The president is upset. Very upset. Frustrated and angry. Seething about the government’s handling of Ebola, said the front-page headline in the New York Times last Saturday.
There’s only one problem with this pose, so obligingly transcribed for him by the Times. It’s his government. He’s president. Has been for six years. Yet Barack Obama reflexively insists on playing the shocked outsider when something goes wrong within his own administration.
The IRS? “It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it,” he thundered in May 2013 when the story broke of the agency targeting conservative groups. “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS.”
Except that within nine months, Obama had grown far more tolerant, retroactively declaring this to be a phony scandal without “a smidgen of corruption.”
Obamacare rollout? “Nobody is more frustrated by that than I am,” said an aggrieved Obama about the botching of the central element of his signature legislative achievement. “Nobody is madder than me.”Veterans Affairs scandal? Presidential chief of staff Denis McDonough explained: “Secretary [Eric] Shinseki said yesterday . . . that he’s mad as hell and the president is madder than hell.” A nice touch — taking anger to the next level.
The president himself declared: “I will not stand for it.” But since the administration itself said the problem was long-standing, indeed predating Obama, this means he had stood for it for 5½ years.
Okay, her statement wasn’t quite that stupid, but only slightly less. Comments:
- One wonders where she thinks jobs come from: The government? Many do, but they’re funded by taxes from the productive sector, aka, the private sector.
- Bill Clinton took office with a booming economy sparked by Reagan’s economic supply-side policies. Then he was constrained from being a tax and spend liberal by a GOP Congress.
- Bill also brought his adolescent libido and back-alley ethics with him.
- As for arithmetic, he used it to calculate how much money he could make renting out the Lincoln bedroom
…Spin as a formal term of the political arts was born in the Reagan-Mondale presidential debates of 1984. After the debate, reporters gathered in what came to be called the spin room, where politically articulate spokesmen, or “spin doctors,” would “clarify” what the candidates had said.
Originally, the press ridiculed spin as obvious propaganda. But over the years, somehow, the press came to rely on nameless people, such as Ron Klain, to explain the meaning of political events. “What’s the spin on this?” essentially meant, how are we supposed to think about it? The media would transcribe and transmit the official “narrative,” which more or less became what most of the public believed.
Until one day the public stopped believing that Washington was the Land of Oz.
The force now dooming the ability of fixers like Mr. Klain to succeed at bending reality is the Web.
The political Web is today a nonstop exercise in skepticism and cynicism. True, on the outskirts of the political Web lie the fever swamps. But compulsive Web skepticism about official narratives seems to be reviving the get-the-story instincts of traditional reporting, or what used to be known as assembling a simple set of facts.
The original Ebola story lines from the White House, the CDC and the hospital treating Thomas Duncan in Dallas collapsed almost immediately. Local newspapers documented the daily failure of the software behind the ObamaCare insurance exchanges. Veterans Affairs hospitals were not admitting sick patients on time. The reported breakdowns of Secret Service discipline turned the testimony of its director into a travesty of failed spin.
The Big Lie says the 2008 housing crash was caused by greedy, predatory bankers aided by a laissez faire government. On the contrary, government policy encouraged the risky loans (owning a home is a civil right, you know) and greedy investment bankers took advantage.
But let’s not forget the borrowers who took out loans they could/would not repay. Many of these so-called victims ended up living rent free for a few years.
Six years later, a possible repeat.
Megan McArdle on the government’s move to loosen mortgage lending rules;
America needs more low-down-payment loans.
That seems to be the opinion of our government, anyway. The government agencies that drive most of the housing market are pushing for lower down-payment standards on mortgages, easing the 20 percent requirement that has become standard for much of the market.
The Center for American Progress approves: “We shouldn’t obsess about down payments,” said Julia Gordon, director of housing policy. “Research confirms that low-down-payment loans to lower-wealth borrowers perform very well if the mortgages are well-underwritten, safe and sustainable.”
This depends, of course, on what you think “perform very well” means. A low-down-payment loan made to someone with a good credit rating and a low debt-to-income ratio will perform better than a low-down-payment loan made to someone with terrible credit and a lot of debt. But it has a higher default risk than a mortgage made to a similar borrower with an adequate down payment, because when you start out with little equity, you’re apt to find yourself in foreclosure if you get into financial trouble.
I’m with Arnold Kling on this:
There is simply no way to make low down payment lending stable in any environment any than in a rising house price environment. [The Center of American Progress's] study says it covers the last decade. If you made a low down payment loan in 2001, there was enough of a price increase after that you’re probably fine. But it only works in that environment and it creates this cycle of a boom as house prices are rising, and then once they stop rising everybody crashes. You get this epidemic of foreclosures. It destabilizes the entire market.
Is there a good public-policy reason to encourage people to make a heavily leveraged bet on continued upward movement in home prices? Presumably, the argument is that many homeowners have done very well out of this over the past 50 years; rising home values sowed the seeds of many a college education and retirement fund.
But there are huge drawbacks to housing, too. Leveraged bets are great when they pay off; when they don’t, they leave you dead broke. Especially a bet on a large, illiquid asset such as a house. Put a homeowner into one of these gambles at the age of 35, send the local housing and job markets south a few years later, and the end result is a broke middle-age person with trashed credit in desperate need of a good rental unit. Which legislators should know, because we seem to have a lot of them around right now.
…Beginning January 2015, plastic bags will be ghosted from major grocers throughout the state. Instead shoppers will be forced to pay a dime excise fee for papers bags or purchase reusable-but-not-recyclable totes.
