team who were in the [Situation Room]” and even quoted the president asking during a top secret meeting: “Should we shut this thing down?” Only Obama’s most trusted national security advisers would have been present when he uttered those words. (Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post, 1/28/2013)

Buried by the Liberal media (like all Obama scandals) before the election, it is great to see this one getting some air.  Maybe Piers Morgan will do a segment on it. Just kidding! 

Hellenic Haze
Like most in Europe, the Greek state is the primary deliverer of medical care through a national health service, and—on paper, at least—it does a great job. The World Health Organization puts Greece in 14th place in its global rankings, though per capita health spending is relatively low. By contrast, the U.S., which spends the most per capita, comes in 38th place in terms of overall quality, behind such health-care paragons as Morocco and Dominica.

From such statistics was the case for ObamaCare made. But Mr. Tsipras takes a dimmer view of health delivery in his native land. "Why in a public hospital, in order to have an operation, do [patients] have to slip [doctors] an envelope with a certain amount of money?" he asks. Why indeed? I ask back. "Because the state gives low wages to doctors thinking it's completely natural for them to add to their salary" by accepting those cash-stuffed envelopes. (Bret Stephens, WSJ, 1/28/2013)

Liberal public policy is driven by nonsense "polls" that purport to show the U.S. is behind Botswana in education, behind Somalia in health care, behind North Korea in wages, etc. And so the cry goes out: "We must spend more on .....whatever." "Whatever" defined as any issue that drives more public spending to Democrat constituencies and returns more union dues to Democrats.

And now we also find out direct from a reliable source that at least some of the great health care available outside of the U.S. is greased by kickbacks. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Abstract Entities

The unusual joint interview with Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” was noteworthy mainly because it happened. Neither broke much ground in describing the journey that took them from bitter opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 to collaborators in dealing with terrorism, war, diplomacy and global economics. (NYT, 1/27/2013)

A partial list of questions asked during this historic interview:

-Madame Secretary, tell us something humorous about the President that the country does not know.

-Mr. President, given the Secretary's frenetic travel schedule, how did you keep up with her whereabouts?

-Madame Secretary, do you and the First Lady ever dish about your respective husbands?

-Mr. President, how worried were you when you heard about Secretary Clinton's health scare?

-Madame Secretary, how comforting was it to you to hear of the President's concern when you fell ill?

-Mr. President, how much of a loss to your administration and to the country is the Secretary's decision to step down?

-Madame Secretary, read a good book, relax by the pool, maybe write your memoirs, how will you fill your time?

-Mr. President, will you still call Secretary Clinton if you need her advice should some international crisis erupt?

-Madame Secretary, Mr. President, please explain your shameless lies in the face of the events in Benghazi which claimed the lives of four Americans. (Just kidding on this one!)

The U.S. Treasury Department disregarded its own guidelines by allowing large pay increases for executives at three firms bailed out during the financial crisis, a report released Monday says.

The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said Treasury approved all 18 requests it received for executive raises at American International Group Inc., General Motors Corp. and Ally Financial Inc. Of those requests, 14 were for $100,000 or more. One raise, for the CEO of a division at AIG, was for $1 million.

The three firms together received nearly $250 billion from the bailout fund. Only AIG has fully repaid its $182 billion bailout. (Washington Post, 1/28/2013)

The Washington Post engages in a random act of journalism which will likely be quickly papered over. So after all the Obama campaign's endless demagoguery about Wall Street, bankers, corporations, private equity and Mitt Romney we learn this. Can we have another election?  Obama will be forgiven as long as he gets gay marriage, a carbon tax and immigration amnesty done. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Skeleton Key

Helplessly Hoping
Some medical-device companies faced with a new tax meant to help finance the health law are hoping someone else will pick up the tab: their hospital customers.

Companies including feeding-tube supplier Applied Medical Technology Inc. and respiratory-valve maker Hans Rudolph Inc. quietly added new surcharges or warned hospitals of price increases to cover the new 2.3% tax on device sales that went into effect Jan. 1, according to letters and invoices from nine manufacturers sent to hospitals that were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. (WSJ, 1/26/2013)

Well, duh. Illustrating once again (this is getting boring) the utter absurdity of Liberals and Obamacare. Of course medical supply companies are going to raise their prices to cover the added expense of the Obamacare tax. They would be silly not to. Did Obama and Kathleen Sebelius think these firms would just magnanimously absorb the cost? What does your refuse contractor do when the price of gasoline doubles? They add a fuel surcharge. This is still a capitalist country (for the time being). Who pays for the medical supply tax in the end? You do. Thank Obamacare. And don't keep your fingers crossed waiting for that cost curve to bend.

Other benefits of this tax? Consider:

Device makers have also said they would cut costs with layoffs or reductions in research spending to help offset the impact of the tax. In November 2011, for instance, Stryker Corp., a maker of hip and knee implants, said it would lay off 1,000 employees in part to brace for the tax. (WSJ, 1/26/2013)

And for Mr. Obama, who devoted part of his Inaugural Address on Monday to a celebration of the end of a war in Iraq and the winding down of the American commitment in Afghanistan, the prospect of getting involved in a conflict against a shadowy enemy far from the United States is unwelcome. (NYT, 1/25/2013)

We view this as another of those "The Education of a President" moments. Sure Obama's preference would be to oversee the enactment of overarching social programs in the U.S., rather than get involved with another overseas war. But reality intrudes. Militant Islamic radicalism is not going to disappear overnight or quietly. 

Ms. Carey urged the group to keep pressuring the administration on a number of issues, including immigration reform, expanding benefits to same-sex partners of military personnel and allowing transgendered people to serve openly in the military. (NYT, 1/25/2013)

How we will know that the apocalypse is near: when transgendered people serve openly in the military.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sleeping Dogs

New Horizons
Emboldened by a brighter fiscal horizon, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday recommitted himself to two ambitious projects, a high-speed rail line and a huge water tunnel system, in an optimistic State of the State speech that sought to secure California’s long-term future as well as the three-term governor’s legacy.
In November, Mr. Brown surprised many by winning a hard-fought campaign to pass Proposition 30, a temporary tax surcharge that will pour $6 billion a year into the state treasury for the next seven years. (NYT, 1/24/2013)

So California - declared a fiscal basket case mere months ago - is now just fine. And all because of a "temporary" $6 billion tax, not one cent of which has yet been collected. Two predictions: La La Land Liberals will use the windfall not to shore up the state's finances for the long term (e.g. public pensions), but for moonbat projects (e.g. high-speed rails!) and the temporary tax will not be temporary.

