Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Reset" + "Smart Diplomacy" + "More flexibility after the election" = 

The Russians are openly mocking Obama on Twitter now.

Gene Wolfe

I "met" Gene Wolfe at Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions' bookstore in Hollywood when I was in law school.  I was surprised that a writer who could write so elegantly would look like an iron worker.

This is an interesting interview with Wolfe, including this:

//Which writers have most influenced you?

It’s a difficult question. My first editor, Damon Knight, asked me the same thing when I was just starting out, and I told him my chief influences were G. K. Chesterton and Marks’ [Standard] Handbook for [Mechanical] Engineers. And that’s still about as good an answer as I can give. I’ve been impressed with a lot of people—with Kipling, for example; with Dickens—but I don’t think I’ve been greatly influenced by them.

What struck you about Chesterton?

His charm; his willingness to follow an argument wherever it led.//


//I see you often called a Roman Catholic writer. Once, even, “a very subtle but also very emphatic Roman Catholic propagandist.”  Is this identification unfair?

I think it an oversimplification. I’m a writer who is Catholic, as a good many of us are. I do not write Catholic books intentionally. I’ve never been published by a religious publisher.//


//If it’s not too personal a question, do you consider yourself a professing Catholic?

Certainly I am. I go to mass; I receive Communion; I pray.

Were you born a Catholic, or was Rosemary?

No, I was a convert.

Like Chesterton.

It’s a bad thing in that born Catholics tend to look down on you. But being looked down upon has its advantages.

Like what?

You don’t put yourself forward as an expert. You understand other people who are in similar situations, and not only in religious matters. I once met Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who we’re trying to get made a saint now. He looked at you and you felt that he knew all about you, that he had taken your worth, both positive and negative, and had formed a correct opinion about you, and that was it.

Did Sheen feel saintly? He was canny by your account; he had an intelligent eye.

Sheen was a very intelligent man. He was smaller than I had expected. I suppose he was about five-five, five-six, or something like that.

John XXIII was a little man, too.

Well, size only counts with football players, really.

But did Sheen feel saintly? Did he have a quality of holiness?

He had a quality of something really quite extraordinary. I was at a party once for locally important politicians—a former governor of Illinois, for example. And Sheen came through as somebody who was actually on a higher level. A hundred years from now, he was the only one at the party who would still be important. The rest of us were lost. //

Chesterton is a gateway drug to Catholicism.

And another way that we keep minorities unemployed, ignorant and voting Democrat...

...cater to their delusions

UCLA students claim that professor is racist for correcting their grammar.

More reading:

The Inside Higher Ed story.

The UCLA petition.

Tolerance - the moment between breathing out one orthodoxy and breathing in another.

Ryan T. Anderson and a New York Times reporter debate civility.

Note that the reporter believes that he doesn't have to treat one side of the marriage debate as worthy of civility.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hamas is a Humanitarian Organization ...

...according to Nancy Pelosi (who seems to be some credence in what Qatar tells her.)

In unrelated news, Pelosi has held fundraisers with Hamas-linked organizations.
For left wing Democrats...

...conservative Americans are the real enemy.

Richard Dawkins

Far be it for me to say something supportive of that walking cold sore, Richard Dawkins, but strictly speaking, he's getting a bad rap on his leaden efforts to distinguish between degrees of badness, which is, after all, a key part of the Christian moral tradition.  So, I agree with Spiked.

On the other hand, one would have to have a heart of stone not to enjoy the spectacle of Dawkins being discovered to be a bigot - shocking!!! - only now when he says things that offend his AthSecHum allies, who are more than willing to see and describe the world in absolutely black and white terms.

Quite the conundrum.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reading Aquinas.

A reflection.
In a world where transgendered men and radical environmental lesbians argue about whether "people who can get pregnant" should be called "women"....

...and African-American leaders in Fresno can oppose the hiring of a White Cultural Studies teacher because he is white....

...some women are saying "to Hell with all that."

Women against Feminism.

NRO story.

Racists in Fresno oppose hiring of teacher because of color of his skin.

