Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Obama Nobel prize for journalism

Why is it necessary to have done anything in order to get an award for what you have done?

President Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize when he had been president for only nine months. Absurd.

A young guy named Ronan Farrow this week received the Murrow Prize for journalism after 3 days on the air. Correction: 2 days. Three days! Absurd. But… he might be the son of Frank Sinatra. His mother doesn’t know who his father is. That seems to be reason enough for the journalism poobahs.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pinocchios to Obama on 7 million added

President Obama told governors last week that 7 million people have been added to Medicaid due to  Obamacare going
into effect.

Glenn Kessler the so-called fact checker dug into the claim. It’s not easy. Obama’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mixed all sots of applicants for Medicaid, even people who were already enrolled! The sources he trusted most found 1.1 million to 2.6 million added.

Four pinocchios to Obama (the maximum).

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Putin can't fool financial markets

Vladimir Putin is not dealing with John Kerry and Obama when he throws $ billions around. He has to convince the big finance people to trust him. Though not perfect, they are much tougher. His throwing billions to lure Ukraine causes the financial markets to pause and say “If Putin is throwing money around in political power plays, do we want to buy Russia’s bonds?"

Putin’s Achilles Heel at The American Interest

The cartoon from Kemo at Click to enlarge.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

George Washington the indispensable man

Today we celebrate the birth of George Washington, the first among the founding fathers of the United States of America. He was the commanding general of the armed forces, presided over the Constitutional Convention and was our first president. By his character and actions he set a high precedent for leadership in the US..

At the Constitutional Convention he was the presiding officer, but he spoke hardly a word; he didn’t have to speak. Just his presence tempered the proceedings.

He could have been king, but refused such honors for the limited role of president.

See the book: Washington the Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexnor at Amazon. You can read a few pages there.

Powerline Blog has a good entry on him.

Wise state spending? Gov. Inslee?

Gov. Jay Inslee says he is considering to unilaterally raise the minimum wage for state employees to whatever level he wants. Why can he be dictator over state pay? Because the Legislature allowed him to in 2002. HB 1268 allowed government employees to unionize and took away the Legislature’s role in overseeing employee pay and benefits and gave it to the governor.

Is Inslee concerned about the state’s costs? Is he concerned that taxpayers get maximum benefit for the spending of their tax dollars?

He is not acting like it. He is very generous with other people’s money - yours. He can throw your money at entry-level state employees and receive their adulation. You? Heh...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Megan McArdle in Seattle Tuesday night

Megan McArdle is one of my favorite economic columnists; now at Bloomberg. She is consistently thoughtful and thorough. She will be appearing at Townhall in Seattle Tuesday night promoting her new/first book:

The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success - available at U Book Store

See Townhall for details. It is just east of I-5 on Seneca Street.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

US drops in press freedom

The US dropped to 46th in the world in press freedom on World Press Freedom Index 2014, a considerable drop during the reign of our current president.

The index is based on seven criteria: the level of abuses, the extent of pluralism, media independence, the environment and self-censorship,
the legislative framework, transparency and infrastructure. What happened?

Breitbart News
Investigative journalist James Risen believes the Index rightly shows the drop in American journalists’ freedoms due to crackdowns on reporters and whistleblowers and the efforts of the Obama administration and the National Security Agency to limit the amount of information America has concerning the “War on Terror” and other subjects. 
“I think 2013 will go down in history as the worst year for press freedom in the United States modern history,” James Risen said. 
Risen, who has reported for the New York Times since 1998, said he has personally felt some of the backlash of the guarded Obama administration and has seen some of his colleagues suffer repercussions as well.
Rather than pursue journalists, the Obama administration has focused on their sources—the two most scrutinized whistleblowers being Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. 
We have an administration that came in claiming that it was going to be the most transparent in history when in fact it is one of the most secretive in history, and certainly the most aggressive anti-press administration in modern American history,” Risen said
Did President Obama claim his would be the most transparent administration? Read his words at The White House.

The graphic: from Reporters Without Borders (RSF in French). Click to enlarge; it's very large.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Americans succeed by failing - Megan McArdle

Megan McArdle says we Americans succeed by failing because we learn from failure and go and try again. She is a 30-ish business journalist who I have found to be a very worthy read over the past ten years. (Must be over 30.) This is her first book.