Hard Sell
Movies about a New Jersey pornography addict, an abused adult film star, a lesbian housewife-turned-prostitute and a British smut kingpin all generated strong offers from distributors at this year's Sundance Film Festival, proving once again—if it needed to be proven—that sex sells. (WSJ, 1/24/2013)

Repeat to yourself: there is nothing wrong with cultural values in America, there is nothing wrong with cultural values in America, there is nothing wrong....

But if we could only pass that high capacity gun magazine ban our children would be safe.

And while we are at it, the name of the new Sylvester Stallone movie? Bullet to the Head.

The moral hazard embedded in the explosion of social-welfare programs is plain. Transfers funded by other people's money tend to foster a pernicious "something for nothing" mentality—especially when those transfers seem to be progressively and relentlessly growing, year by year. This "taker" mentality can only weaken civil society—even as it places ever-heavier burdens on taxpayers.

Generosity is a virtue, on that we can all agree with President Obama. But being generous with other people's money is not the same thing. (Nicholas Eberstadt, WSJ, 1/24/2013)

Of the many sins of Democrats we can think of none so grievous as their utter disregard for the economic unsustainability of entitlement programs. Because they have used Republican attempts at reform as the crucible with which to demonize the opposition, they are locked into a path that leads only to ruin.

Abstract Thinking
His emphasis is always on what one abstract group owes another in the service of a larger concept. "You didn't build that" are the defining words of his presidency. (Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 1/24/2013)

The real Obama Doctrine.

A federal appeals court panel unanimously agreed that President Obama violated the Constitution last year by appointing three members to the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was not technically in recess, circumventing Senate Republicans who had held up his picks for months. (Washington Post, 1/25/2013)

Expect to hear cheers shortly from those defenders of the Constitution who were so critical of many of Bush's actions. Just kidding!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Signal Distinction

“It takes about a second and a half to change a clip,” said Frank Jezioro, a former special agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence and now director of the state Division of Natural Resources. (NYT, 1/23/2012)

Someone with seemingly expert knowledge weighs in on the gun magazine capacity issue. And we draw an entirely logical conclusion that limiting the capacity to 10 or 7 or 5 would have saved exactly 0 lives in Newtown. Maybe we ought to look elsewhere for the answer to school shootings. Hint, hint.

Rhode Island, the only state in New England that has not legalized gay marriage, began taking up the matter this week. The State House is expected to pass a bill Thursday that would allow anyone to marry “any eligible person regardless of gender.” But the measure faces resistance in the State Senate and its fate is uncertain. Teresa Paiva-Weed, a Democrat who is the Senate president, opposes same-sex marriage but has said she would allow a vote on it in committee. (NYT, 1/23/2013)

So as Liberals have defined things and just to be clear, Rhode Island Senate president Democrat Paiva-Weed is a bigot and a homophobe.

Also bigots and homophobes: many Rhode Island Latinos:

The Faith Alliance brought out hundreds of opponents at a hearing last week that lasted more than six hours; many were Latino members of Pentecostal churches. (NYT, 1/23/2013)

Starting Point
For starters, let's address the three horsemen of the climate apocalypse that Mr. Obama mentioned.

Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%.
The world has not seen a general increase in drought. A study published in Nature in November shows globally that "there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years." 
Measured by total energy (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), hurricane activity is at a low not encountered since the 1970s. (Bjorn Lomborg, WSJ, 1/23/2013)

Lomborg - who believes that we should reduce carbon dioxide because it causes global warming - tends to be one of the more rational commentators on the topic. 

Witness (from the same article):

When innovation eventually makes green energy cheaper, everyone will implement it, including the Chinese. Such a policy would likely do 500 times more good per dollar invested than current subsidy schemes. 

Mrs. Clinton is a short-timer at State, so her main goal is to escape the Benghazi debacle without permanent wounds. Her adoring press will make sure of that. (WSJ, 1/23/2013)

Mission accomplished. The Liberal press teed up Hill's long-awaited testimony by producing polls that showed her popularity on a par with Mahatma Gandhi and then concluded (articles written before she testified) that she had done a bang-up job standing up to Republicans. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Milvian Bridge

By Extension
To extend the power of the Oval Office, the president has also already signaled that he intends to try to leverage his authority more fully through executive actions that do not require Congressional approval. (NYT, 1/22/2013)

Obama has been consumed with the idea of being a "transformational" president (whatever that means). He has supposedly read up on the topic and has spoken extensively with presidential historians. Here's the thing, however. Transformational presidents found ways to fulfill their vision working with all sides in Washington. Obama apparently believes that he can do it with executive orders. It's not the same and his legacy will not be what he imagines.

Ladies With Guns
Pentagon chief Leon Panetta will announce plans to lift the direct combat exclusion rule for women in the military, a senior defense official says. (Washington Post, 1/23/2013)

First Bradley Manning and now this. The feminization of the military is complete. Next up, lawsuits against the military the first time that a female is wounded or killed in action. The military will be accused by feminist lawyers of having created "a hostile work environment."  Go ahead and laugh, but remember where you heard it first.

Leaving On A Jet Plane
On Tuesday, Tiger Woods said he moved from California to Florida in 1996 to avoid the state's high taxes. (Breitbart.com, 122/2013)

Francois Hollande's proposed tax increase on the rich is proving so onerous that former president Nicolas Sarkozy is reportedly planning to move himself and his money to London. In so doing, he will join the ranks of other famous French citizens, like Gerard Depardieu, who have fled France to escape Hollande's socialist reach as well. (Breitbart.com, 1/22/2013)

More and more people move or consider the move to Lowtaxestan.

