October 13, 2013

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Obamacare: Mind-Boggling Incompetence’) Is Up

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:00 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

October 7, 2013

Carney and ABC’s Jonathan Karl Have at It in Briefing; Rest of Press Virtually Guaranteed to Ignore

Evidence of testiness on the Democratic side of the 17% government shutdown continues to accumulate.

Today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had a tense exchange with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who was apparently so taken aback by Carney’s answer to another reporter that he interjected himself into the dialog — to correct Carney about what House Speaker John Boehner said earlier today about his openness to negotiating. Carney also announced that Americans won’t have to wait to see how the nation’s healthcare delivery system changes in 2014 to experience long times spent in waiting rooms (Patience, please; it will become clear later in the post). But first, let’s get the Blaze’s rundown of the Carney-Karl exchange (bolds are mine):

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August 26, 2013

Nicely Done: Crossroads on the Obamacare Reality

Karl Rove’s group can’t campaign its way out of a paper bag, but at least it occasionally produces effective videos others can use (HT Hot Air Greenroom:

Especially like the “man-dates” reference. Watch and see.

July 22, 2013

Statists Never Sleep: Advice Is Obviously a Form of Free Speech Protected by the First Amendment

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:33 pm

They want to control what people can tell you — even advice columnists (HT Instapundit):

Newspaper Censorship in America: Is this Celebrated Advice Columnist a Criminal?

In case you wondered (you shouldn’t have), Jack Conway, the free speech censor discussed but not named in the video, who has been Kentucky Attorney General since 2008, is a Democrat.

July 14, 2013

Not News at AP or Politico: DOJ’s Involvement in Ginning Up Anti-Zimmerman Sentiment

Imagine if — and you’d have to imagine it, because it never happened — the George W. Bush administration had sent members of its Justice Department to a city where a black man charged with murder was claiming self-defense in the killing of a non-African-American for the purposes of ginning up protests against the accused. Establishment press coverage and would have been justifiably intense.

On Thursday, Judicial Watch revealed that it had obtained documents showing that “a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, FL, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman.” In other words, DOJ did to Zimmerman what I just noted Bush 43 administration never did and would never have considered doing. JW’s bombshell is not news at the Associated Press or at the Politico.

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July 12, 2013

MSNBC’s Smerconish Says that DC Mayor Gray Should Veto DC’s ‘Living Wage’ Bill Targeting Walmart

This one is a lead candidate for top placement in this week’s “Even a stopped clock is right twice day” file.

MSNBC’s Michael Smerconish, whose NewsBusters archive exposes him as a Barack Obama-supporting, right-wing conspiracy-mongering faux conservative, had a perhaps surprising reaction to the District of Columbia City Council’s 8-5 vote to force Walmart and other big box retailers in the city — just the ones which aren’t unionized — a living wage of $12.50 per hour. In a Thursday evening column at the network’s website, he advised DC Mayor Vincent Gray to veto it, and was actually quite logical about it (bold is mine):

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July 5, 2013

Cavuto on ObamaCare: ‘Champions of ObamaCare hid the real costs’

Since a frequent tipster informed me of an epic rant by Fox News’s Neil Cavuto on Monday, I’ve been waiting for it to appear on YouTube.

It hasn’t, so I’m going to transcribe it and link readers to the Fox News video. Keep in mind that Cavuto said all of this before the Obama administration’s cynical, politically opportunistic, and arguably illegal (as if that matters any more) announcement that it would delay imposing the employer mandate for a year until January 1, 2015, while forcing everyone to have health insurance or pay a fine starting six months from now:

We are paying more for health insurance when they said we would be paying less.

We are signing up fewer for the health care law when they said we would be signing up more.

The uninsured who still don’t want it.

The low-wage workers who still can’t afford it.

The doctors who are sick of being doctors because of it.

The fit who are having fits because they still will end up paying more even if they are fit.

The full-time workers made part-time workers because their bosses couldn’t afford their coverage.

The part-time workers who became former workers because they couldn’t afford losing that coverage.

The specialists who say their specialty suddenly isn’t so special.

The surgeons bailing out of their profession because it’s just not worth the hassle.