Make no mistake: This measure wasn’t about preserving our environment—the alternatives to plastic bags have heavier environmental footprints than the now-illegal variety deemed outmoded—or protecting cute marine life. This was an exercise in punishing an industry, and the thousands of hard-working Californians it employs, that Big Green finds politically distasteful.
In both environmental and fiscal measures, bag bans are unqualified failures. This ban will engender no positive outcomes for our environment and in turn only toughen the job climate. And yet it gets even worse when one examines the process through which this particular deal was brokered.
Here, greedy special interests and desperate legislators struck an agreement to allow grocers to retain all the paper bag fees in return for their support of the legislation. Projected to earn as much as $1 billion in new revenue, the grocers gladly obliged. With the help of the grocers’ lobbyists, legislators in Sacramento had the necessary air cover to ignore the environmental science and potential for dramatic job loss. So do what they refused and consult the data.
Life Cycle Comparisons: Plastic, Paper and Reusable
Now size up in-vogue reusable bags. (more…)
The Iranian president’s senior advisor has called President Barack Obama “the weakest of U.S. presidents” and described the U.S. leader’s tenure in office as “humiliating,” according to a translation of the highly candid comments provided to the Free Beacon.
The comments by Ali Younesi, senior advisor to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, come as Iran continues to buck U.S. attempts to woo it into the international coalition currently battling the Islamic State (IS, ISIL, or ISIS).
And with the deadline quickly approaching on talks between the U.S. and Iran over its contested nuclear program, Younesi’s denigrating views of Obama could be a sign that the regime in Tehran has no intent of conceding to America’s demands.
“Obama is the weakest of U.S. presidents, he had humiliating defeats in the region. Under him the Islamic awakening happened,” Younesi said in a Farsi language interview with Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.
“Americans witnessed their greatest defeats in Obama’s era: Terrorism expanded, [the] U.S. had huge defeats under Obama [and] that is why they want to compromise with Iran,” Younesi said.
Among the issues that the Democrats are trying to run on this year, it’s a tie between the minimum wage and the war on women as to which of them is the phonier.
The first step in trying to make the case for the minimum wage a campaign issue came years ago when the liberals changed what everyone knew was supposed to be the salary paid to teenagers who were looking to pay for their own movies and tennis shoes to something called “a living wage,” which, thanks to the influx of unskilled Hispanics streaming across our border, was suddenly supposed to support entire families.
These days, when the Democrats incessantly campaign to raise it, their motives are two-fold. One, unskilled, generally illiterate, Hispanics and their relatives are expected to express their gratitude at the ballot box for the next hundred years. Two, union contracts are often tied to the minimum wage and, as a result, any rise in the rate automatically results in a higher hourly wage for union members without the inconvenience of their having to go on strike.
While I understand that the union bosses are happy to see illegal aliens flooding into this country because they will inevitably join unions before long and start paying dues, I don’t get why American union members remain so passive when it’s their jobs that will be lost to these young interlopers.
When it comes to the war on women, the Democrats accuse Republicans of two sins. The first is that we intend to reverse Roe v. Wade. Inasmuch as it’s been the law of the land for half a century, that is, unfortunately, extremely unlikely.
The other red herring is that we on the Right want to continue paying women less for doing the same work as men. The fact is that the equal pay law was passed while JFK was still in the White House. The way the liberals lie their way around that inconvenient truth is by changing the wording from “the same work” to “equivalent work,” and then pretending that being a kindergarten teacher is the equivalent of being, say, a longshoreman. The fact is that when it comes to the exact same job – be it a firefighter, a cop or a member of Congress – men and women doing the same job get the exact same pay./
Because I continue to receive mail begging for donations from those behind the Ben Carson for President Movement, I keep trying to figure out why anyone, including Dr. Carson, thinks he’s the best man for the job. After all, we already know that he is a little mushy when it comes to the Second Amendment and he’s in favor of affirmative action, but he is also, like uberliberal Bill Gates, on the Costco Board of Directors. I don’t know what these folks get paid or what they’re supposed to do for their money aside from allowing their names to be printed on the company stationery, but I do know that Costco’s CEO James Sinegal is a major contributor to Barack Obama and the DNC, and I also know that until public outrage forced them to back down, Costco pulled Dinesh D’Souza’s best-selling “America” off its book shelves.
So, having given the Carson candidacy some thought, the best I could come up with is that some conservatives want to prove that our amateur is better than their amateur, and it gives his supporters a way to show that their objection to Barack Obama has nothing to do with his pigmentation.
Responding to something I wrote about charities recently, Chuck Tatum wrote to me, asking: “Does anyone else find it weird that abused animals, starving children and wounded warriors, can all be helped for the exact same $19-a-month?”
I let him know that I hadn’t been aware of that, probably because I record everything I watch on TV so that I can fast-forward through commercials and Juan Williams’ appearances on Fox. But I expect the folks who run charities all discovered what terrific results were achieved by retailers who priced their products at $99.99 or service stations who always peg their gas prices at $3.59 or $3.69 a gallon, and never at $3.60 or $3.70.
Speaking of gasoline, although the feds add a standard 18.4 cents to a gallon, the states get to add anything they want. Here in California, the liberal riffraff in Sacramento, who long ago mastered the art of squeezing blood from a turnip, add roughly 50 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas, and then have the gall to whine about greedy oil companies.
