Friday, May 31, 2013


Supporters say it will cost less; critics say it will cost more.  Forbes seems to have done a good job showing that insurance is actually going up under Obamacare.  There is an issue of supporters "spinning" the rates to make them look lower.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Radical Wahabis destroyed a shrine commemorating Abraham's stay in the Ebla area of Syria.  Muslims consider Abraham a prophet but the Wahabis are opposed to many mosques and sites other Muslims consider special.  Wahabis have destroyed other sites as well.


From John Fund at the National Review.

That media failure continued throughout Obama’s first term. Perhaps now, as Obama’s “Chicago Way” is coming into focus, the media will want to redeem itself. With Obama, it’s become all too clear: You can take the politician away from the machine, but you can’t take the machine out of the politician.

Can you ever take the Chicago machine out of the politician?


This is an interesting graph.  The government official visiting the White House the most was the IRS Commissioner, Douglas Shulman. . .and he isn't even a cabinet member!  Why would the president want to visit more with a non-cabinet official than his cabinet appointees?  The IRS is supposed to be non-political.

The IRS Commissioner only visited the White House once in the Bush years.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


As sources of oil in North America increase, it will put pressure on Saudi Arabia's oil dependent economy.  If new discoveries of oil in North American indeed reach production levels predicted, the price of oil would go down creating severe budget problems for Saudi Arabia's bureaucratic-oriented economy.  And this raises more issues for the Middle East.

Current trends in the global energy market don't look good for Saudi Arabia. First, the International Energy Agency projected in November 2012 that the United States will surpass the Gulf petrogiant as the world's top energy producer by 2020. Then, last week, it revealed that North America, buoyed by the rapid development of its unconventional oil industry, is set to dominate global oil production over the next five years. These unforeseen developments not only represent a blow to Saudi Arabia's prestige but also a potential threat to the country's long term economic well-being -- particularly in the post-Arab Spring era of elevated per-capita government spending.

According to the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation, the breakeven price is currently $94 per barrel, less than the current spot price for Brent crude. (Iran needs oil to be at $125 per barrel to break even, which explains the feud between Iran and Saudi Arabia within OPEC.)  But absent deep political reforms that create new sources of income, the breakeven price will surely grow. According to Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment, one of the world's most important knowledge bases on Saudi Arabia's economy, by 2020 the breakeven price will reach $118 per barrel. At this point, the Saudi Arabia Monetary Agency's cash reserves will begin to drain rapidly and the breakeven price will soar to $175 a barrel by 2025 and to over $300 by 2030. And this cuts to the heart of the dilemma: In order to balance its budget in the future, Saudi Arabia will need to either drill more barrels and sell them for lower prices or drill fewer barrels -- actively reducing global supply -- and sell each at a higher price.


From the liberal Daily Beast--pretty critical of the press as it deals with the administration's scandals.

. . .and yet there is an entire class of journalist so invested in a certain moral and ethical image of the president its members are unable to entertain facts that might tarnish that image. They are the pro-Obama equivalent of Birthers, never letting emerging facts cloud the conclusion they’ve already committed to hold.

It’s disheartening to see the Obama administration attack the press in unprecedented ways and the reaction from the press is to accept that blame and then go forth to explain to the world that the president isn’t really like this. Most of the time he is a good guy. He loves us, honestly. He just has these moods.


From CNBC.  The average person does not focus on this issue but if the dollar loses its preeminence as a world reserve currency, it will require extensive belt-tightening by Washington in order to pay off the massive debt the US has accumulated.

The U.S dollar is shrinking as a percentage of the world's currency supply, raising concerns that the greenback is about to see its long run as the world's premier denomination come to an end.

"The No. 1 security issue we have as a nation is the preservation of the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency," said Michael Pento, president of Pento Portfolio Strategies. "It's a thousand times more important than a nuclear bomb being tested by North Korea. It's a thousand times more important that we keep the dollar as the world's reserve currency, and yet we are doing everything to abuse that status."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Both Bush and Obama have extended presidential powers beyond what is appropriate.  Ron Fournier raises the issue of  how these powers could be misused by a future president.  Both liberal Democrats and Republicans have been short-sighted when it comes to protecting the American people from presidential overreach.

Think about it, liberals. What if there is a president in your lifetime who is more conservative than Bush? What if that commander in chief is empowered, as were Bush and Obama, by a national tragedy and a compliant Congress? Your guy Obama has armed a president-turned-zealot with dangerous powers and precedents.

Think about it, conservatives. It may be maddening to listen to Obama tie himself into knots over the balance between liberty and freedom, but what if the next Democratic president sees no limit on a commander in chief's powers? What if he or she doesn't give a whit about offending the mainstream media?