Oh yeah, and everybody else, who just can’t seem to afford the hassle.

A Wall Street Journal study out today that details premiums doubling, even tripling, and soon — even for those practicing preventive behavior, prevented from getting any break for that behavior.

Who knew in this remake of healthcare (that) slugs would rule, and the fit would drool?

The government knew. That’s who knew.

The votes touting who not only knew it, but hid from all of us the very real costs of it.

Nancy Pelosi was no dummy. She HAD read the bill. She DID know what was inside that bill — just like Max Baucus did, just like Harry Reid did.

But the fix was already in, and those soaring premiums are already on.

But then again, these champions of healthcare chose their words very carefully at the time, didn’t they?

After all, President Obama himself always said that you could keep your own doctor. What he did not say, was that you would end up paying through the nose for the privilege.

And the great healtcare system we once enjoyed, the one we upended for the 90 percent of us who were happy to cover the 10 percent who apparently still are not happy — well, stick a syringe in it. It is gone.

But first, bend over. Because this is gonna hurt.

Well, the message from the administration’s employer mandate delay may be, could be, and should be, “Maybe the health system we had, the one which needs serious reform but in a free-market direction, isn’t gone — not if those opposed to it summon the courage to save it and fix it.”

August 22, 2009

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Meet Rahm Emanuel’s Brother: Dr. Zeke the Bleak’) Is Up (See UPDATE for WaPo Editorial)

EzekielEmanuel081109It’s here.

Sub-headline:

Despite his recent attempted reputation rehab, Zeke always ends up at the same place: not treating the somehow unworthy or letting them die.

It will go up at BizzyBlog on Monday morning (link won’t work until then) under my originally submitted title (“Zeke the Bleak Tries a Sneak”) after the blackout expires.

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The column’s early paragraphs remind readers of the three central incurable moral problems with ObamaCare, first mentioned in my “ObamaCare as a Moral Clunker” column a couple of weeks ago, and how they are still quite present:

…. there are three insurmountable moral objections to the president’s and Democrats’ versions of mislabeled “health care reform”:

  1. They are all designed and destined to ration care. This will lead, as it has in state-run systems virtually everywhere, to long waits for even critical services. In Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Harvard professor and chairman of President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers Martin Feldstein confirmed this obvious and inconvenient truth, writing that “rationing health care is central to President Barack Obama’s health plan.”
  2. Under the idea of “Comparative Effectiveness Research” (CER), which has already been funded to the tune of over $1 billion, the inevitable and unavoidable rationing just described would more than likely be carried out under a regime of care denial driven by age-based and “quality of life” criteria. This will, formally or informally, lead to a system similar to that found in the UK, where its National Health Service, under the concept of “Quality-Adjusted Life Years” (QALY), won’t pay for medical procedures that “cost” more than $50,000 for each year of additional life expected to be gained (“cost” is in quotes because I believe that such “costs” are often overloaded with fixed overhead that largely should not be relevant to such decisions).
  3. The people who would be in charge of implementing a state-controlled system, which remains the objective of President Obama and Congress as long as they seek any kind of “public option” or government-managed “co-operative” set-up, have viewpoints that are ethically questionable at best and morally abhorrent at worst.

Ezekiel Emanuel is, of course, primarily a Point 3 problem, because his track record indicates no qualms about the presence of Points 1 and 2. There are many others who hang with President Obama who hold to similar beliefs. The president’s indifference to infanticide, and his suggestion at the ABC infomercial in June that the mother of the woman who had a pacemaker installed at age 99 would have been better off taking a pill instead, are both strong indicators that he is a kindred spirit with Zeke et al.

Zeke, as I refer to him, is attempting to rehabilitate his reputation based on an alleged conversion during the last “five to seven years.” He now wants us to believe that statist health care can be managed without rationing. The column shows that positions he has taken on health matters in just the past few years render that claim an epic fail.

Read the rest at PJM.

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UPDATE: There’s a great comment at PJM from “jerryofva” (after correcting typos) –

This is fundamentally a story about ethics. The question one has to ask is how did a Jew like Ezekiel Emanuel become a proponent of a medical care regime that Henrich Himmler would applaud. The entire idea of “QALY” based system smacks of disposing of the “lives unworthy of living” criteria established by Nazi Germany.” Is there a Rabbi in America who will step up and condemn Dr. Emanuel to the Jewish community?