As if that’s not bad enough, California’s state income tax rate is along the highest in the nation., whereas if you live in Washington, Nevada, Wyoming, Texas, South Dakota, Alaska or Florida, you don’t pay anything.
I suspect the California state legislators would quickly point out that roughly one out of every eight Americans live in our state, so naturally they require more tax revenue. But, I would respond, if it’s the enormous population that makes this state so unappealing to the individual taxpayer and to the company owners who keep moving their factories to such accommodating places as Texas and Nevada, why do you ignoramuses continue to make the problem worse by keeping the border as porous as a sieve and constantly urging illegal aliens to make use of our schools, our hospitals and our welfare, not to mention our jails?
Speaking of which, in California, thieves have three choices: They can either go to prison, Sacramento or Washington, D.C.
In response to an article in which I quoted the architect of ObamaCare, the Dr. Frankenstein of death panels, Ezekiel Emanuel, 57, stating that he plans to die when he’s 75 and that the rest of us should follow his example, Carlene Hobbs wrote to say: “I’d like to help him out. Trouble is I’m dyslexic, so he better update his will real soon.”
Be sure to catch Burt’s weekly hour-long webcast on Wednesdays, at noon, Pacific Coast Time. The show is accessed at K4HD.com. The call-in number is (818) 570-5443.
With companies set to face fines next year for not complying with the new mandate to offer health insurance, some are pursuing strategies like enrolling employees in Medicaid to avoid penalties and hold down costs.
The health law’s penalties, which can amount to about $2,000 per employee, were supposed to start this year, but the Obama administration delayed them until 2015, when they take effect for firms that employ at least 100 people.
Now, as employers race to find ways to cover their full-time workers while holding a lid on costs, insurance brokers and benefits administrators are pitching a variety of options, sometimes exploiting wrinkles in the law.
The Medicaid option is drawing particular interest from companies with low-wage workers, brokers say. If an employee qualifies for Medicaid, which is jointly funded by the federal government and the states, the employer pays no penalty for that coverage.
“You’re taking advantage of the law as written,” said Adam Okun, a senior vice president at New York insurance broker Frenkel Benefits LLC.
Locals 8 Restaurant Group LLC, with about 1,000 workers, already offers health coverage, and next year plans to dial back some employees’ premium contributions. That is because an employer can owe penalties if its coverage doesn’t meet the law’s standard for affordability.
But the company, which is based in Hartford, Conn., hopes to reduce its costs by offering eligible employees a chance to enroll in Medicaid, using a contractor called BeneStream Inc. to help them sign up. The government program is more affordable for employees and saves money for Locals 8, said Chief Executive Al Gamble. “The burden gets shifted to Medicaid,” he said.
But a doctor says Medicaid is a terrible option.
…A recent Boston University/Harvard Medical School study suggests that up to 80% of people participating in ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion have been shifted off their private insurance. These patients’ plans—that they liked, and were told they could keep—did not meet Affordable Care Act requirements, and were wiped out. Healthcare.gov offered them Medicaid.
But the irony doesn’t stop there. Even if my patients save money by no longer paying premiums, they suffer in the long run by being trapped in a subpar health-care system. A Medicaid card does not translate into quality medical care. In some cases, it does not translate into medical care at all.
Only 45% of doctors are now accepting new Medicaid patients, according to a recent survey by the health-care company Merritt Hawkins. This number has dropped from 55% in the past five years. In some cities—Dallas and Minneapolis, for example—as few as 23% of doctors are seeing new Medicaid patients. As ObamaCare vastly expands the number of patients on the Medicaid rolls—three million new patients, by last count—this threatens these patients’ well-being.
Fewer doctors means long waits to see primary-care providers and even longer waits to see specialists. This invariably leads to worse health outcomes for those patients; that’s why numerous studies have shown Medicaid patients have significantly worse outcomes than those with private insurance. Medicaid patients were twice as likely to die in the hospital after undergoing major surgery than those on private insurance, according to a 2010 study from the University of Virginia published in the Annals of Surgery. The research also showed that patients who had no insurance at all were 25% less likely than those on Medicaid to have an “in-hospital death,” and that Medicaid patients have the longest stays and highest hospital costs.
A liberal friend and I have been debating via email about the voter ID laws, which he sees as just a way to limit minority voting. A few interesting tidbits:
The growth in absentee balloting has undone some of the protections against voter impersonation and multiple voting that previously existed. People are much more reticent to commit fraud in person-it’s riskier-so in-person voting was a natural security against impersonation fraud. Voting in multiple jurisdictions is simply too time-consuming to do on any scale when it has to be done in person.
How is early voting changing our campaigns? They are increasing their costs and difficulty. Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist and adviser to gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, says of early voting: “Clearly it changes the whole way we campaign. It used to be you would build a whole campaign around Election Day.” Richard Smolka, an American University academic who published a newsletter for election officials for 40 years until his death last year, mourned the fact that early voting had made campaigns more costly and more complicated. Smolka cogently identified one of the main reasons so many state legislatures have approved early voting: “It’s incumbency protection,” he said. “It takes more money and more organization to deal with a longer voting period. It exacerbates their advantages.”
Simply, Democrats and civil rights groups spend millions of dollars opposing voter ID because they are trying to scare minority voters into thinking that Jim Crow is back. If Jim Crow is back, then they better go vote in November. This was made starkly clear to me when I learned that a 3rd grade teacher in a government-run school was telling her students that Republicans were trying to take away the right to vote for black people, so they better get their parents to vote against Republicans. (Yes, that’s another story for another day, and yes I know her name and the school where she still teaches.)
