The notion that anything the President says would be credible, or relevant, to anyone but a predictable minority of the public, about 35% — hard core partisan Democrat supporters — is wishful thinking. The rhetorical ‘straw man’ argument remains his favorite device. Campaigning against an imaginary opponent, for hollow applause.
On MSNBC, no less, interviewed by Frank Sinatra Jr.
If you’ve seen this ad, you know what the buzz is about.
This “Best Of” video captures the media reaction to it. Priceless.
For National Review Online, Eliana Johnson reports: The House Oversight Committee will vote next Thursday on whether to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, sources say.
(read the whole thing here, but Eliana added the following update)
UPDATE: Issa has announced the hearing, saying in a statement that “Ms. Lerner’s involvement in wrongdoing and refusal to meet her legal obligations has left the Committee with no alternative but to consider a contempt finding.”
A committee aide tells National Review Online the panel will “make an announcement on the contempt process for Lois Lerner sometime today,” and a GOP congressman confirms that committee chairman Darrell Issa has indicated the vote will take place “next week.”
Lerner has twice declined to answer questions from lawmakers about her role in the targeting of right-leaning groups. At a June hearing, the panel determined in a party-line vote that she had waived her Fifth Amendment rights by making an opening statement declaring her innocence when she appeared at hearing in May. “I have not done anything wrong,” Lerner said at the time. “I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.”
This is probably the most in-depth article on this subject you’ll see on this subject, to date. I highly recommend reading the whole thing, if you’re interested in getting past the headlines, spin, and misleading reports about France’s competing political groups. Nice reporting by Mr. Synon.
For Breitbart.com, M.E. Synon writes: The reports have been running on both sides of the Atlantic: conservatives are mobilising in France and this may be the start of a French Tea Party Movement. But before American conservatives start to cheer and look for soul-mates across the water, they need to see just who is putting out these reports.
“…the roots of French conservatism lie in resistance to the French revolution and, among many conservatives, a yearning for king and Catholicism.”
In America, it is the left-wing legacy media such as the Washington Post. By making the link, the Post wants to denigrate the Tea Party Movement by tying it to the anti-libertarian European hard-right.
In Britain, it is again the left-wing media such as Prospect Magazine making the claim. Prospect’s editor has derided the French conservative movement (what he calls ‘zombie Catholicism’) as a ‘French Tea Party.’
“But there is another French right-wing, too. It is represented by the National Front of Marine Le Pen, which has just humiliated Hollande’s socialists in the local elections.”
In France, it is the establishment socialists, the ‘intellos’ – the intellectuals – who claim the emergence of a Tea Party Movement. They want to denigrate French conservatives by linking them with what in France are seen as intolerant American yokels.
“Individual liberty and freedom from government is not at the core of the thinking of either kind of French conservative.”
Talk of a French Tea Party took off in February, when the left-wing politician Manuel Valls, then the interior minister in President Francois Hollande’s socialist government and now the prime minister, gave an interview to a French Sunday newspaper.
The shooter who killed three people and injured 16 before killing himself at Fort Hood Wednesday apparently shared his love for the band Slipknot on his Facebook page.
ABC News found a page under the name Ivan Slipknot–the shooter’s real name is Ivan Lopez–but the details and photographs from the site match with the gunman.
WASHINGTON — Some of the most iconic artifacts of aviation and space history will be getting an updated display for the 21st century, with the Apollo moon landing as the centerpiece.
“We’re trying to figure out what the museum needs to do to stay in touch. We want to inspire people of all ages to want to know more and to do more.”
— Museum Director J.R. “Jack” Dailey
For the first time since its 1976 opening, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum plans to overhaul its central exhibition showing the milestones of flight. The extensive renovation announced Thursday will be carried out over the next two years with portions of the exhibit closing temporarily over time, said Museum Director J.R. “Jack” Dailey.
Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” aircraft from the first trans-Atlantic flight, John Glenn’s Mercury capsule from his first Earth orbit and an Apollo Lunar Module recalling America’s first moon landing will be among the key pieces to be featured. Such artifacts have made the Air and Space Museum the nation’s most-visited museum, drawing 7 million to 8 million visitors each year.
Bobby Soave reports: Not only are all members of the Tea Party movement racists, but the longer a person associates with the Tea Party, the more racist he becomes — according to a speaker at the National White Privilege Conference, which was held in Madison, Wisconsin, last week.
“…the longer you are in the Tea Party, the more racist you become.”
— Race hustler Leonard Zeskind
Leonard Zeskind, an author and activist, hosted a session on the racist roots of the Teat Party, a limited government movement that returned the U.S. House of Representatives to Republican control in 2010.
“People who send their kids to private schools are also racists. People who disagree with President Obama are racists.”
In Zeskind’s view, the oppression of minorities is a central motivating principal of the Tea Party.
“Tea Party groups are similar to white nationalist groups.”