That transitions into a reminder to anyone who believes otherwise that the regime that attempted to exterminate the Jews was socialist and left-wing. Here are 10 reasons. More discussion is here. A good related vid is here.

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UPDATE 2, August 23: The Washington Post editorially attempted to defend Emanuel yesterday, ginning up as much “we’re outraged” language as it could in a few paragraphs.

But the WaPo unwittingly ended up proving opponents’ point by citing the Lancet study I mentioned in the column –

Critics also point to a January 2009 piece in the Lancet in which Dr. Emanuel and co-authors discuss how to determine which patients should obtain scarce resources such as organs for transplant. The authors consider various possibilities — lotteries; first-come, first-served; sickest first — and propose a combined “complete lives” approach that would consider age, prognosis and maximizing lives saved. Importantly, this would not apply to all health care — only “when genuine scarcity makes saving everyone impossible.” Ms. Palin misleadingly describes this as a “rationing system” that “would refuse to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled who have less economic potential.”

First of all, compare the full range of considerations Emanuel said he would include at Lancet — “youngest-first, prognosis, save the most lives, lottery, and instrumental value” — to what WaPo listed above (“age, prognosis and maximizing lives saved”). Conveniently editing, don’t you think?

Then go back to Point 1 at the very beginning of this post — “They (state-controlled health care systems) are all designed and destined to ration care. This will lead, as it has in state-run systems virtually everywhere, to long waits for even critical services.”

State-run care inevitably creates the conditions for what WaPo itself described as “genuine scarcity that makes saving everyone impossible.” It imposes those conditions on a nation as a permanent part of the landscape, causing a top-down care-decision process that the likes of Zeke Emanuel would manage, a la NICE in the UK, to inevitably kick in. NICE currently and routinely does what Sarah Palin describes and decries, i.e., it “refuse(s) to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled who have less economic potential.”

Q.E.D.

Thanks, WaPo.

November 21, 2008

Mary Taylor Is Right; Joe the Plumber Snoop Should Be Fired

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:27 pm

(Scroll for Updates: Make That “Snoops” — Four More Nearly Invisible Wrist Slaps; Official Gov. Statement on Jones-Kelley; Curious Story Timing)

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I could not find Mary Taylor’s statement at any related URLs, though I think she would be perfectly justified in expressing her opinion at her State Auditor web site (that’s what auditors do).

So Taylor appears to be relying on the press (good luck with that), her supporters, and others to get this word out. I am happy to assist with that.

Here’s her press release from today on the slap on wrist (i.e., the one month suspension) given to Helen Jones Kelley for her Joe the Plumber shenanigans:

Statement from Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor
November 21, 2008

Ohio Auditor of State Mary Taylor issued the following statement regarding the one-month suspension of Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Helen Jones Kelley:

“Ohio citizens should have the highest confidence that the private information that state and local government have access to is protected and will not be used for political or other inappropriate purposes. According to the report released today by the Inspector General, this basic and fundamental trust was broken by Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Helen Jones-Kelley.

We need to restore accountability and transparency in government and send a message to Ohioans that the misuse and abuse of personal information will not be tolerated. Government leaders need to be responsible for the actions of their employees so I urge Governor Strickland,who campaigned on the promise of running an ethical administration, to ask for the resignation or terminate Ms. Jones-Kelley immediately.”

Ted Strickland’s oh-well, no-big-deal response to all of this has been pathetic.

And where is the action, if any, on the other Joe the Plumber data divers?

The message is that Ohioans can feel confident that their personal and private information are secure with state agencies — only as long as they don’t make disagreeable, disruptive waves that offend the powers that be.

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“Friday News Dump UPDATE,” 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 22: More wrist-slaps, covered in an AP story that went up at about 8 PM last night –

4 more punished over ‘Joe the Plumber’ searches

….. Fred Williams, the Department of Job and Family Services’ assistant director, will be placed on two weeks unpaid suspension beginning Monday, spokeswoman Scarlett Bouder said in a statement. Doug Thompson, the department’s deputy director of child support, is facing a four-week unpaid suspension, also starting on Monday, (AP ended this sentence with a comma; there is no break in text — Ed.)