Fear mobilizes people to vote better than does logic. If you can scare minorities falsely into thinking that they may lose their right to vote if they don’t vote for Democrats, they will vote for Democrats.
Two talking heads on the radio. One says that Democrats in red states are “avoiding Obama like the plague.”
Really, that’s the best turn of phrase? Update it man, it’s ebola!
Democrats are avoiding Obama like ebola.
But it might be if Obama screws this up, per usual.
Two years ago Silicon Valley led the charge to protect the Internet from United Nations control. Technology companies and their advocates in Washington did such a good job that the House and Senate unanimously passed resolutions against the idea, while the International Telecommunication Union was hatching a plan in Dubai.
The ITU’s follow-up conference begins this week in South Korea, but Silicon Valley is silent. That’s surprising considering that authoritarians are busier than ever trying to control the Internet: Russia, China, Iran and Arab countries are escalating domestic censorship and scheming to close down websites they don’t like in the U.S., Hong Kong, Ukraine and elsewhere.
The Obama administration had been unprepared when a majority of countries at the 2012 ITU conference signed a new treaty. The result is that the 40,000 privately managed networks among more than 400,000 global routes, which have always operated without regard to national boundaries, will be split into different versions of the Internet, some open but many closed.
This year authoritarian regimes have bold plans for governments, not private “multi-stakeholders,” to oversee the Internet. They are drafting rules blessing censorship. They plan a “sender pays” fee that websites would be charged whenever their content crosses national borders—as if digital packets were old-fashioned long-distance phone calls—creating a tax on globally popular sites such as Google , Facebook and Amazon.
So why isn’t Silicon Valley protesting? Because leading technology companies have abandoned the position that the Internet must remain unregulated and permissionless—that websites and new technologies should be able to launch without government approval of their function and pricing.
When it comes to Islam, people like George W. Bush, Barack Obama and our corrupt State Department, insist the jihadists are an aberration and should not be the cause of slandering an entire religion. To which, I say a heart-felt “Baloney!”
When it comes to the followers of Islam, we’re not talking about a few rotten apples; we’re talking about a toxic orchard. In much the same way, our leaders keep pretending there’s a world of difference between Sunni and Shite, or between Al Qaeda, the Khorasan Group, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Boko Haram and the Muslim Brotherhood. They even pretend that CAIR, the propaganda arm of the Brotherhood here in America, is any better or has any other function than the Nazi Bund had in the 30s and early 40s, prior to our entry into World War II. The problem is that the past two administrations have refused to acknowledge that Islam is at war with us.
Whether it’s a beheading in Oklahoma or several others in Iraq; the killing and maiming of several members of the military by Major Hasan; the burning of churches and Christians in Egypt; the D.C. killers; the pressure cooker bombings in Boston; the kidnapping and raping of 300 school girls in Nigeria; clitorectomies in Yemen; suicide bombings in Israel; or the horror of 9/11; our gutless leaders insist it has nothing to do with Islam. Even though the villains are constantly telling us that the crimes are committed in the name of Allah, those sworn to protect America insist they’re lying and that they have nothing to do with Islam. You might as well pretend that the concentration camps, the ovens and Dr. Mengele’s nightmarish operations, were all aberrations and had nothing to do with Nazism.
As you may have heard, perennial bachelor and left-wing pinhead George Clooney finally got around to tying the knot with the Lebanese-born Amal Alamuddin. One can easily see the mutual attraction. One, both are physically attractive. Two, lawyer Alamuddin has represented the Communist state of Cambodia, the former Libyan chief of intelligence Abdullah Al Senussi and the vile Julian Assange, while simultaneously opposing the use of drones in counter-intelligence operations and, predictably, condemned Israel for defending itself against Hamas. She said, “I am horrified by the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip,” but never condemned the tunnels dug by Islamic terrorists or the thousands of missiles that the vermin constantly rain down on Israel.
It can be very difficult shopping for a couple who have everything but brains, but I don’t think anyone can go wrong sending the newlyweds the collected works of Saul Alinsky or an autographed photo of Osama bin Laden.
During his recent address to the U.N., Obama, in the same sentence, actually linked Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ISSA’s attempt to create a caliphate in the Middle East to the shooting of a black thug, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. It would be as if I seriously compared someone being diagnosed with cancer or another person’s having a leg amputated to my case of the sniffles.
But one scoundrel who would agree with Obama is Eric Holder, who has never bothered showing up when a black hoodlum has shot a white cop, but who, if Dulles Airport had been snowed in, would have hitchhiked to Ferguson in order to make an appearance at Brown’s memorial service.
Under Obama and Holder, a violation of civil rights is any crime in which a black person is the alleged victim, but never when a white person is maimed, murdered or denied his constitutional right to vote. In similar fashion, workplace violence is the way murders committed by Muslims are defined by this administration, whether they take place at a meat plant or a military base.
I know that many people were heartened by Holder’s promise to resign by the end of the year. Not I. In the same way that Henry Waxman’s resignation only meant that he would be replaced by a younger version of himself, thanks to the liberal voters in California’s 33rd congressional district, I have no doubt that the creep who chose Holder will find an equally partisan toady to replace him at the Department of Injustice.