Obama teased the crowd with a theme of unity: “Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people.” But his “we the people” theme turned out to be more of a campaign retread. “We the people understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it,” he said. “We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.”

And we the people accept that we live in an era of diminished oratory. (Dana Milbank, Washington Post, 1/22/2013)

Have aliens taken over the body of Dana Milbank and published under his name?  If not, then four years in we finally learn from a Liberal that Obama ain't that great a speaker after all. 

Speaking of which:

I thought the teleprompter gave a better inaugural speech in 2009. (Ann Coulter tweet, 1/22/2012)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We Decree

Even on Fox News, anchors immersed in parsing the president’s speech — one said it was “a call to arms for the liberal agenda” ... (NYT, 1/21/2013)

Mr. Obama dispensed with the post-partisan appeals of four years ago to lay out a forceful vision of advancing gay rights, showing more tolerance toward illegal immigrants, preserving the social welfare safety net and acting to stop climate change. (NYT, 1/21/2013)

So according to the New York Times, those cretins over at Fox said Obama's speech was all about the Liberal agenda....which in a nearby article the Times then confirms. Got it.

The Wobbles
Article in the New York Times today on climate that we will quote extensively. To our recollection this is one of the few (only?) times that there has been an substantive discussion about historical weather patterns and events.

Scientists say it has been difficult to get people to understand or focus on the importance, for future generations, of today’s decisions about greenhouse gases. Their evidence that the gases represent a problem is based not just on computerized forecasts of the future, as is commonly believed, but on what they describe as a growing body of evidence about what occurred in the past.

Hmmm...greenhouse gases in the past! (our emphasis) Let's read on.

To add to that body of knowledge, Dr. Raymo is studying geologic history going back several million years. The earth has warmed up many times, for purely natural reasons, and those episodes often featured huge shifts of climate, partial collapse of the polar ice sheets and substantial increases in sea level...

Natural warming? Huge shifts? Collapse of polar ice sheets? Rise in sea levels? All occurring naturally? Now we are really intrigued!

Skeptics who play down the importance of global warming like to note that these past changes occurred with no human intervention. They argue that the climate is ever-changing, yet humans or their predecessors managed to prosper...

Yes, that is pretty much what we skeptics say.

The geologic record does offer startling examples of the instability of the planet. Whale bones can be dug up in the Sahara. The summit of Mount Everest is a chunk of ancient seafloor.

Whales in the desert...wow!

But most climate scientists reject the idea that this history means human-induced climate change will be benign. They add that the fossil record indicates nothing quite like today’s rapid release of greenhouse gases and its parallel effect of raising the planet’s temperature, changes that are occurring in a geologic instant.

“Absolutely, unequivocally, nature has changed before,” said Richard B. Alley, a leading climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University. “But it looks like we’re going to do something bigger and faster than nature ever has.”

Oh, but this time it's different? Note the jump to "human-induced" change which is depicted as absolutely incontrovertible.

Scientists who study climate history, known as paleoclimatologists, focus much of their research on episodes when wobbles in the earth’s orbit caused it to cool down or warm up, causing sea level to rise or fall by hundreds of feet.

More interesting science. The earth wobbles which causing cooling and warming.

Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, appears to have played a crucial role. When changes in the orbit caused the earth to cool, scientists say, a large amount of carbon dioxide entered the ocean, reducing the heat-trapping properties of the atmosphere and thus amplifying the cooling. Conversely, when the shifts in sunlight led to initial warming, carbon dioxide emerged from the ocean and helped speed the end of the previous ice age.

Hold the phone sister! Do you mean to say that changes in the earth's orbit (the "wobbles") can actually change the level of greenhouse gases? This is stunning news. Why haven't we heard this before?

Based on this record, scientists like Dr. Alley describe carbon dioxide as the master control knob of the earth’s climate. A large body of scientific evidence shows that the current increase in the gas is being caused by human activity, meaning that people are essentially twisting the earth’s thermostat hard to the right.

Even after all of this great science validating natural weather changes we are back to blaming humans. Of course, there is also a large body of evidence published by scientists that refutes the "blame humans" hypothesis. Such scientists who are forced to write op-ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal in order to be heard.

Letters To O
What people do not realize is that the practice of children voluntarily writing the White House is so common that the Obama Administration is having difficulty keeping the content of some of these letters from the press. Fortunately, I have a mole in the White House who has sent me some of these previously hidden letters - all of which were mailed by school children to Obama. In fairness, we are forbidden to assume that any of the following letters were written under duress from right wing parents or school teachers:

Grant writes "Mr. Obama, there should be some changes in the law with abortions. It’s a free country, but I recommend there needs be [sic] a limit with killing babies. Please don’t let people own abortion clinics or give money to powerful lobbies like Planned Parenthood. I think there should be a good reason to get an abortion. There should be a limit about [sic] how many abortions a person can have." (Mike Adams, Townhall.com, 1/21/2013)

We are going to confer the label of "literary genius" on Mike Adams for this piece in which he imagines children writing letters to Obama (see Newtown) begging him to do something about abortion. 

Decision Time
“If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and state, my tax rate is 62, 63 percent,” Mickelson said. “So I’ve got to make some decisions on what to do.” (NYT, 1/20/2013)

So are Depardieu (France) and golfer Phil (California) wrong or selfish because they do not want to pay 75% or 63% of their earnings in taxes? 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Price Of Entry

Ebb and Flow
But Mr. Obama and his team would benefit, as they begin the second term, by acknowledging that many of the biggest problems facing the administration flow directly from the man at the top. Mr. Obama is a lousy manager. 
Successful modern presidents share an experience that Barack Obama does not have: before becoming president, each played an executive or leadership role that provided insight as to how to run an effective government.
Mr. Obama’s top advisers say they often feel alienated from the president. There is a sense in the White House that “Barack Obama’s theory of government is he is the government.”
Chief executives who have visited the White House for much publicized consultations with the president and senior staff report that Mr. Obama appears to be more interested in delivering his message than in listening to others.  (David Rothkopf, chief executive of The FP Group, publisher of Foreign Policy magazine and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, NYT, 1/19/2013)

We're not  sure if the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace leans left or right, but we found this analysis to be interesting. It confirms - given the depictions by those who have dealt with the president - the concerns that were voiced before Obama was first elected. First, senators might not make good presidents. They have no executive authority and they have not run anything. Obama's political experience was even more threadbare, with no substantive legislative accomplishments and no voting record. ("Present" doesn't count.) Second, Obama had absolutely no experience running anything either in politics or in private industry. Of course, in the past election we had a candidate that had both executive experience in governing and in the private sector. Alas, we did not elect him.