Jim Geraghty writes: In recent weeks, we examined the Obama administration’s willingness to reverse positions that it had once proudly proclaimed — on whether an individual mandate is necessary, whether the individual mandate is a tax, whether it is important that you can keep your plan or doctor, whether lobbyists should work in a president’s administration, whether a donor should be appointed U.S. ambassador, and so on. Then we noted environmentalists who said they would not criticize or attack lawmakers who supported the Keystone Pipeline, as long as they were Democrats.
“What kind of a country do you get when political leaders are driven by a desire to feel that they are more enlightened, noble, tolerant, wise, sensitive, conscious, and smart than most other people?”
Last week, we expanded the discussion to progressives’ wide-ranging willingness to contradict their own professed principles: gun-control proponents who travel with armed bodyguards, voucher opponents who send their kids to private schools, and minimum-wage-hike advocates who pay their staff less than the minimum wage, among others.
So what do progressives really want? If, as I suspect, the currency of progressivism isn’t policies or results, but emotions, what does that approach build? What kind of a country do you get when political leaders are driven by a desire to feel that they are more enlightened, noble, tolerant, wise, sensitive, conscious, and smart than most other people?
HOUSTON – A woman attacked her boyfriend in a fit of rage, sat on him after knocking him down and then stabbed him to death with the stiletto heel of her shoe, striking him at least 25 times in the face, a prosecutor told jurors Monday.
The lawyer for 45-year-old Ana Trujillo, however, said it was her client who was attacked, and she defended herself from 59-year-old Alf Stefan Andersson using the only weapon she had available.
Testimony began Monday in Trujillo’s murder trial. Prosecutors say she killed Andersson, who was a University of Houston professor and researcher, during an argument at his condominium in June. She is free on a $100,000 bond.
During opening statements, prosecutor Sarah Mickelson said Trujillo had a history of being angry and aggressive in her contentious on-again, off-again relationship with Andersson, a native of Sweden who became a U.S. citizen.
“The one thing we can be sure of in this case is that Ana Trujillo is not a victim. Ana Trujillo struck Stefan Andersson 25 times with the heel of her shoe while he lay on the floor and bled out.”
— Prosecutor Sarah Mickelson
Mickelson said that earlier in June, Andersson and Trujillo, 45, a native of Mexico, had reconciled.
The prosecutor described Andersson as mild-mannered and quiet, and Trujillo as hot-tempered.
“We’ve asked for the incident to be reclassified from ‘workplace violence,’ of all things, to what it was, which was a terroristic attack.”
Munley, who was shot three times as she and her partner confronted the shooter, sat next to Michelle Obama during the president’s State of the Union address in 2010, and told ABC News that she believes the White House used her seating arrangement for political gain.
In November, on the third anniversary of the Fort Hood army base shooting, 148 victims and family members sued the government, alleging that the Defense Department dodged legal ramifications by classifying the shootings as “workplace violence” rather than a terrorist attack, the Associated Press reported.
From NRO‘s Morning Jolt:
Here’s the headline from a new poll of Minnesota likely voters commissioned by American Encore and conducted by Magellan Strategies:
Only 41 percent of respondents had a favorable view of Sen. Franken, while 45 percent had an unfavorable view of him. Only 44 percent approve of the job he is doing.
• 54% of respondents disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, and only 38% approve.
• Only 40% of respondents think Al Franken deserves re-election.
Saturn-Shuttle / The concept model for a Saturn V and Space Shuttle combo.
The Associated Press has learned the U.S. government created of a ‘Cuban Twitter,’ a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba.
…it also has a whiff of the NSA scandal, too:
“Mock ad banners will give it the appearance of a commercial enterprise,” one written proposal obtained by the AP said. Behind the scenes, ZunZuneo’s computers were also storing and analyzing subscribers’ messages and other demographic information, including gender, age, “receptiveness” and “political tendencies.” USAID believed the demographics on dissent could help it target its other Cuba programs and “maximize our possibilities to extend our reach.”
Of course, had this worked, it would have been hailed as a success story. Unfortunately, right now it looks like the worst of government programs: unauthorized, secret, incompetent, and snooping…(read more)
For The Daily Caller, Robby Soave writes: A Connecticut community college suspended a student veteran for his aggressive questioning of Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy during a public forum, prompting a First Amendment advocacy group to condemn the college for its flagrant disrespect for free speech and due process.
The student, Nicholas Saucier, tried to get Malloy to answer questions about his support for gun control legislation, which has put Saucier’s ammunition manufacturing business in jeopardy. Saucier followed Malloy to his car after the governor finished speaking at a public forum at Asnuntuck Community College. The exchange took place in October of last year, and was captured on video.
…And Paul Ryan is Still Right To Fix It
I selected this article not because of the Paul Ryan budget, but because it has this chart (see below) produced by Veronique de Rugy for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, that reveals which countries pay what in corporate taxes. We knew the U.S. had among the highest, but like most, I didn’t know the U.S. has the #1 highest. And right behind us are France, Belgium, and Mexico.
