Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dishonesty, incompetence, or both?

President Obama claimed repeatedly and recently that, under his health care reform, people could keep their health insurance plans if they liked them.  As everyone knows by now, and should have known when the claim was first made, it is a load of nonsense.  The fact is that millions of people will lose plans that they were perfectly happy with.  It turns out that the Obama administration was aware of this fact years ago, but that the president continued to make the false claim anyway.  Greg Mankiw has a rundown of the three scenarios under which this could have happened. As Mankiw says, "(n)one of them reflects particulary well on what has been going on in the White House." 

The first possiblity is that the president and his staff didn't have any idea how their policy would actually work (incompetence all around).  The second possibility is that the staff knew but let the president make false claims to the public (the president was incompetent and his staff were liars).  The third possibility is that the president and his staff knew all along (they were all liars).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mr President, you have turned us into a banana republic

When your tax authorities, legal system, and military are subsumed into the political arm of the head of state's party, you are a banana republic.

What kind of republic?

Remember, President Obama has assured us that we are not a banana republic. If he's right, then Federal agents would never raid a reporter's house to swipe embarrassing information:
Maryland state police and federal agents used a search warrant in an unrelated criminal investigation to seize the private reporting files of an award-winning former investigative journalist for The Washington Times who had exposed problems in the Homeland Security Department's Federal Air Marshal Service.
Reporter Audrey Hudson said the investigators, who included an agent for Homeland's Coast Guard service, took her private notes and government documents that she had obtained under the Freedom of Information Act during a predawn raid of her family home on Aug. 6.
The documents, some which chronicled her sources and her work at the Times about problems inside the Homeland Security Department, were seized under a warrant to search for unregistered firearms and a “potato gun” suspected of belonging to her husband, Paul Flanagan, a Coast Guard employee. Mr. Flanagan has not been charged with any wrongdoing since the raid.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Al Gore, genius

Al Gore has been arguing with the Prime Minister of Australia about the causes of the wildfires currently running amok in New South Wales.  Gore blames global warming (surprise, surprise) while ignoring the long history of wildfires in Australia:
Gore is upset with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's insistence that the recent New South Wales wildfires are not linked to climate change and his statement on Australian radio that "these fires are certainly not a function of climate change, they are just a function of life in Australia."
In related news, "Al Gore Got ‘D’ in ‘Natural Sciences’ at Harvard"

Government goons grab granny's goods

The government of Seattle, the only major US city with a public statue of Lenin, is using eminent domain to seize a privately owned parking lot to turn it into a city-owned parking lot. This is what happens when the Supreme Court declares government revenue to be a public use. The infamous Kelo decision seems to have made government revenue constitutionally superior to private revenue.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stupid, stupid, stupid educators

I'm sorry, but sometimes there is just nothing that can be said for a policy other than that it is stupid beyond belief.  As the LA Times reports, an increasing number of school districts are making Advanced Placement classes open to all students, regardless of the students' levels of preparation.  Further, if the classes are oversubscribed, a lottery is held, meaning that the best students can end up being excluded.  Jason Richwine has further comments.

Math is hard

There's a common saying that reporters don't go into journalism because they're good at math. While I certainly won't argue with the sentiment of that saying, I think there's something more nefarious going on with the press's innumeracy. To pay any attention to the math would mean finding out the true nature of President Obama's economic mismanagement. It's better for their collective psyche to not question Him rather than to run the risk of seeing how disastrous His administration has been. They might even find out that He has been lying to them for years.

The latest example of the press's happy mathophobia is how it has swallowed whole the administration's reckless talk about an imminent default. Congressman David Schweikert of Arizona tried to help them out
[T]here is no such thing as default unless there is an actual evil attempt from the administration. When you have 18 percent of GDP coming in in cash, less than 2 percent going out in debt coverage—I’m stunned you all fall for it in the press. None of you were math majors, were you?”
I'm not as stunned as the congressman is. After all, imagine how uncomfortable a reporter would feel among his colleagues if he actually managed to give an accurate reporting of the Obama economy. The wailing and the gnashing of the teeth would be deafening, and it wouldn't exactly put the reporter on the fast track for a Pulitzer.