WHITES NEED NOT APPLY: Black Leaders In Fresno Oppose White ‘Cultural Studies’ Teacher

The protesters are unhappy because the school has chosen to hire Peter Beck, a person with white skin, over other, unidentified candidates, The Fresno Bee reports.
Beck will teach African-American studies, Latino studies and Southeast Asian studies.
On Monday morning, a small band of activists showed up in front of the sparkling new school at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Church Avenue. The local press was also there.
“We’re just saying what the community wants,” said Rev. Karen Crozier, one of the activists. “We didn’t fight for a white male or female teacher to educate our babies.”
Crozier, who appears to be a professor at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, also suggested that a white person cannot teach minority children in this instance because of racism.
“We still are at these racial fault lines, and we want someone who will be able to think critically about those racial fault lines and how do we help heal, to restore the problems that have existed,” she explained.

Good for Cal Johnson, by the way.

Monday, July 28, 2014

It turns out that some women - radical, crazy lesbians, actually - also have problems with the politically correct cant that men can become women.

So....yes...we've gotten to the position where only the crazies can speak the truth.

The word "women" no longer describes "people who can get pregnant"...

...according to our wacky betters.

That will undoubtedly be something else that everyone will have to agree to in about 5 years.
//But the spirit of the age is against the old lesbians:

The members of the board of the New York Abortion Access Fund, an all-volunteer group that helps to pay for abortions for those who can’t afford them, are mostly young women; Alison Turkos, the group’s co-chair, is twenty-six. In May, they voted unanimously to stop using the word “women” when talking about people who get pregnant, so as not to exclude trans men.

(Cue Theodore Dalrymple on how the purpose of politically correct propaganda is not “to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better.”)

There’s a certain historic irony and inevitability to lesbian feminists being routed by the only people claiming to be women who are even more ferociously masculine than themselves: individuals with actual Y-chromosomes.//

Time to go golfing.

Obama lied, people died.

//From Europe to the Middle East, we have seen how disaster follows U.S. retreat and disengagement from the world. But the one area where President Obama seemed to be leaning forward was drone strikes. He personally approved terrorist “kill lists” and has taken out many hundreds of terrorists with drones in Pakistan, Yemen and East Africa.

So why, when Iraqi officials began pleading with him one year ago to strike Islamic State terrorists with drones, did Obama repeatedly refuse — standing by while terrorists overran the country?

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce made the stunning revelation in a congressional hearing last week that Iraq had been urgently requesting drone support against the Islamic State since August 2013 and that those requests were repeatedly turned down.

Obama officials have publicly claimed that Iraq requested air support only in May of this year, after Islamic State had already taken Fallujah and was marching on Mosul. That is untrue. And it is Royce’s version of events that is borne out by the public record. On Aug. 17, 2013, in a little-noticed story entitled “Iraq Open to U.S. Drone Strikes on Terrorists,” Bloomberg News reported that Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari was in Washington “seeking U.S. advisers, air surveillance or even drone strikes” and that “the top Iraqi diplomat’s comments are the first time he has publicly raised the possibility of working with the U.S. on anti-terrorist drone strikes.”

That was a year ago. Had Obama acted on those requests, the Islamic State offensive might very well have been stopped. The United States could have hit the terrorists while they were still in staging areas in the western Iraqi desert, away from civilians, where they were easy targets for U.S. drones. Instead Obama did nothing, while the Islamic State massed its forces, marched into Iraqi cities, and proclaimed a radical Islamic state.

Why did Obama refuse? Perhaps authorizing drone strikes against terrorists in Iraq would have been an admission that his withdrawal from Iraq had backfired — that in the absence of U.S. troops the terrorists were making a comeback. This much is certain: The president did not take the Islamic State threat seriously. In a January 2014 interview with the New Yorker, Obama glibly dismissed the Islamic State as a bunch of junior varsity terrorists who posed little danger to Iraq or the United States. “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama declared. He brushed aside the rise of the Islamic State as just internal Iraqi sectarian violence, something that is not “a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”//

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The candid admission of dishonesty is breath-taking.