I didn’t know that Canada, Iceland, and Switzerland have the lowest. I suspect those countries have fewer rigged policies and armored truck-sized loopholes (managed by corrupt legislators dispensing favors and punishments) and probably enjoy better tax revenues, too, as corporations have far less motive to either move their operations somewhere else, or try to shelter their profits from punitive taxation. Capitol tends to flee high tax regions, and seek lower tax regions. Are Iceland and Canada radical ‘anti-tax’ Tea Party countries? Hardly. The best reason to have an abnormally high corporate tax rate is to insure opportunities for graft and corruption. If a corporation wants tax relief, well, it just needs to know which campaigns to contribute money to.
Veronique de Rugy writes: Chairman Paul Ryan put out the blueprint for his FY2015 budget on Tuesday. I will have more to say about it in the next few days, but first I’ll focus on one idea in his budget: reforming our tax system and, specifically, reducing the U.S. corporate-tax rate from 35 to 25 percent and shifting from a worldwide tax system to a territorial system. These are very good policy proposals.
The extremes of that chart, reflecting 2013 rates, haven’t changed since 2011: National statutory corporate-tax rates among the 34 members of the OECD range from 8.5 percent in Switzerland to 35 percent in the United States.
Despite having the highest national statutory rate, the United States raises less revenue from its corporate tax than the other members of the OECD on average. In fact, the federal corporate-income tax raised just (roughly) 10 percent of total federal tax revenues in 2013.
To make matters worse, yesterday marked a sad anniversary: the second year in a row where the U.S. not only has the highest statutory rate but also has the highest combined rate (39.2 percent) when both the federal and average state rates are added. Japan used to hold the record for combined rates (39.8 percent), until it lowered its combined rate to 36.8 percent in April 2012.
Soldier at Fort Hood Purchased Handgun Off Base, Brought It into Gun-Free Zone
AWR Hawkins writes: Ivan Lopez, identified by authorities as the soldier who opened fire at Ft. Hood on April 2nd, purchased his handgun off base and brought it into the gun-free zone to commit his crime, according to a military officer.
During a nighttime press conference on April 2nd, Lt. General Mark Milley said the soldier used a .45 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun. If brought onto the base the gun was supposed to be “registered on the base;” however, Milley said, “this gun was not registered.”
Note: Jonathan Wilner is a pro-bundler, he defends the practice. In this article for WIRED, he speaks for the cable companies, not the consumers. Founder of the broadband pay TV platform Unlimited Football, and former VP of technology at Foxsports.com, Wilner represents the sellers of bundled programming, not the interests of individual customers. His opinions should be viewed with that in mind. My comments are in italics.
Wilner writes: These days, barely a week passes in the U.S. entertainment industry without litigation, legislation, or argumentation over bundling–the practice of offering a “package” of channels instead of the option to buy a la carte. I, for one, say enough with bundle bashing. Bundling is hardly unique to the entertainment industry, nor is it solely an American phenomenon. There’s a reason for this: Bundling benefits consumers and vendors in more ways than one.
Bundles exist and are popular with consumers across a range of goods and services: Computer software, automobile trim and option packages, restaurant meals, gym memberships, even amusement park tickets…
I have to interrupt Wilner for a moment, to point out the obvious. These are bad examples. With the exception gym memberships (bundle-only) none of these examples put consumers in the position of “buy a bundle, or no deal”. Amusement parks, computer software, restaurant meals, sure, those things are offered in package form, but are also available individually. Clearly you can buy one restaurant meal, you can buy one software program, one amusement park ticket, one pair of custom headlights for your car. Hell, if you wanted, you could buy one headlight. Ala carte.
Cable companies don’t “offer” programming in bundled form–that’s your only choice. Take it or leave it. (and they arrange the bundles, not you) You “get” to choose among bundled packages. In order to get programming from a cable TV provider, accepting a bundle is they only way to get it . Why does Wilner offer such poor examples?
Imagine if you wanted to buy an airline ticket, and your only option was to buy a vacation package that included dozens of airline tickets? Or if you wanted to one out, but had to buy a booklet of 25 meal tickets? That’s the current arrangement with cable companies.
And despite all the furor over television bundling, non-TV programming often is bundled too: NBA League Pass, Netflix, Hulu, even Sirius radio subscriptions require consumers to pay a flat rate for a package that may include programs they don’t want.
In other words, “hey, these other providers do it.” So what? It’s still an anti-consumer practice.
While anti-bundling advocates purport that a la carte programming would reduce costs to consumers, it simply isn’t true. In a series of posts from his blog Stratēchery, Ben Thompson provides compelling evidence to show that if ESPN was offered on an a la carte basis, it could maintain its current profitability only if individual subscribers paid about $100 a month for it.