Obama and Biden sworn in for 2nd term; now officially inheriting problems from themselves
(Doug Powers, Michellemalkin.com, 1/20/2013)

Headline of the year!

Block and Tackle
Republicans should simply block what they can. Further tax hikes, for example. The general rule is: From a single house of Congress you can resist but you cannot impose.

Aren’t you failing the country, say the insurgents? Answer: The country chose Obama. He gets four years.

Want to save the Republic? Win the next election. Don’t immolate yourself trying to save liberalism from itself. If your conservative philosophy is indeed right, winning will come. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 1/17/2013)

Very very sound advice from Krauthammer on Republican strategy echoing our belief that Republicans need to take the long view.

Le Nerve!
The French officials say they understand that the U.S. may be reluctant to engage in another war, just as it is winding down the 11-year-old war in Afghanistan. Still, they said France expects the U.S. to do more to fight militants who have vowed to hit at Western interests and conducted an attack in Algeria that left at least 23 hostages dead, including at least one American citizen. (NYT, 1/20/2013)

Particularly when France has been such a stalwart ally as the U.S. fought "militants who have vowed to hit at Western interests" for oh, the past dozen years or so....

When Joe Biden took the oath Sunday marking the start of his second term as vice president, around the room were a few clues that he may be thinking of a promotion four years down the road. (WSJ, 1/20/2013)

Which got us thinking that the Liberal media is going to have its work cut out for itself to repackage Biden as a statesman rather than a goofball. Not to worry, they have plenty of time and they are a committed bunch.

But that hasn't stopped insurance companies from charging higher premiums this year to cover the hike, as well as the cost of ObamaCare benefits such as free birth control and preventive care. (Foxnews.com, 1/21/2013)

The point that we make over and over again. There is no free lunch. Feckless Liberals demand that insurance companies provide an ever-increasing list of free services. Insurance companies - beaten to a pulp by Liberals and regulators - agree. And then raise premiums to cover the cost of the free services. This is not rocket science people. If you want to socialize the insurance companies then do so, but don't blame them for trying not to operate at a loss. Oh, wait. Liberals want to socialize the insurance companies. That's what single payer is.

Left-wing ’60s radical and onetime domestic terrorist Bill Ayers will be a keynote speaker at the Association of Teacher Educators annual conference in Atlanta next month.

Ayers gained notoriety alongside his wife Bernardine Dohrn as a member of the Weather Underground during the Vietnam War. He was involved in Chicago’s “Days of Rage” riot in 1969 and went underground as a fugitive from justice after an accidental Greenwich Village townhouse explosion in 1970 killed three Weather Underground members who were preparing a bomb that prematurely detonated.

Ayers admitted in a 2001 book that he participated in bombings of the New York City Police Department headquarters, the U.S. Capitol Building and the Pentagon in the early 1970s. (Dailycaller.com, 1/21/2013)

But Fordham University will not let Ann Coulter speak....

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bad Vapors

Laid Out
Mr. Obama will unveil his own 10-year budget plan in February, laying out his tax and spending plans for his second term. But Senate Democrats, for the past four years, have refused to move a budget blueprint to the Senate floor, in violation of the Budget Act of 1974, which laid out new rules for controlling deficits. (NYT, 1/18/2013)

It took four years of hard investigative work by intrepid reporters at the New York Times, but they can now reveal the truth about the Senate's failure to write a budget....in paragraph fifteen of a seventeen paragraph article. Next up, in 2016, should Harry Reid be indicted for this lapse?

C. Ray Nagin, the former mayor of this city who fulminated against the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina but became for many a symbol of the shortcomings of government himself, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday on 21 counts including conspiracy, bribery and money laundering. (NYT, 1/18/2013)

No word in this twenty-seven paragraph article as to whether Nagin is a Democrat or Republican. The New York Times Style Book for Reporters says that the political affiliation of a corrupt politician should only be mentioned if that politician is a Republican.  And so we are betting he's a Dem. (He's a Dem.)

Slim And Slimmer
After a first term of both big achievements and disappointments and the economy still struggling to recover from the financial crisis he inherited, Mr. Obama retains the approval of a slim majority of Americans, 51 percent, according to a pre-inauguration survey for The New York Times and CBS News. That is down from 62 percent soon after he took office four years ago, and conceals a sharp divide: 8 in 10 Republicans disapprove of how he is handling the job, while almost 9 in 10 Democrats approve. Independents are split. (NYT, 1/18/2013)

"Poll Finds Most Back Obama, With a Split Along Party Lines" screams the New York Times headline. Yes, 51% technically counts as "most" we suppose. But then again that is down from 62%. Reading further, we find that only 42% expect the economy to be better in four years. So what might have been a better headline? Perhaps: "Poll Reveals Dangers for Obama in Second Term."

The federal health-care overhaul is prompting some colleges and universities to cut the hours of adjunct professors, renewing a debate about the pay and benefits of these freelance instructors who handle a significant share of teaching at U.S. higher-education institutions.

The Affordable Care Act requires large employers to offer a minimum level of health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week or more starting in 2014, or face a penalty. The mandate is a particular challenge for colleges and universities, which increasingly rely on adjuncts to help keep costs down as states have scaled back funding for higher education. (WSJ, 1/18/2013)

Colleges, bastions of Liberalism, run into the buzzsaw of Obamacare. Perhaps they can petition Kathleen Sebelius for a waiver...

The Race Is On
It is difficult to quantify, but one factor for anyone judging Mr. Obama is race. The biggest bloc of voters opposed to the president are older white men. He lost 57% of the white vote in 2008 and 60% in 2012. Meanwhile, he won over 90% of black voters in both elections.