Two other agency employees are facing disciplinary action based on conclusions reached Thursday by Ohio’s government watchdog, she said.

The department’s director, Helen Jones-Kelley, improperly ordered staff to look up records on Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, the Toledo-area man who became a household name in the final weeks of the presidential campaign, Ohio Inspector General Thomas Charles said in a report.

Gov. Ted Strickland immediately ordered Jones-Kelley be placed on a one-month unpaid suspension after reviewing the report’s findings.

Charles’ report also outlines roles played by Williams and Thompson in the searches, as well as Paul Fraunholtz, the deputy director of family stability, and Judi Cicatiello, the deputy director of unemployment compensation.

Totally. Unacceptable.

Not that we’ll ever find out, but does anyone want to bet against some form of “compensation for valuable campaign services rendered” making its way from “somewhere” to the five people involved?
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UPDATE 2, Nov. 22, 8 a.m.: Here is Ted Strickland’s official statement announcing Jones-Kelley’s suspension –

Columbus, Ohio – Governor Ted Strickland issued the following statement today:

“Helen Jones-Kelley has dedicated her life to helping the most vulnerable among us. She is recognized nationally as an expert in the field of foster care and she has worked commendably for many years as an advocate for children, families and workers in her native Montgomery County and the state of Ohio. I value her contributions to the state and her local community.”

However, I accept the Inspector General’s judgment that there was not an adequate business purpose for the searches in question. I also accept his determination that her personal Blackberry was inappropriately synchronized, resulting in emails she perceived to be personal being transmitted through governmental email resources. Therefore, today I have issued a one-month unpaid suspension for Director Helen Jones-Kelley. Additionally, I am issuing a management directive – applicable to all state agencies, boards and commissions – regarding the proper use of state databases to help ensure that a situation such as this never happens again.”

The full text of the governor’s management directive is pasted below …..

There is currently no statement in the press release section of the Governor’s web site on the “punishments” handed out to the other four individuals the AP mentioned earlier.

An enterprising Ohio journalist would look into whether the governor’s “management directive” is a cut-and-paste of something very similar that might have been put into place during the state’s “Datagate” in 2007, during previous gubernatorial administrations, or at the agencies themselves. Because if similar relevant guidance already exists — and there is good reason to believe that it does, or did — the “management directive” is nothing more than rear end-covering window-dressing.

Assuming Ohio journalists stay in snooze mode, anyone who can point to a previous directive, law, or policy should e-mail me.

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UPDATE 3, Nov. 22, 8:20 a.m.: A Google News search on “Joe the Plumber” Ohio (typed as indicated) shows that the earliest relevant story about the additional four employees disciplined (*) appeared in the Columbus Dispatch at about 5 p.m. on Friday (“15 hours ago,” per Google News, though the story now carries a 7:33 p.m. time stamp).

How convenient.

The Dispatch story does not mention of Mary Taylor’s statement, or for that matter the post-decision reaction of any Republican.

(*) – Italicized words added on November 23 for clarification.

September 26, 2008

AP’s Palin Derangement Extends to Her Parents

The Associated Press apparently isn’t satisfied going after Sarah Palin full throttle.

The GOP Vice-Presidential nominee’s visit to New York City apparently went so well that an ABC pictorial series is called “Sarah Palin Takes News York” — though the last slide takes a shot at the McCain campaign for setting boundaries on access to Palin during her meetings with foreign leaders. ABC claims that the media threatened to boycott covering her (yeah, right).

Both the New York Times and the AP chose to address Palin’s observation that her parents had involvement in the recovery effort in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. In a surprisingly pleasant development, the Times’s story covered that angle reasonably well. But the AP’s story (as carried at the Times web site), was incomplete, nasty (“rat-killers”), and condescending.

Here’s how the Times’s coverage started:

Palin’s Parents Aided in Sept. 11 Cleanup

Gov. Sarah Palin visited ground zero on Thursday and said her parents had come to New York after 9/11 to help with the recovery effort.