In a recent article, I mentioned how bizarre I found it that 17 states are represented in the Senate by one Republican and one Democrat. It simply made no sense to me. But it made perfect sense to one of my readers in Florida who defended it on the grounds that “There are a lot of us Floridians who are not rabid partisans. That’s why we have two good people in the Senate. Marco Rubio is a Republican and Bill Nelson is a Democrat. Some call us a swing state, but I’d rather be known as an objective state.”
“Well, I replied, “speaking objectively, I’d say you’re a schizophrenic state that can’t tell its butt from its elbow. No wonder you folks had so much trouble with chads in 2000, forcing the Supreme Court to help you count your ballots. You may think that both your senators are good people, but only one of them favors gun control; opposes tax relief for the middle class; opposes the Keystone pipeline; opposes repealing the ethanol subsidy; opposes the Hobby Lobby decision, protecting religious rights; voted against the GOP budget that called for cutting federal spending; and, by the way, voted for ObamaCare.
“They both might be as nice as you claim, but only one of them stood the slightest chance of being invited to Venice for the Clooney-Alamuddin wedding.”
Be sure to catch Burt’s weekly hour-long webcast on Wednesdays, at noon, Pacific Coast Time. The show is accessed at K4HD.com. The call-in number is (818) 570-5443.
California natives are restless as they see themselves being sold out by fat cat educrats.
The University of California is beginning to have second thoughts about its highly successful effort to bring more out-of-state students onto its campuses.
In a bid to boost revenue, the system five years ago began to aggressively recruit students from other parts of the country and from around the world. The significantly higher fees those students paid brought in about $400 million extra last year. But the effort stirred a backlash from California parents, who suspected that their children’s admissions chances were being hurt.
UC officials have taken great pains to argue that qualified California students were not losing slots to those from New York or China.
How could that be? Admissions are finite.
But the complaints from parents and state legislators recently prompted UC President Janet Napolitano and other system leaders to consider putting limits on out-of-state enrollment.
Any such retrenchment faces its own set of complications.
In 2009, a year into the recession that badly hurt higher education funding, a commission on the future of the University of California recommended recruiting outside students whose tuition — triple what state residents pay — would help offset cuts in tax revenue.
UC administrators not only heeded that advice, but they far exceeded expectations.
An unprecedented 20% of this year’s freshman class across the system’s nine undergraduate campuses are from outside California. That’s up from 6% in 2009 and 5.3% in 2004. At UCLA and UC Berkeley, that enrollment figure is about 30% of freshmen.
…every new tech concept have to be named “fy” something or other? Please mollify me.
Wristify, as they call their device, is a thermoelectric bracelet that regulates the temperature of the person wearing it by subjecting their skin to alternating pulses of hot or cold, depending on what’s needed. The prototype recently won first place at this year’s MADMEC, an annual competition put on by the school’s Materials Science and Engineering program, netting the group a $10,000 prize, which they’ll use to continue its development.
It’s a promising start to a clever approach that could help alleviate a serious energy crisis. But as Sam Shames, the MIT senior who helped invent the technology, explains, the team was motivated by a more prosaic problem: keeping everyone happy in a room where no one can agree where to set the thermostat.
Shames runs hot. His mom runs cold. He figured there must be a way for them to coexist peacefully. So he started researching, digging into physiology journals to get a better understanding of how we experience temperature. One paper held the key to the Wristify concept. It detailed how locally heating and cooling different parts of the body has all sorts of effects on how hot or cold we are–or, more accurately, how hot or cold we think we are. “There’s a big perceptual component to it,” Shames says.
“The human body and human skin is not like a thermometer. If I put something cold directly on your body at a constant temperature, the body acclimates and no longer perceives it as cold.” Think of what happens when you jump in a lake. At first, it’s bracingly cold, but after a while, you get used to it. By continually introducing that sudden jolt of cold, Shames discovered, you could essentially trick the body into feeling cold. Wristify basically makes you feel like you’re continually jumping into the lake–or submerging into a hot bath
It’s worth noting that the architect of “disparate impact” is Tom Perez, whose name is being bandied about as the next attorney general.
Race-Baiting: The Obama regime has used a dubious discrimination theory to shake down home and car lenders for $1.1 billion and counting. Finally, the high court may step in to stop this witch hunt.
The Supreme Court has granted the state of Texas a petition for certiorari disputing the use of disparate impact to determine discrimination in housing after a civil-rights group sued its housing department.
The liberal Inclusive Communities Project argues that state tax policies have created racial segregation in the Dallas area and thus have a disparate impact on minorities, allegedly in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
The same legal theory, which is based purely on statistics without any evidence of intentional racism, is actively used by the Obama administration to sue banks for lending bias and employers for bias in hiring. So federal policy also is at stake in this case.
Disparate impact has proved an effective policy weapon for this regime, and it is loath to lose it. In fact, fearing the conservative majority would strike down its favorite race-baiting tool as unconstitutional, the administration sabotaged two prior cases challenging disparate impact before the high bench could hear them.
Barring more bribery and intimidation, lenders may finally get their day in court. If Texas Department of Housing v. Inclusive Communities Project stays on the docket, it could deal a huge blow to the radical racialist agenda of this administration.
If justices throw the theory out, no longer will the Justice Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, EEOC or HUD be able to target banks, mortgage companies or employers for supposed violations despite the complete absence of discriminatory conduct.
They’ll no longer be able to frame businesses as racist — a threat that has already led thousands to in effect adopt racial quotas in lending and hiring to avoid federal persecution.