Typically, Mr. Obama avoids the issue the way Superman avoided kryptonite. He makes the point that he is not "the black president" but the president of all Americans. But when it comes to judging his place in American history, it is impossible not to address his minority status. The first blacks in any field, much like the first women, are always held to strict standards. (Juan Williams, WSJ, 1/18/2013)

The usually thoughtful Williams invokes race and gets it exactly wrong. Obama is not being held to a higher standard, he is being held to a lower standard, at least by a number of voting blocs. Let's look at the demographics: older white males, blacks, females, young voters. Which group is more likely to hold Obama accountable for four years in which the economy did not recover, unemployment was consistently high and gas prices averaged $4/gallon? We would argue that older white males who grew up in working environments where accountability in job performance was an everyday reality. Screw up on the job and you do not get that raise or that promotion. There is no place to hide and your buddies often cannot save you. Screw up too much and you get fired. Now look at the other groups - blacks, females and the young. All are more likely to give the president a pass on performance for a wide variety of cultural reasons (e.g. the desire to not see the nation's first black president fail; persistent depictions of the president's opponents as vindictive or worse, racist; the president's "likability"; compassion, etc.)

(Obama) had nothing to say about America's culture of violence—its movies, TV shows and videogames. Excuse me, there will be a study of videogames; they are going to do "research" on whether seeing 10,000 heads explode on video screens every day might lead unstable young men to think about making heads explode. You'll need a real genius to figure that out. (Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 1/18/2013)

Exactly. Which reminds us of how we expect that Liberals will react the next time that there is a shooting (God forbid) with a weapon other than an AR 15. They will seek to ban it. And then their reaction the next time there is a shooting (God forbid) with another type of weapon?  You see where we are going on this. Liberals would rather approach each mass murder as a separate event which needs a legislative fix. They avoid the hard work of looking at American culture starting with their friends in Hollywood and in the gaming industry who bankroll them.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Known World

We just finished reading The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden by Mark Bowden. It's an OK book, but we took notice of Bowden's treatment of the three US presidents most connected to bin Laden. Here's how it breaks down. Bush generally gets the typical treatment given by a Liberal author....cowboy, bluster, mission accomplished, torture etc. Clinton gets neutral treatment. Obama - who granted the author lots of interview face time - is depicted as a thoughtful and decisive leader. To our reading Obama absolutely loves talking about how he makes these tough decisions and comes off as a narcissist. 

There are two small, but interesting points we will mention. The first concerns VP Biden. In one of his directives to subordinates, bin Laden argues against any Al Qaeda attacks on Obama because Biden would become president and bin Laden describes him as not up to the job! Also on Biden, it turns out that among all the many individuals who were asked to give their recommendation on whether or not to precede with the mission to kill bin Laden, Biden was one of only two who argued against it! Turns out bin Laden was right in his assessment.

The second point concerns Clinton whose main action against bin Laden consisted of lobbing a couple of cruise missiles which were unsuccessful. Most remember those actions. You may also remember a Fox News interview with Clinton in which Chris Wallace questioned Clinton's efforts to get bin Laden. Clinton ferociously lashed out at Wallace saying he had done all he could. It was definitely a "me thinks thou dost protest too much moment." Well, without mentioning Clinton by name, Bowden describes how a CIA bin Laden task force "presented the White House with eight such opportunities" to target bin Laden. According to one of the CIA principals involved "each time the strike was called off, primarily over concerns about collateral damage." No wonder Clinton is defensive. Oh, and he lies.

Democrats are united on one point: For any legislation to reach the Senate floor, Mr. Obama will have to put the full weight of his office and bully pulpit behind it.

Without constant public pressure and a concerted effort to woo conservative Democrats, especially those up for re-election in red states in two years, there will be little impetus, numerous Democrats said, to move legislation along. Democrats also may be forced to decide whether to endure a lengthy legislative battle on guns at the expense of priorities like immigration. (NYT, 1/17/2013)

Wow, gun control legislation may fail because of....Democrats. We'll see how the media protects their own when push comes to shove.

The media loved McCain, too; loved the way he publicly battled and undermined President George W. Bush; loved his maverick ways when those ways damaged the Republican Party. But where was all that media love when McCain really needed it? Where was all that media love when he became a candidate for president?

If Christie has any designs whatsoever on the presidency in 2016, he had best remember that the media only builds up Republicans who serve the left-wing agenda. But should you stop being useful, get all ambitious, and threaten a Democrat's path to power, the media will turn on you, without mercy. (John Nolte, Breitbart.com, 1/18/2013)

Very insightful warning to Chris Christie from John Nolte. Once the lovefest is over, they will go back to skewering him.

At this point, “reform” proposals are all about things like raising the retirement age or changing the inflation adjustment, moves that would gradually reduce benefits relative to current law. What problem is this supposed to solve?

Well, it’s probable (although not certain) that, within two or three decades, the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted, leaving the system unable to pay the full benefits specified by current law. So the plan is to avoid cuts in future benefits by committing right now to ... cuts in future benefits. Huh? (Paul Krugman, NYT, 1/17/2013)

Moonbat New York Times Economist Krugman is back with a real doozy of a column. We'll spare you much of it because it is just so bizarre. (Deficits don't really matter!). The blurb above catches our eye because Krugman argues that there is no real reason to worry about impending entitlement program shortfalls because....well, they are so far in the future. That's a good approach...said the stork! And to those young parents worried about savings for Junior's college, don't worry, be happy. In Krugman's words, to save now, what problem is this supposed to solve?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Turning Point

RedStateVT has now passed the 10,000 pageview milestone. Thanks to our loyal readers! 

Watched Piers Morgan again last night. (OK, OK we promise we are going to stop...) As he badgered another anti-gun control guest two things struck us. First, he is doing this to gin up his dismal ratings. Second, the model he is using is Chris Matthews: Ask a question and then talk over the answer; Repeat. Matthews must be flattered on the one hand, but also concerned that the tiny pool of Liberal viewers is not big enough to sustain them both. 