Read the review at Townhall
The best way ahead is to admit mistakes quickly, understand that you may well fail, but you can usually rebound and punish rule-breaking promptly and consistently but lightly. 
This book about people who fail is also a book about how a nation succeeds. The "American Bourgeois Synthesis," McArdle writes, is good but not perfect, promoting entrepreneurship but over-penalizing some mistakes. 
Americans -- and America -- can succeed, but only if people learn from their failures.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

IRS commissioner apologizes - Obama says no corruption

President Obama said there is "not even a smidgen of corruption in the IRS" to Bill O'Reilly on Sunday.

Today IRS Commissioner John Koskinen apologized for the IRS targeting conservative organizations, as we heard about in the spring of 2013. He said it is/was intolerable and will not happen now or in the future. 

Who should we believe? A senior IRS official, Lois Lerner fell back on the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution to avoid answering questions. Washington Post  That sure has the smell of corruption.

Breitbart News

Attorney Cleta Mitchell is representing several of the groups that were denied or greatly delayed. She testified to Congress yesterday about the abuse they endured. And the lack of action by the Obama administration.

Breitbart again

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

School gun-ban signs show... a GUN!

The sign announcing the ban on guns shows a gun. Violation! School administrators in Southland school district in Illinois are concerned people will be disturbed by the picture.

Some schools have expelled a student for a sign showing a gun. Will they treat the responsible administrator with the same punishment a student would get? (I admit I stretched it a bit. I don't know that THIS school district expels students for pictures, but some have done it.)

Chicago Sun Times

SOS Kerry threatens boycott against Israel

John Kerry, our Secretary of State, threatened Israel that an international boycott would take place unless Israel accepts his peace deal. It includes Israel giving up territory and allowing the expanded Palestinian state to have its capital in Jerusalem.

This is a bald threat. If it were a caution between friends he would have given it behind closed doors. He made the threat at a security conference in Munich, Germany.

Israel National News

Monday, February 03, 2014

One more federal jobs program

Rep. Susan Del Bene, new Congresswoman from Medina, Wa, has a big win. Another federal jobs program.

How many are there now? Who can count them? Find them? Mitt Romney said in 2012 that there are 49 that report to 8 different agencies. And even Politifact claimed his statement to be “Mostly True.” His error? Trivial. They found 47 programs in 9 agencies. How do they overlap?

She requested a $30 million program to train food-stamp recipients for work in the “Farm Bill” that passed the US House of Representatives last weeks. In a surprise of the legislative process she got 7 times more - $200 million. She based her request on a program Washington has called Washington State Basic Food Employment and Training (BFE&T). It’s for SNAP (food stamp) recipients, but only for those not participating in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) WorkFirst work program. Services are provided through community or technical colleges and/or community based organizations (CBO). And furthermore… It gets complicated, of course.

BFE&T’s homepage claims that over a 2-year period 72% got jobs with a median pay of $11.00 per hour. That sounds good to me. But why do we need yet another federal jobs program? Why? Because it would take time and effort to dig through the existing 47 to find which one is a close-enough fit.

Since Del Bene's is a federal program much of its benefits will go to middle class people who get paid to put on poorly focused classes and other services that the needy find hard to get access to.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Retiring Demo can now tell the truth about Obamacare

Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia is known as a man who would always tell his opinion.… Now it appears he gave it when he was allowed to.

He voted for Obamacare. But now that he is retiring he is telling the truth - it is broken. He is quoted by Washington Times:
“I’m afraid that the millennials, if you will,” Mr. Moran tells Washington’s WAMU-FM radio, “are less likely to sign up. I think they feel more independent. I think they feel a little more invulnerable than prior generations. But I don’t think we’re going to get enough young people signing up to make this bill work as it was intended to, financially.” 
His analysis is spot on, but that’s small consolation. “I just don’t know how we’re going to [fix] it, frankly,” says Mr. Moran. “If we had a solution, I’d be telling the president right now.” Now he tells us.
Where was bold Moran in 2009, 10, 11, 12 and 13?

Obamacare was sold on the number of uninsured. But few uninsured are signing up. (The Healthcare Blog) And hundreds of thousands have had their insurance cancelled already with more coming later this year. Most of the sign ups are those who were cancelled running for some sort of cover(age). It is not doing what President Obama promised.

Wearing Seahawks blue and green

Boeing is serious about "wearing" Seattle Seahawks blue and green. They painted a 747-8 Freighter in blue and green and gave it a huge 12 on the tail.

Found at Flight Global.

It is also in rotation on their home page. Boeing

Click to enlarge