“The risk of disparate-impact lawsuits, in the absence of guidance from the court, pressures the residential mortgage lending industry to arrive at particular outcomes and end numbers to avoid such lawsuits,” the American Bankers Association wrote the high bench in a joint amicus brief.
“It is not surprising that to avoid legal risk, some businesses may feel pressure to manage end numbers or at least place a ‘racial thumb on the scales.'”
Such pressure can force lenders to water down underwriting standards and take on more risk, since “down-payment requirements, debt-to-income requirements, loan-to-value requirements, and other neutral, risk-based underwriting requirements can all affect various racial and ethnic groups differently,” ABA added.
The disparate impact liability forces banks to “offer other loan products at those who might not satisfy” basic credit standards, which is what caused the mortgage crisis. The administration is also applying the disparate impact measure to homeowners insurance, potentially undermining the risk-based underwriting process for insurance policies as well.
This landmark case presents the Supreme Court with its third opportunity since 2012 to decide whether disparate impact claims are enforceable under the FHA (and, by analogy, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act). HUD last year issued a new regulation — a first-of-its-kind “disparate impact rule” — purporting to authorize the use of disparate impact under the FHA.
It warned housing industry officials they could be held liable under the federal statute for actions or policies, no matter how racially neutral or color-blind, that have an adverse effect on minorities.
Just one problem: The FHA bars only policies and practices that intentionally discriminate against minorities, not those that may cause disparate outcomes by race. Disparate impact is not found anywhere in the language of the 1968 statute.
Contrary to this lawless administration’s rogue interpretation of the FHA, no previous executive branch has taken the position that the statute encompasses disparate impact. This should be a slam dunk for the court.
Bill Clinton wanted to run for president in 1988, but didn’t because “he was terrified that one or more of his countless paramours would come forward,” according to a scathing new cover story in Harper’s Magazine urging readers, “Stop Hillary! Vote No to a Clinton Dynasty.”
The liberal monthly savages Hillary, saying that after Bill “found his nerve” fours years later, “an internal campaign memo from March 1992 listed more than 75 potential problems for the candidacy.”
But the issues weren’t only “Bill’s many women,” writes Doug Henwood. “About two-thirds of the sore spots involved both Bill and Hillary, and 18 of them pertained to Hillary’s work at [the law firm] Rose.”
According to Henwood’s in-depth essay on Hillary’s past, she “has a long history of being economical with the truth,” and though “it’s been more than 13 years since the Clintons left the White House, it’s amazing how little there is to say about Hillary’s subsequent career.”
He asks of a potential campaign: “What is the case for Hillary? It boils down to this: She has experience, she’s a woman, and it’s her turn. It’s hard to find any substantive political argument in her favor.”
He adds: “Since leaving the State Department, Hillary has devoted herself to what we can only call…Clinton, Inc. This fund-raising, favor-dispensing machine is key to understanding her joint enterprise with Bill…That means nonstop self-promotion, huge book advances and fat speaking fees.”
Henwood told us he couldn’t find anyone in Clinton’s orbit to speak to him, except ex-friend Dick Morris.
“Most progressives are unwilling to discuss Hillary in anything but the most general, flattering terms,” Henwood found. “Pundits who have written about her in the past dismissed my queries in rude and patronizing ways.”
A Clinton rep did not comment. Harper’s earlier railed against a potential Hillary-Jeb Bush presidential race in a publisher’s note by John R. MacArthur.
It also ruffled feathers in its last issue with a piece titled “PBS Self-Destructs,” which resulted in the network pulling its ads.
It’s no coincidence that George Orwell was satirizing the left with Animal Farm. That progressives can squelch speech while thinking themselves open-minded testifies to their obliviousness.
If you want funny, insightful and fearless writing, bookmark TakiMag.com
…In an email forwarded to Berkeley’s faculty, staff, and students early in September of this year, school chancellor Nicholas Dirks acknowledged the Free Speech Movement’s Golden Anniversary, but with reservations:
…the commitment to free speech and expression can lead to division and divisiveness that undermine a community’s foundation. … Our capacity to maintain that delicate balance between communal interests and free expression…will be tested anew. Specifically, we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so, and this in turn requires that people treat each other with civility.
Cutting through that verbal wall of bullshit, Dirks appears to be saying that free speech ends where the “community” begins. He also seems to imply that one person’s right to feel “safe and respected” may trump another’s right to say what’s on their mind.
It is no coincidence that one of the prime movers and shakers of the original Free Speech Movement was Bettina Aptheker, the daughter of dedicated Stalinists and a woman who, despite all the lip service she paid to “free speech,” openly supported thought-squashing socialist regimes throughout the 1960s, the sort of tyrannical state entities that would rip your tongue out of your throat for making the merest bird squeak of dissent. Aptheker is now a professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz and recently wrote this in a Berkeley alumni magazine:
On the occasion of this 50th anniversary of the FSM…it is worth pausing for a moment to consider the ways in which gender, race, class, and sexuality may effect [sic] one’s access to freedom of speech. Although the First Amendment embraces a universal ideal in its wording, it was written by white, propertied men in the 18th century….
Lady, if I was against free speech, I’d tell you to shut the hell up right now. But I’ll let you prattle onward and downward, because you’re only proving my point.