Her parents, Chuck and Sally Heath, worked at the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island in January and February 2002 as part of a federal Department of Agriculture program.

In a telephone interview on Thursday, Mr. Heath said he and his wife had worked to keep sea gulls and rats from scavenging remains in the debris. Mr. Heath, 70, a retired science teacher, and Mrs. Heath, 68, a retired secretary, have worked for the Agriculture Department for 15 years. They travel around the world dealing with “nuisance” animals like rats and bears.

All in all, not bad.

The same can’t be said for how AP handled it:

Palin’s parents: Retirees, part – time rat killers

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — More than six years before Sarah Palin visited ground zero as the Republican vice presidential nominee, her parents were there as part of the response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — trapping rats.

Chuck and Sally Heath have been part-time U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife specialists for the past 15 years, traveling throughout Alaska trapping or killing animals. They’ve eradicated rat infestations, shooed geese from runways and killed foxes that were keeping threatened Canada geese from nesting.

In January 2002, they went to New York City for a two-week assignment that fit their specialty. Their job was to make sure birds and rats did not disturb the debris from the collapsed World Trade Center towers that was being searched by forensic teams for human remains in Staten Island’s Fresh Kills landfill.

My take:

  • The AP’s headline and first paragraph were deliberately incomplete, negative, and designed to make Palin’s parents come off looking like a couple of sadists. That’s especially obvious when you see from the Times article that “trapping rats” isn’t all the Heaths did. In fact, the Times piece mentions rats after seagulls.
  • More on the headline — Since Palin was visiting Gotham and made the comment about her parents, the story was what the Heaths did in connection with 9/11. The AP article’s eighth paragraph noted that the rats at Fresh Kill were “dispersed,” and apparently not killed. So why is “rat-killers” in the headline? The Heaths’ involvement in rat eradication, which AP decided to call “killing,” actually took place on an unrelated assignment thousands of miles away.
  • The AP, in unexcerpted text, mentioned that Mr. Heath was a retired teacher, but despite their article running twice as long as the Old Gray Lady’s, never mentioned what Mrs. Heath did for retirement (she was a secretary).

I learned by going to this AP-Google link that the pitiful headline was the same, and that the story’s author was Matt Volz.

Volz has been exhibiting ever more serious symptoms of Palin Derangement. NewsBusters’ Jason Aslinger observed earlier this week that:

Volz has been a busy bee covering the Troopergate anti-scandal over the last two weeks. Not surprisingly, he continues to write story after story without citing to the obvious bias underlying the entire investigation.

By extending the vitriol to her parents, Volz is demonstrating that his strain of PDS is particularly virulent. I fear for the AP reporter’s stability if Palin takes up residence where Dick Cheney currently lives.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

September 18, 2008

Bailout Blues, and Now AIG Too (with Car Companies in View)

OK, here’s the lineup of those taken over or otherwise “assisted” by the US government and/or the Federal Reserve:
- Freddie Mac (known around here as Fredron).
- Fannie Mae (known around here as Fanron).
- AIG

Here are others who are being absorbed, apparently at fire-sale prices:
- Merrill Lynch (by Bank of America)
- Countrywide (by Bank of America; seems like ancient history, doesn’t it?)
- Bear Stearns (by Chase)

By the way, I can’t wait for the next politician who throws brickbats at the banking and financial-services industries for overconcentration, given the fact that the politician-patronized Fredron and Fanron, aka Barney’s Rubble, created the conditions for it to happen. I predict it won’t be long.

Here are those who went belly-up after pleas for assistance or for an 11th-hour buyer were waved off:
- Lehman Brothers

(If I’m missing any biggies, let me know in the comments; please don’t e-mail, as I’m still digging through those after the 10-day computer fiasco and more recent power and Internet outages.)

Now, here’s the list of those who are going to want assistance, and apparently pretty soon:
- Ford
- General Motors
- Chrysler

Apparently, John McCain’s overexposure to Mitt Romney since the primaries caused the Arizona senator to very, very wrongly change his tune on assistance to the “domestic” industry — as if Honda, Toyota, Nissan and other plants aren’t “domestic” enough (Obama has apparently favored it all along). I predicted several weeks ago that a President McCain will be an infuriating, high-maintenance project. I believe that remains true, even with Sarah Palin on board to provide outside-the-beltway sanity.