Democrats knew that people would lose insurance under Obamacare:

//On Sunday, appearing on ABC’s This Week with fill-in host Martha Raddatz, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) admitted that Democrats knew full well that Americans would be booted from their health insurance plans as an effect of Obamacare implementation.

When asked whether Democrats were misled by President Obama about whether Americans would be able to keep their plans in the individual insurance market, Gillibrand answered: “He should’ve just been specific. No, we all knew.”

She added that the whole point of Obamacare was to “covering things people need, like preventive care, birth control, pregnancy.” The redistributive nature of Obamacare, Gillibrand stated, was the point of the program; anyone claiming ignorance, therefore, is not telling the truth.//

Thank you Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Thanks to your unstinting efforts to save America from the boogey-man of Theocracy...

...we may have real government informants attending church services to make sure that free speech is not committed.... more selective prosecution of ungood badthink speech!

Just like the Nazis and the Pulpit Law!

//The Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Internal Revenue Service reached an agreement today (July 17) that resolves for the time being an ongoing federal lawsuit over non-enforcement of restrictions on political activity by tax-exempt religious organizations and churches.

“This is a victory, and we’re pleased with this development in which the IRS has proved to our satisfaction that it now has in place a protocol to enforce its own anti-electioneering provisions,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

“Of course, we have the complication of a moratorium currently in place on any IRS investigations of any tax-exempt entities, church or otherwise, due to the congressional probe of the IRS. FFRF could refile the suit if anti-electioneering provisions are not enforced in the future against rogue political churches.”

FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so.

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches.   //

Prosecutorial discretion is the key with this crowd.

On the Pulpit Law - see this Wiki article.
Is there nothing that Global Warming can't do?

Arctic sea ice at 10 year high.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Does anyone remember this?

Does anyone remember that Robert Loggia was T.H.E. Cat?

Banana Republic


//One of the big questions out of the IRS targeting scandal is this: How can an agency that engaged in such political misconduct be trusted to implement ObamaCare? This week’s Halbig v. Burwell ruling reminded us of the answer. It can’t.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Halbig that the administration had illegally provided ObamaCare subsidies in 36 insurance exchanges run by the federal government. Yet it wasn’t the “administration” as a whole that issued the lawless subsidy gift. It was the administration acting through its new, favorite enforcer: the IRS.

And it was entirely political. Democrats needed those subsidies. The party had assumed that dangling subsidies before the states would induce them to set up exchanges. When dozens instead refused, the White House was faced with the prospect that citizens in 36 states—two-thirds of the country—would be exposed to the full cost of ObamaCare’s overpriced insurance. The backlash would have been horrific, potentially forcing Democrats to reopen the law, or even costing President Obama re-election.

The White House viewed it as imperative, therefore, that IRS bureaucrats ignore the law’s text and come up with a politically helpful rule. The evidence shows that career officials at the IRS did indeed do as Treasury Department and Health and Human Services Department officials told them. This, despite the fact that the IRS is supposed to be insulated from political meddling.

We know this thanks to a largely overlooked joint investigation and February report by the House Oversight and Ways and Means committees into the history of the IRS subsidy rule. We know that in the late summer of 2010, after ObamaCare was signed into law, the IRS assembled a working group—made up of career IRS and Treasury employees—to develop regulations around ObamaCare subsidies. And we know that this working group initially decided to follow the text of the law. An early draft of its rule about subsidies explained that they were for “Exchanges established by the State.”

Yet in March 2011, Emily McMahon, the acting assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department (a political hire), saw a news article that noted a growing legal focus on the meaning of that text. She forwarded it to the working group, which in turn decided to elevate the issue—according to Congress’s report—to “senior IRS and Treasury officials.” The office of the IRS chief counsel—one of two positions appointed by the president—drafted a memo telling the group that it should read the text to mean that everyone, in every exchange, got subsidies. At some point between March 10 and March 15, 2011, the reference to “Exchanges established by the State” disappeared from the draft rule.

Emails viewed by congressional investigators nonetheless showed that Treasury and the IRS remained worried they were breaking the law. An email exchange between Treasury employees in the spring of 2011 expressed concern that they had no statutory authority to deem a federally run exchange the equivalent of a state-run exchange.