What a despicable group of tyrants the freewheeling leftists of the early 1960s have become. Those who rose up against the “machine” back then are still working from the old operator’s manual. Miraculously, they still manage to convince themselves that they have not become the machine against which they once railed. And somewhere along the line they concocted the screwball idea of “hate speech”—I doubt such a concept so much as existed in 1964—and began fallaciously arguing that it was a fundamentally different thing from free speech. They spun a magical illusory world where “civil rights” and “civil liberties” are somehow at odds with one another. They even convinced untold numbers of otherwise intelligent people that if you stopped calling blacks dirty names, those benighted and oppressed descendants of slaves would perform better academically.
How it is that so many cuckoos escaped from their clocks and have wound up in positions of authority, I will never know. But there’s no getting around the fact that the American symbol is no longer a bald eagle or even Ben Franklin’s preferred turkey, but has been replaced by the Swiss-made cuckoo bird.
For instance, the University of California, San Francisco, has just launched an online abortion course that will delve into “clinical aspects of medication abortion, aspiration abortion, post-abortion contraception, and pain management for abortion.” According to Prof. Jody Steinauer: “I think if we can inspire even a small portion of the people who take the course to take steps in their communities to increase access to safe abortion and decrease stigma about abortion, then we will have been totally successful.”
So far, 3,000 people have signed up for the course. I’m sure that ghouls everywhere are taking heart from the fact that abortion continues to be a growth industry. As for me, I think America is suffering from a dangerous lack of stigma.
As you may have heard, Nidal Hasan, who killed or maimed over 40 innocent people at Fort Hood, has written a letter to Pope Francis, complaining that Barack Obama keeps claiming that his butchery was workplace violence. Apparently he wants Francis to intercede on his behalf and point out to Obama that he is one of Allah’s proud soldiers and not just another creep who went postal because he got fired or didn’t get a raise. I can see his point. I mean, imagine how Hitler would have felt if his invasion of Poland had been dismissed as trespassing.
I do get a chuckle when young poorly educated malcontents who are often subsidized by wealthy old hypocritical reprobates like George Soros periodically take to the streets and demonstrate against Wall Street or the International Monetary Fund, blindly obeying the marching orders of wealthy old hypocritical reprobates like George Soros.
In addition to hosting an Obama fund-raiser at her home, Gwyneth Paltrow also introduced the guest of honor by batting her eyes and gushing: “You’re so handsome, I can’t speak properly.” If she considers Mr. Bat Ears so good-looking it makes her tongue-tied, one has to wonder how she ever managed to deliver a single line of dialogue when she worked with Hollywood heartthrobs Daniel Craig, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Douglas, Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. Perhaps the 42-year-old Valley Girl had all her dialogue dubbed by a grown-up.
Obama, who also tends to swoon in his own presence, managed to say, “I’m taking her to my next event.”
I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when Obama got home. Recalling how angry Michelle got when Obama took a selfie of himself with the leggy blonde Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, at Nelson Mandela’s memorial, I couldn’t help picturing Barack trying to sneak into the White House only to find Michelle in the hallway holding a rolling pin and giving him the fish eye, just the way Maggie used to greet Jiggs in the Sunday funny papers.
The Army, which has become just as corrupt as the IRS, the Secret Service and the FBI, under the current administration has announced that it won’t go public about its investigation into Bowe Bergdahl’s desertion. At this point, don’t be too surprised if Bergdahl winds up receiving the Medal of Honor for merely pretending to be a traitor so he could go undercover and spy on the Taliban.
When the late Thomas Duncan first visited the Dallas hospital, he had a 103 degree fever and he admitted he’d just been to Liberia, but he was sent home with nothing more than a few pain killers. Once he died of Ebola, it figures there would be those who claimed that racism was the reason he was treated in such cavalier fashion. Nonsense! So far as I can tell, it was simply ObamaCare in action.
Although I dislike being at odds with my readers, I must confess I was shocked by the results of my latest poll. When I asked if people thought the Republicans would take control of the Senate and, if they did, if it would make a difference, I was obviously asking people to make an educated guess or, rather, two educated guesses. That meant that “maybe” or “perhaps” was a given, but it wasn’t a suitable response to either question. Fortunately, I managed to get 212 people to play by the rules.
It seems that 160 people thought the GOP would gain control, while 52 thought Harry Reid would manage to retain his stranglehold. However, only 62 people thought it would make a difference, 150 were just as sure it wouldn’t.
Frankly, I don’t know how those 150 could be so misguided. It’s true that a Republican Senate and Republican House wouldn’t be able to stop Obama entirely in his tracks. He’d still have his phone and his pen, but at least House bills would finally be voted on in the Senate, and Obama would be forced to veto them, showing everyone once and for all who the real obstructionist is. In addition, it is no small thing that Obama wouldn’t be able to appoint judges to the federal bench or place any more Kagans and Sotomayors on the Supreme Court, which is the legacy whereby ex-presidents are able to continue poisoning the atmosphere for decades long after they’ve left the scene of the crime.
Finally, by now I suspect everyone knows that 10 Secret Service agents lost their jobs for consorting, as they say, with Colombian prostitutes while a White House insider who happened to be the son of a major Obama donor wound up with a promotion to the State Department after he consorted with his own Colombian prostitute that very same evening.
In other news, Bill Clinton has announced that he’s heading down to Colombia on a fact-finding mission.
Be sure to catch Burt’s weekly hour-long webcast on Wednesdays, at noon, Pacific Coast Time. The show is accessed at K4HD.com. The call-in number is (818) 570-5443.
A student who was born female felt perfectly comfortable identifying as a man at Wellesley College — until people said he shouldn’t be class diversity officer because he is now a white male.