Sticking to the auto biz for a moment: How outrageous is it that Ford, which made a politically-correct but stuck-on-stupid decision for two years to ignore a boycott that cost it almost a billion dollars (under a set of very conservative assumptions), appears to be on the verge of asking the entire country for a handout?

Finally, here’s the list of business who may come to Uncle Sam for assistance if their business heads south:
- Any business that can make a case that it’s too big to fail.
- Any business that can make a case that its failure will harm the near-term electoral prospects of any candidate for president, senator, Congress, governor, or dog-catcher.

In other words, there’s potentially no end to this, which is why it must stop, preferably before the Detroit automakers get their bailout.

The most troubling member in the lists above is AIG, because no one is making what I believe is a pretty obvious connection.

I can’t help but think that if the now-disgraced Eliot Spitzer hadn’t forced out Hank Greenburg in March 2005, the insurance giant would have been able to navigate the troubled waters that arrived not very much later. Instead, the guys at the helm who replaced Greenberg appears to have been way out of their league. Nobody knew AIG inside and out like Greenberg.

Here’s a reminder of what Spitzer did, and how he did it, from the March 11 Wall Street Journal (related BizzyBlog post is here if WSJ link doesn’t work):

….. Mr. Spitzer’s recklessness with the state’s highest elected office, though, is of a piece with his consistent excesses as Attorney General from 1999 to 2006.

He routinely used the extraordinary threat of indicting entire firms, a financial death sentence, to force the dismissal of executives, such as AIG’s Maurice “Hank” Greenberg. He routinely leaked to the press emails obtained with subpoena power to build public animosity against companies and executives. In the case of Mr. Greenberg, he went on national television to accuse the AIG founder of “illegal” behavior. Within the confines of the law itself, though, he never indicted Mr. Greenberg. Nor did he apologize.

In perhaps the incident most suggestive of Mr. Spitzer’s lack of self-restraint, the then-Attorney General personally threatened John Whitehead after the former Goldman Sachs chief published an article on this page defending Mr. Greenberg. “I will be coming after you,” Mr. Spitzer said, according to Mr. Whitehead’s account. “You will pay the price. This is only the beginning, and you will pay dearly for what you have done.”

Left unsaid, but obvious, is that Greenberg wasn’t indicted because he would have kicked Spitzer’s butt in court — which is why Spitzer avoided the inside of courtrooms like a plague. In the one case I’m aware of where someone stood up to Spitzer all the way through a jury verdict, the New York Attorney General was trounced.

My quick research indicates that Greenberg had at least three successors in the past 3-1/2 years (Frank Zarb (a caretaker), Martin Sullivan, and now-deposed Robert Willumstad.

Now there’s Edward Liddy. If he could get past the bitterness, and if regulators could admit that Spitzer’s publicity-driven ouster of him was wrong, Greenberg, even in his 80s, might have been a better choice.

Who’s at the top matters. So does drift at the top, even for a few months, especially at such a large and complex entity.

Note from taxpayers to Spitzer: Thanks for nothing.

Exit question: How unfair is it to blame Spitzer, his AG imitators in other states, and his fellow travelers in Washington who treated Fredron and Fanron as their personal piggy banks, for the financial system’s mess?

Exit answer: Very, very fair.

Parting thought: It appears that if the left can’t nationalize the economy the traditional way (through brute force), they’ll accept it on a piecemeal basis, as their regulations, systemic corruption, and legal harassment take companies and industries down.

July 18, 2008

Oh (Big) Brother: LA Pol Wants New Fast-Food Outlet Halt; WaPo Reporter Eats It Up

NoFastFoodCrossOut0708
Note: This column appeared at Pajamas Media on Wednesday under the title “Big Brother Doesn’t Want You Eating Burgers in LA.”

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In a proposal that is stunning in both its ignorance and arrogance, a South-Central Los Angeles politician wants to place a moratorium on the construction of new fast-food restaurants in her area.

What is unfortunately not nearly as surprising is how Washington Post reporter Karl Vick let some huge, uh, whoppers go by without challenge when he covered this development.