During her two-plus years in business, Elizabeth Turley has steadily recruited new employees for her apparel company, Meesh & Mia Corp., to keep pace with its rapid growth. But this year could be different. Instead of increasing her staff, she plans to hire independent contractors for tasks that can be outsourced, such as marketing and product development.

Her reason? Meesh & Mia is on the cusp of having 50 full-time employees. If the company hits that threshold, it will have to provide health coverage that meets government standards or potentially pay a penalty. (WSJ, 1/16/2013)

We love the creativity of modern small business capitalists when faced with the Big Brother regulations of the federal government, but we have to wonder if this is what Obama and the Dems anticipated when they gifted us with Obamacare. 

As If
As of his first inaugural, 134.379 million Americans were working and unemployment was 7.3%. Four years later, 134.021 million are working and unemployment is 7.8%.

In January 2009, 32.2 million people were on food stamps and 13.2% of Americans lived in poverty. Now, 47.5 million receive food stamps and the poverty rate is up to 15%. (Karl Rove, WSJ, 1/16/2013)

Rove is still in our doghouse, but his analysis is spot-on. Obama - the president who did not deserve to be re-elected but was anyway - has driven the country backwards. 

Crisis Management
The agents aren’t there to protect the children from random mass shootings, but to prevent the national crisis that would occur if the commander in chief’s offspring were taken hostage. (Dana Milbank, Washington Post, 1/17/2013)

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank writes a column that can honestly be called an attempt to be fair to both sides on the issue of using children as political pawns in the gun debate. He calls out Obama for using children and also rebukes the NRA for an ad that calls Obama a hypocrite because his daughters get armed Secret Service protection. What caught our attention was the line above which claims the First Daughters only get such protection to forestall someone who wanted to kidnap them. Really? If an armed intruder enter the school with the objective of murder rather than kidnapping, the Secret Service would not intervene? It's typical Liberal logic: illogical. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Camel Through A Needle

Dog Times
California utilities are under legislative mandate to get 33% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The state's own watchdog, the Division of Ratepayer Advocates, issued a report complaining that utilities have been rushing to sign overpriced contracts that have already locked-in $6 billion in above-market costs for California electricity users. According to the watchdog, 59% of contracts feature a price at least half-again higher than available conventional energy. (Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., WSJ, 1/15/2013)

Already scheduled to come to Vermont: higher energy prices. Every dumb idea from California - a state teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and from which both people and businesses are fleeing - will make its way to Vermont. Once implemented, Vermont - given its size - will crumble quickly.  

Face Off
The president, facing criticism over his potential use of executive action to push multiple gun control measures, will be joined by children who wrote him letters about gun violence and school safety at a press conference shortly before noon on Wednesday. (Foxnews.com, 1/16/2013)

Likely not to be included were the children who begged for an armed guard to be stationed at their school. Another reminder of the absolutely despicable way that Liberals will politicize children. We saw it in the videos of teachers leading their charges in tuneful odes to "Dear Leader Obama" and again at the capital in Wisconsin protesting the governor. 

The country needs a solution that limits the killing power of civilian weapons across the board — regardless of action type — while keeping enforcement costs and social unrest to a minimum. Luckily, we already have it: magazine control.

The magazine is the part of the gun that holds the cartridges. The standard magazine for a 9mm semiautomatic handgun holds 17 rounds. Assault-weapon magazines typically carry 30. Those magazines drop out at the press of a button, to be replaced by fresh ones.

Let’s replace them with smaller ones. Lower-capacity magazines will fundamentally transform the character of these guns. Put a five-round magazine in an AR-15 and you no longer have an assault-style weapon. You have the world’s ugliest varmint rifle. A Glock becomes a plastic six-shooter, capable of holding a burglar at bay but not capable of a Virginia Tech-style rampage. (Jason Ross, Washington Post, 1/15/2013)

Jason Ross ("a writer living in New York") gives us this ditty on how smaller magazine cartridges are going to save lives. Sorry, we still don't get it. Ross himself says that magazines "drop out at the press of a button." This means both the large capacity magazines now available or the smaller ones (five rounds) that he proposes. So the only thing that will result from Ross's "solution" is that madmen like Lanza will have to change magazines more frequently. Remember it can be done "at the press of a button!" Given that schools proudly advertise themselves as gun-free zones (how's that working out?) the extra time required to reload is not likely to save a single life. An armed school guard would.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Create New Post

The young bucks at Breitbart continue to astound. We caught Ben Shapiro's smackdown of Piers Morgan on CNN the other night. You could see the fear in Morgan's eyes as he realized that Shapiro was both smarter and more articulate than him. Morgan was reduced to feigning indignation and then asking Shapiro the same question three times. (Which Shapiro answered three times!) Now we get word of James O'Keefe going to the homes of journalists who smugly published the names and addresses of gun owners. Claiming to represent the fictitious "Citizens Against Senseless Violence," O'Keefe asks the journalists if they would be willing to put up a yard sign declaring their property as a gun-free zone. Alas, no takers. If these guys were Liberals they would be winning awards. 

Bad Nurse
In the video footage first broadcast Friday on Mr. Youssef’s television program, Mr. Morsi addressed a rally in his hometown in the Nile Delta to denounce the Israeli blockade of Gaza. “We must never forget, brothers, to nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews,” Mr. Morsi declared. Egyptian children “must feed on hatred; hatred must continue,” he said. “The hatred must go on for God and as a form of worshiping him.” (NYT, 1/14/2013)

So again, for those who says that Israel must be more temperate in its dealings with its Arab (and Persian) neighbors we present the above. 

Federal officials said they were laying the groundwork for exchanges in Oklahoma and other states that refused to set up their own. But Oklahoma officials said they had not observed much activity. “We have not seen evidence of any steps to set up a federal exchange in Oklahoma,” said Kelly Collins, a spokeswoman for the State Insurance Department. (NYT, 1/14/2013)

Just what exactly has Kathleen Sebelius been doing? We cannot begin to realize the tremendous cost savings of Obamacare if she does not get to work. 