Timothy Boatwright was born a girl, and checked off the “female” box when applying to the Massachusetts all-women’s school, according to an article in the New York Times. But when he got there, he introduced himself as a “masculine-of-center genderqueer” person named “Timothy” (the name he picked for himself) and asked them to use male pronouns when referring to him.
And, by all accounts, Boatwright felt welcome on campus — until the day he announced that he wanted to run for the school’s office of multicultural affairs coordinator, whose job is to promote a “culture of diversity” on campus.
But some students thought that allowing Boatwright to have the position would just perpetuate patriarchy. They were so opposed, in fact, that when the other three candidates (all women of color) dropped out, they started an anonymous Facebook campaign encouraging people not to vote at all to keep him from winning the position.
Hours after learning that the United States ambassador to Libya and three others had been killed in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, senior American officials held a secure videoconference call to discuss how to proceed in investigating the attack.
The prosecutor on the call for the Justice Department was Zainab N. Ahmad, one of the department’s most respected national security lawyers. In less than a decade in the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn, Ms. Ahmad had successfully overseen several high-profile prosecutions, working alongside the New York-based F.B.I. agents who were going to take the lead in investigating Benghazi.
But then others started to lobby Eric Holder to give them the case. And guess what?
Less than 24 hours after the attack in Libya — and 21 months before the apprehension of a suspect, Ahmed Abu Khattala — Mr. Holder assigned the case to Mr. Machen’s office. The move was a surprise because nearly all major national security cases since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks had been steered to the United States attorneys’ offices in New York and Brooklyn, which have the most seasoned prosecutors in the country, and Northern Virginia, which is known for its government-leaning judges and jury pools.
In one sense, the jockeying was a reflection of the intense competition among prosecutors for any high-profile case that could help make a career, a competition that is fostered by Mr. Holder and his deputies in Washington who believe it sharpens even the most seasoned lawyers.
Mr. MacBride, who was the United States attorney in Northern Virginia at the time of the 9/11 attacks, said “hard-fought turf battles” for terrorism cases were not unusual.
“We all lost some cases to each other,” he said. “At the end of the day, we all liked and respected each other.”
But in this case, the decision to give the case to Mr. Machen’s office has left lingering concerns among some senior F.B.I. and Justice Department officials who worry that it was a mistake to entrust such a politically charged prosecution to an office with less experience than others in trying terrorists.
On Monday, Mr. Khattala, who will most likely go on trial this year or in early 2015, will make his first court appearance since his arraignment in June, and those doubts have not dissipated.
“This is not how it should have been done,” said one law enforcement official, who like others critical of the decision spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Another senior law enforcement official had a more specific concern.
“It took them nine months to charge this guy — far longer than it should have,” he said. “Initially, they just didn’t know what they were doing.”
Read it all.
Obama’s cheerleaders boast about the success of ObamaCare, but tell that to Americans who are discovering the fine print.
Patricia Wanderlich got insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year, and with good reason: She suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2011, spending weeks in a hospital intensive care unit, and has a second, smaller aneurysm that needs monitoring.
But her new plan has a $6,000 annual deductible, meaning that Ms. Wanderlich, who works part time at a landscaping company outside Chicago, has to pay for most of her medical services up to that amount. She is skipping this year’s brain scan and hoping for the best.
“To spend thousands of dollars just making sure it hasn’t grown?” said Ms. Wanderlich, 61. “I don’t have that money.”
About 7.3 million Americans are enrolled in private coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than 80 percent qualified for federal subsidies to help with the cost of their monthly premiums. But many are still on the hook for deductibles that can top $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families — the trade-off, insurers say, for keeping premiums for the marketplace plans relatively low. The result is that some people — no firm data exists on how many — say they hesitate to use their new insurance because of the high out-of-pocket costs.
Insurers must cover certain preventive services, like immunizations, cholesterol checks and screening for breast and colon cancer, at no cost to the consumer if the provider is in their network. But for other services and items, like prescription drugs, marketplace customers often have to meet their deductible before insurance starts to help.
While high-deductible plans cover most of the costs of severe illnesses and lengthy hospital stays, protecting against catastrophic debt, those plans may compel people to forgo routine care that could prevent bigger, longer-term health issues, according to experts and research.
“They will cause some people to not get care they should get,” Katherine Hempstead, who directs research on health insurance coverage at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said of high-deductible marketplace plans. “Unfortunately, the people who are attracted to the lower premiums tend to be the ones who are going to have the most trouble coming up with all the cost-sharing if in fact they want to use their health insurance.”
Deductibles for the most popular health plans sold through the new marketplaces are higher than those commonly found in employer-sponsored health plans, according to Margaret A. Nowak, the research director of Breakaway Policy Strategies, a health care consulting company. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average deductible for individual coverage in employer-sponsored plans was $1,217 this year.
In comparison, the average deductible for a bronze plan on the exchange — the least expensive coverage — was $5,081 for an individual and $10,386 for a family, according to HealthPocket, a consulting firm. Silver plans, which were the most popular option this year, had average deductibles of $2,907 for an individual and $6,078 for a family.
Jon R. Gabel, a health economist at NORC, a research organization affiliated with the University of Chicago, said that employer-sponsored plans had lower deductibles, in part, because they provided more generous coverage than the most popular exchange plans. The typical employer-sponsored health plan would qualify as a gold-level policy under the standards of the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Gabel said.