Here how Vick’s story, as carried at Boston.com, begins (HT Hot Air Headlines; bolds are mine):

Citing alarming rates of childhood obesity and a poverty of healthful eating choices, a city councilor is pushing for a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in South-Central Los Angeles.

“Some people will say, ‘Well, people just don’t have to eat it,’ ” said Jan Perry, the Democrat who represents the city’s overwhelmingly African-American and Latino District 9. “But the fact of the matter is, what if you have no other choices?”

The proposed ordinance, which is awaiting a committee hearing, takes a page from boutique communities that turn up their noses at franchises.

It is supported by nutritionists, frustrated residents, and community activists who call restrictive zoning an appropriate response to “food apartheid.”

You would think that there are no grocery stores in South-Central offering all manner of nutritional options that often cost less per meal than fast food. Quite the contrary: Web searches on two chains I’m aware of in the area reveal that there are ten Ralph’s or Food4less stores within four miles of the address of the advocacy group whose Executive Director is quoted in the article, and at least three Vons within a reasonable distance of its zip code. When did eating store-bought food at home become a nonviable option?

Here are some relevant points to chew on:
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July 16, 2008

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Big Brother Doesn’t Want You Eating Burgers in LA’) Is Up

NoFastFoodCrossOut0708It’s here at Pajamas Media.

Here’s my tease (appetizer, if you will) for the column:

In a proposal that is stunning in both its ignorance and arrogance, a South-Central Los Angeles politician wants to place a moratorium on the construction of new fast-food restaurants in her area.

What is unfortunately not nearly as surprising is how Washington Post reporter Karl Vick let some huge, uh, whoppers go by without challenge when he covered this development.

It will go up at BizzyBlog on Friday morning (link won’t work until then) under the title “Oh (Big) Brother: LA Pol Wants New Fast-Food Outlet Halt; WaPo Reporter Eats It Up.”

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UPDATE: Mary Katharine Ham was on this on Monday at the Examiner. Well, so was I, except there was editing and review time from above. :–>

June 17, 2008

Gift of Gaffe: Barack Obama Thinks Income and Net Worth Are the Same Thing

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Economy,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:19 pm

Not only that, the ignorance in on display is in what appears to be an official campaign video (HT Real Clear Politics):

(Excerpted comments begin at about 7:10 into the vid)

While you, most of you here have Social Security tax on every dime you’ve ever earned, you’ve got billionaires and millionaires who are paying on only a tiny ….. fraction of their income.

I’ve got a friend in Omaha, you may have heard of him, named Warren Buffett. He’s worth $56 billion. Y’know, if he’s only paying the first $100,000, that is .000001% of his income as he’s paying Social Security. I may have lost a couple of zeros in there.

The point is, it’s negligible to him, it’s not even noticeable. I think that’s why the best way forward is to first look to adjust the cap on the payroll tax, so that people like me, because I’m earning a bit more than $102,000, pay a little bit more and people in need are protected.

Folks, I cleaned up what Obama said as much as I could. Somebody ought to call Joe Biden and see if he wants to take back his comment about how articulate this guy is, instead of apologizing for having said it.

Anyway, here’s a translation of the bolded paragraph above I can (sort of) work with:

I’ve got a friend in Omaha, you may have heard of him, named Warren Buffett. He’s worth $56 billion. Y’know, if he’s only paying Social Security tax on the first $100,000, that is .000001% of his income on which he’s paying Social Security tax. I may have lost a couple of zeros in there.

You lost more than a couple of zeros, pal. You wanted your audience to mentally divide $100,000 by $56 billion (if you’re keeping score, that’s 0.00018%) — as if Warren Buffett’s income, which Obama never disclosed and probably isn’t known in total, is the same as his net worth. O,M,G.