Not Admitted
More and more liberals are picking up this theme and admitting that the middle class has to be taxed because that's where the money is. (WSJ, 1/14/2013)

President Obama is slowly retiring his worn-out line about taxing the rich more. In its place he is now spouting "we just had an election about that and the American people agreed with me." "That" references anything that Obama wants, as if 52% of voters supported in full every single one of his initiatives (never mind the 48%, by the way). "We just had an election about subsidies to green energy companies and the American people agreed with me." "We just had an election about taxing the middle class more and the American people agreed with me," .....

Monday, January 14, 2013

Finding Favor

Block Heads
“There is a very dangerous Islamist regime allied to Al Qaeda in control of the north of that country,” Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday. “It was threatening the south of that country and we should support the action that the French have taken.”

“So we were first out of the blocks, as it were, to say to the French, ‘We’ll help you, we’ll work with you and we’ll share what intelligence we have with you and try to help you with what you are doing,’” Mr. Cameron told the BBC in a radio interview. (NYT, 1/14/2013)

In response to the decision by France to send troops to fight Islamic extremists in Mali (along with British offers of support), anti-war protesters in the U.S. demonstrated in front of the French and British embassies. Protesters included Code Pink, Sean Penn, Michael Moore and that Garafalo chick. 

Just kidding!

A year later, speaking at a pep rally for House Democrats shortly before they voted to pass what he called "one of the biggest deficit reduction measures in history," Mr. Obama said that "Everybody who's looked at it says that every single good idea to bend the cost curve and start actually reducing health-care costs are in this bill." (WSJ, 1/13/2013)

We compared the average premiums in states that already have ObamaCare-like provisions in their laws and found that consumers in New Jersey, New York and Vermont already pay well over twice what citizens in many other states pay. (Merrill Matthews and Mark E. Litow, WSJ, 1/13/2013)

Obama lied, people paid.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) released a statement Sunday responding to recent bribery allegations made by a Utah businessman who claims he arranged a deal to pay off the senator.

“Senator Reid has no knowledge or involvement regarding Mr. Johnson’s case,” the Senator’s office said in a statement. “These unsubstantiated allegations implying Senator Reid’s involvement are nothing more than innuendo and simply not true.” (Freebeacon.com, 1/14/2013)

Reid's office also said: "The Senator now realizes what it is like to be on the other side of a groundless slur and he personally apologizes to Mitt Romney." 

Just kidding!

School districts in Pennsylvania, Alabama, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have hired armed officers in the weeks since the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., the Free Beacon has found.

Additionally, schools in Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, and New York are in the process of hiring armed officers or recommending they be placed in schools. (Freebeacon.com, 1/14/2013)

At last, some common sense on school safety.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spoiling For A Fight

What To Do About The French
French labor unions and business leaders struck a deal on Friday to overhaul swaths of France’s notoriously rigid labor market, moving to tame some of the most confounding rules in the 3,200-page labor code as the country tries to increase its competitiveness and curb unemployment. (NYT, 1/11/2013)

Well we enjoyed reading that even the French realize that stultifying labor regulations destroy the ability of businesses to compete. 

France has asked U.S. officials to speed drones and other surveillance equipment to support a French military campaign in Mali against rebel groups, some with links to al Qaeda, senior Western officials said. (WSJ, 1/11/2013)

We will admit that some cynicism creeped in when we saw that the French now want US support in a conflict that is important to their national interests.

Guns And Money...And Lawyers
We quote below extensively from a New York Times article from January 11th which included a varied discussion centered on gun control and related issues.

First this:
Game makers have spent more than $20 million since 2008 on federal lobbying, and millions more on campaign donations. Mr. Gallagher’s group, the Entertainment Software Association, has five outside lobbying firms to push its interests in Washington. And the industry has enjoyed not only a hands-off approach from Congress, which has rejected past efforts to toughen regulations, but also tax breaks that have spurred sharp growth. Game makers even have their own bipartisan Congressional caucus, with 39 lawmakers joining to keep the industry competitive.

The NRA has been the recipient of withering scrutiny and criticism as have politicians aligned with it. We are thrilled to see the Entertainment Software Association at least get mentioned. And who would have guessed at their kid gloves treatment (including the tax breaks) from a compliant Congress? We call out Democrats and Republicans who have looked the other way as video game makers have systematically poisoned the minds of America's youth. 

Then this:
The industry’s biggest political asset may be the 2011 ruling by the Supreme Court that found restrictions on the sale of video games to be unconstitutional. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, wrote that evidence linking games to violence was unpersuasive and that games had the same legal protection as violent literary classics like Grimm’s Fairy Tales or “Snow White.”

We are big fans of Justice Scalia and do not know the legal arguments of the 2011 ruling. Nonetheless, we were very disappointed to see this.

And finally:
In the 2011 rampage in Norway that killed 77 people, for example, the gunman played Call of Duty six hours a day to practice shooting. In the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, which killed 12 people, the two teenage gunmen were said to have been obsessed with a game called Doom, featuring bloodshed and explosions. There have been reports that Mr. Lanza, 20, the Newtown gunman who killed himself after his rampage, liked World of Warcraft and other violent games, as do many young men. James E. Holmes, 25, who is accused in last summer’s massacre at a theater in Aurora, Col., was a fan of the same game.

Lately we have been watching Piers Morgan on CNN rant on about guns in America. One of his tactics is to ask his (gun rights) guests which weapon was used in each of the past shootings. The answer is the AR 15 which for Morgan is seeming proof that the shootings are a result of the availability of this particular weapon and banning it would end the killing. It's typical Liberal logic with just a dash of English snobbery thrown in. A better approach would be for Morgan to quiz executives and lobbyists representing the video games makers: what game did Klebold play? did Holmes play? did Lanza play?

The committee is particularly struggling to bring in corporate money after Mr. Obama’s announcement last month that he would accept contributions from businesses, a change from his position in 2009. A list of donors posted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee on Jan. 4 includes just a handful of business donors. (NYT, 1/11/2013)

Technically, is it a "change" or a "flip-flop?"