Yet rather than engage in a basic legal analysis—a core duty of an agency charged with tax laws—the IRS instead set about obtaining cover for its predetermined political goal.//

Friday, July 25, 2014

How to explain marriage.

The videos on this post are worth watching.


Don't any of these clowns have an Etiquette Secretary?

John Kerry shows insensitivity to mother of fallen Israeli soldier:

“How’s your day?” Kerry asked as he sat down. “How’s your day?” Evie asked back. “My day’s going better than yours,” he said.//
It's like child porn...

... the Western demand for photos of dead Palestinians is incentivizing the Hamas leadership to engage in strategies that create the situation where more Palestinians get killed.

IRS Scandal.

IRS has been lying about Lois Lerner's hard drive.

On July 11, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, at a hearing examining a lawsuit against the IRS by the targeted conservative group True the Vote, told Obama administration lawyers he wanted to see an affidavit explaining what happened with Lerner's hard drive.
He wanted something on the record and under oath that went beyond the tap dancing of recent congressional testimony. Walton also wanted to know the serial number of the hard drive and, if that number was known, "why the computer hard drive cannot be identified and preserved."
In response, the IRS said under oath that the hard drive from Lerner's computer was destroyed and recycled, echoing earlier testimony from Commissioner John Koskinen.
The reason given for Lerner's hard drive — possibly containing incriminating emails from and to the former head of the IRS Tax Exempt division — being destroyed and recycled, according to the IRS in the affidavit, was that a team of its technical experts had determined the drive was irreparably damaged and had to be recycled.
Except that was not true.
On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Committee investigators said that they had a chance to talk to the technical experts inside the IRS who actually examined Lerner's computer, and that the experts said the hard drive in question was merely "scratched" and most of the data on it was indeed recoverable.
According to a committee release, "in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data."
Yet no attempt to get outside help was made.

More good news.

The GAO was able to register 11 fake accounts in 12 attempts.

Health and Human Services is still paying the bills for the fake accounts. NBC News reports the subsidy cost for the 11 approved applications is about $2,500 a month or about $30,000 a year.  “For each of our 11 approved applications,” the report reveals, “we paid the required premiums to put policies into force, and are continuing to pay the premiums. 
In half of their attempts, the GAO withheld needed information on the exchange and got stopped. They followed up with calls to the CMS contractor to get assistance, which should have required the investigators to submit identity documents. Instead, they got approved coverage over the phone, complete with taxpayer-supplied subsidies paid to the insurance companies. 
Not that their efforts were entirely trouble free. Four of their fake applications got lost and had to be resubmitted, for a failure rate of one-third. That will sound familiar to those forced into the Obamacare exchanges. “According to CMS call-center and document-processing contractors,” the GAO reports, “multiple electronic applications have been common.”
And, "Obamacare will suck the life out of the economy." 

Get ready for more dampening effects on the economy from Obamacare, too. The Washington Post reminded readers this week that the employer mandates will soon come into force for most businesses, which now have to make decisions on staffing, hours, and benefits for their 2015 budgets. The Post focuses first on a restaurant chain in Idaho to see how the employer mandate has impacted staffing and benefit decisions. 
The owner of Bardenay in Idaho, Kevin Settles, had to put expansion on hold – and the new revenues and jobs it would create – while tracking employee hours and setting up health-insurance options for those who worked enough hours to qualify. He even offered to get more of them insured if they worked at least 39 hours a week – and was shocked when only a handful accepted. Others quit to work at higher-paying part-time jobs. “To my surprise, having had this program in place for nearly a year,” Settles told The Post, “I don’t think the staff cares that much” about health-insurance coverage. 
Businesses care about it, though, especially the cost. Investors’ Business Daily has documented over 400 mid- to large-sized employers that will or have already cut worker hours to avoid the full-time classification that will force them to provide health insurance or pay fines for non-compliance. Not all of these are private-sector employers, either. 
The list recently added seven public school districts that intend to cut hours for non-teaching personnel, moves that will save them millions of dollars in benefit costs. The Post also reports a move by French food-service company Sodexo to reclassify 3,000 workers as part time in order to drop their health benefits. 

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