Someone ought to tell Obama that:

  • Income is what you earn.
  • Net worth is what you have (after subtracting what you owe).
  • Warren Buffett probably earns most of his income, which he said was more than $46 million in calendar 2006, from capital gains and dividends, against which there is no Social Security tax (yet).
  • People pay Social Security tax on their income from work or self-employment, not on their net worth (yet).
  • If Warren Buffett currently has earnings from work of $5.6 million (my recollection is that it’s probably lower than that), Obama was “only” off by a factor of 10,000 ($56 bil divided by $5.6 mil) in that element of his attempted “calculation.” Also, the current taxable earnings limit of $102,000 would be 1.8% of Buffett’s earnings from work, not “.000001%.”
  • Under Obama’s proposal for Social Security, if Buffett’s earnings from work really is $5.6 million, he will pay over $663,000 more into the system —

    ObamaSocSecPropBuffett0608

  • Warren Buffett, whose net worth is $56 billion, might indeed see this tax increase as “negligible to him …. not even noticeable.” I would suggest that someone with little previous net worth earning $5.6 million for the first time might more accurately see being forced to cough up an additional $663K as theft by government.
  • Pile the 12.4% marginal tax just shown on top of the top federal income tax rate of 39.6% that would return if the current tax law isn’t extended, the 2.9% Medicare tax on all earned income, and at least 5% for state and local income taxes, and you’re at a marginal tax rate of just under 60%. That’s ridiculous.

Whether Barack Obama actually understands any of this is questionable.

This is the same guy who says that his earnings of roughly $4 million in 2007 (including book royalties, which are subject to Social Security taxation up to the current limit) is “a bit more” than $102,000. Some “bit.”

This guy is one election win away from being in charge of a $3 trillion-plus budget and responsibility for steering US economic policy.

O. M. G.

February 25, 2008

Couldn’t Help But Notice (022508)

I don’t want to claim any special insight into things like this, but the claims about the product Enzyte always seemed bogus to me. The fact that so many people were clearly willing to spend money on the stuff bordered on astonishing. Now the company’s president has been found guilty “of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.” It could not have happened soon enough.

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If I were from New Orleans or the Gulf Coast and had gone through the devastation of the 2005 hurricane that struck there, I’d be insulted by those characterizing the subprime lending and foreclosure problems in Northeastern Ohio as “Cleveland’s Katrina.” For cryin’ out loud, 1,836 people died in the real Katrina.

Oh, NEO’s problems are partially George Bush’s fault too. Zheesh.

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On Hillary’s sinking campaign:

  • If you have to deny that your campaign is in trouble, it probably is.
  • The superdelegate bleed continues. On Friday the 15th, Hillary was ahead of the candidate I often refer to as BOOHOO (Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama) 242-156. Tuesday the 19th (first item at link), it was 239-168. Now a February 23 AP story puts things at 241-181. Obama has picked up 25, and she has lost 1, in just eight days. At that rate, her “superdel” lead will be will be gone within about three weeks.
  • Speaking of bleeding, the campaign has bled green, as in money, ever since it began. January was no exception.
  • This poll, showing Obama up 57-43 in Texas, would appear to mean that the Lone Star State is lost to her. I believe that an Ohio poll with Obama on top, but by a smaller margin, will appear shortly.
  • Terrier Ted Strickland, according to Robert Novak, has his doubts about whether she can win Ohio.
  • The final insult — The print edition of the Sunday New York Times had the picture at the top of this story covering at least half of the territory above the fold. Ouch.

Update: Going after this, which even troubles hard-core Democrats, is — correction, WAS — Hillary’s Hail Mary pass. Problem: “Clinton’s husband pardoned more than a dozen convicted violent radicals, including a member of the same group mentioned in the Obama stories.”

Mrs. Clinton could still conceivably risk the hypocrisy charge and bring Obama’s cozy ties with 1960s radicals up at the debate in Ohio this week. I don’t think she will do it, because the spotlight might be turned back to her own radical past. Can you say “Black Panthers“?

Update 2: Her recent mocking of Obama is clever (HT Darke County GOP), but probably not enough to matter. She needed to hammer this for about three weeks for it to have significant impact, and, again, bring it up herself in a debate.

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Obama does have seem to have a certain glow about him. But its source may be nuclear in origin. Given the bogus charges thrown at Jean Schmidt in October 2006 in Ohio’s Second District, the Obama-Exelon situation needs to filed away for future reference, especially if Victoria Wells Wulsin Whatever gets too close to the Obama glow.