And what about this inauguration? What did Liberals say when W was re-elected? We'll update it for 2012:

Isn't it unseemly to have a gala inauguration when American troops are in harms way?
Isn't it unseemly to have an expensive inauguration when millions of Americans are out of work?
Isn't it unseemly to be asking business to pay for the inauguration when you have spent the past four years demonizing it?

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Sky Turns

Britons may remember 2012 as the year the weather spun off its rails in a chaotic concoction of drought, deluge and flooding, but the unpredictability of it all turns out to have been all too predictable: Around the world, extreme has become the new commonplace. (NYT, 1/10/2013)

Also extreme: the time that Europe was covered in glaciers and the Sahara desert was underwater. Unfortunately Al Gore and Bill McKibben were not around to warn humans.

And then there is this:

It was no anomaly: the floods of 2012 followed the floods of 2007 and also the floods of 2009, which all told have resulted in nearly $6.5 billion in insurance payouts. (NYT, 1/10/2012)

Previous floods also include the Johnstown flood and the great flood of the Bible. One or both of which could be called "extreme."

And finally there is this:

The year was also exceptionally dry; by July, about 61 percent of the country was experiencing conditions that qualify as “drought.” On a cheery note, the situation was not as bad as the Dust Bowl droughts of the 1930s. Less happily, the lack of rainfall in 2012 exacerbated wildfire activity. “The Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs, Colo., destroyed nearly 350 homes and was the most destructive fire on record for the state,” NOAA reported. (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, 1/10/2013)

Let's dissect the Liberal thought process here. Goes like this: There are lots of droughts and it's because of all that carbon dioxide. It's not as bad as the 1930s though when there was much LESS carbon dioxide being emitted. Do you follow? We don't either.

More Liberal logic: Climate change is resulting in much more property damage. Just look at Colorado Springs. And it has nothing to do with the fact that homes are being built closer to areas that experience forest fires. 

Grappling Hook
Moreover, the number of workers who are grappling with long-term job loss is probably far larger than the official number of long-term unemployed, as it does not include 1.1 million discouraged workers who want a job but are not currently looking for work, and many of the 1.7 million workers who have joined disability rolls because they cannot find a job. (Laura D'Andrea Tyson, NYT, 1/11/2013)

An economic advisor to Bill Clinton theorizes on stubborn long-term unemployment and favors Obama remedies (e.g. more Federal spending). That's of less interest to us at the moment than the stunning admission above. As Republicans told us during the campaign, unemployment is much higher than the Liberal media or the Obama campaign would ever admit. And yes, many workers were shunted to the disability rolls to obscure the truth. Cynical about politics?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Force Majeure

Check Mate
“It’s not so much about checking a box, like on a census form,” said Tracy Sefl, a Democratic political consultant in Washington. “It’s about the qualitative properties that the candidate takes to the position. In this case you’re talking about tremendous women, and then we get a whole bunch more white guys.” (NYT, 1/8/2013)

Actually - when Liberals start talking about diversity - it is exactly about checking a box. We'll pause for a second and offer a modicum of sympathy to Obama who is being called out on not having enough women in his "inner circle." OK, the second is up. Now we'll say that Obama is being bit by the very diversity nonsense that he has championed. 

Across The Universe
From Hurricane Sandy to Sandy Hook, the GOP response to almost every problem is to privatize it — and give it a tax cut. Republicans’ alternate universe is one where school principals carry guns, Halliburton pulls people from burning buildings and the government polices women’s bodies. (Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Washington Post, 1/8/2013)

Actually moonbat Vanden Heuvel is one-third correct. Republicans would prefer that principals carry guns, the net effect of which would be fewer school shooting casualties. As to fire fighters, even in Liberal fantasy land we have never heard Republicans question the efficacy of local fire fighters. Spurious charge. And finally, we can assure her that the government has absolutely zero interest in her body. Feminists don't want the government to tell them what they can and cannot do insofar as their bodies are concerned. They just want the government to pay for their abortions with our tax dollars.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is pushing for a law banning large-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones authorities say accused gunman Adam Lanza used in the Newtown shooting. (NYT, 1/10/2013)

So the emerging Liberal Big Idea on guns is to ban automatic weapons and 30 bullet magazines. Here's a question assuming that they get their wish. If in the next school shooting (God forbid) a madman kills (only) 10 people using two pistols (six shots each), would Liberals consider that a success?

The vice president also will be meeting with the entertainment industry because, he said, "part of this is cultural as well." (NYT, 1/10/2013)

Well it's a start anyway and we will take it even though we get the sense that Liberals are just going through the motions. They still think the real problem is the guns.

“Anyone who has a sash, bring it along, because tomorrow the people will be invested as president of the republic, because the people are Chávez,” Diosdado Cabello, the president of the National Assembly, said Wednesday. “All of us here are Chávez, the people in the street are Chávez, the lady who cooks is Chávez, the comrade who works as a watchman is Chávez, the soldier is Chávez, the woman is Chávez, the farmer is Chávez, the worker is Chávez; we’re all Chávez.” (NYT, 1/9/2013)

Even Sean Penn is Chavez!

Part of the solution has been to add more letters, and in recent years the post-post-post-gay-rights banner has gotten significantly longer, some might say unwieldy. The emerging rubric is “L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.,” which stands for different things, depending on whom you ask.

“Q” can mean “questioning” or “queer,” an umbrella term itself, formerly derogatory before it was appropriated by gay activists in the 1990s. “I” is for “intersex,” someone whose anatomy is not exclusively male or female. And “A” stands for “ally” (a friend of the cause) or “asexual,” characterized by the absence of sexual attraction.

It may be a mouthful, but it’s catching on, especially on liberal-arts campuses.

The University of Missouri, Kansas City, for example, has an L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. Resource Center that, among other things, helps student locate “gender-neutral” restrooms on campus. Vassar College offers an L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. Discussion Group on Thursday afternoons. Lehigh University will be hosting its second annual L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. Intercollegiate Conference next month, followed by a Queer Prom. Amherst College even has an L.G.B.T.Q.Q.I.A.A. center, where every group gets its own letter. (NYT, 1/9/2013)

We have absolutely no comment on this.