Monday, May 27, 2013


From Politico.  A CBS reporter, Sharyl Atkinson, is doggedly trying to find the truth in some of the actions of the Obama administration and is finding herself dismissed because of a supposed "political agenda."  There are very few mainstream media reporters asking the tough questions, but she certainly is one.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Advocates of jihad in Great Britain receive $38,000 a year in welfare payments.  British soldiers only earn $24,000 a year! It looks like a system ready to destruct and destroy itself.


John Dean has a column at Bloomberg arguing that comparisons of Obama scandals to the Nixon era are wrong, but that he could be compared to the presidency of Warren G. Harding.  While normally one would not want to be compared to Harding, I think the case can be made that Obama is not personally involved in some of these scandals.  But certainly his advisors have done him a disservice.

Friday, May 24, 2013


From TaxProf blog. Commerce Nominee Sails Through Confirmation Hearing Despite Not Reporting $80 Million Income, Offshore Tax Shelters.  I thought Romney was criticized for tax shelters and possible off-shore investments?  Oh well, Pritzker is a Democrat.


In 2011 the IRS raided Gibson Guitar for allegedly using illegally imported wood.  The execs at Gibson had contributed to Republicans.  Its competition, C.F. Martin & Co., also used the wood, but its execs contributed to Democrats--it was not raided.  Now it is clear why Gibson was raided--it supported the wrong political party.  Chicago politics.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


From The Week:  I haven't been keeping track but the Obama administration has changed its story about the IRS 5 times. It looks like a White House with advisors who don't know how to handle a controversy.

For instance, the White House has changed its story at least five times on who knew what and when on the IRS' targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, and suddenly reporters are keeping score. Politico's Reid Epstein offered readers a timeline of Carney stories to prevent confusion. National Journal's Ron Fournier wrote that he "desperately want to believe [White House strategist Dan] Pfeiffer" when he issued denial after denial on Sunday talk shows on all of the scandals facing the Obama administration, but "the White House can't be trusted." At the Huffington Post, NBC analyst Howard Fineman scoffed at the idea that the White House knew nothing about the IRS' activities. Given the talent in the West Wing, "it's hard to imagine that the Obama inner circle was oblivious to the issue of what the IRS was doing in Cincinnati," Fineman concluded.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


James C. Goodale in the New York Times

The search warrant filed to investigate the Fox News reporter James Rosen proved as many had suspected: President Obama wants to make it a crime for a reporter to talk to a leaker. It is a further example of how President Obama will surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom.

The government's subpoena of The Associated Press's phone records was bad enough. But the disclosure of the search warrant in the Rosen case shows President Obama has delved into territory never before reached by previous presidents.

Obama, worse then Nixon!  And this is from a liberal.


Pretty chilling account.  Don't think this will be on the evening news.  Another report here.

Monday, May 20, 2013


From National Review.  What happened when Democrats and then the IRS, OSHA, the FBI, and ATF dealt with a business woman who started a Tea Party group.  Government bureaucracy used for political ends.


From the BBC.  Global warming has been "at a standstill" since 1998.  Yet we have Al Gore and others preaching this as a fact.  A number of research articles are quoted.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


From TaxProf blog:  A summary of the developments in the IRS scandal involving holding conservative, religious, pro-life, and Tea Party groups to different standards than liberal, Democrat groups seeking tax exemption status. Liberal politics in the IRS. 

And Obama first heard about the scandal (SNL version--"The same sources as his aunt.") on TV.  What kind of advisors does he have?

Liberal Democrat Senator McCaskill (MO) calls for all IRS officials involved in scandal to be fired.

Obama officials knew of IRS scandal during 2012 election but hid the details because of the election. The Treasury Department also knew in 2012.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


From USA Today. While the IRS was asking for much more information about "Tea Party" groups, it was approving liberal groups without asking for the same information.

Tim Carney.   IRS employees overwhelming donate more to liberal Democrats. . .and some employees are activist Democrats.

In the past three election cycles, the Center for Responsive Politics' database shows about $474,000 in political donations by individuals listing "IRS" or "Internal Revenue Service" as their employer.

This money heavily favors Democrats: $247,000 to $145,000, with the rest going to political action committees. (Oddly, half of those GOP donations come from only two IRS employees, one in Houston and one in Annandale, Va.).

Did Harry Reid get Romney's tax returns from the IRS?  In the 2012 election Reid was talking like he knew what was on Romney's returns--supposedly he hadn't paid taxes for 10 years.

Investor's Daily

Obama joked about auditing enemies in 2009. 

Christian, conservative, and pro-Israel groups refused tax exemptions but not Muslim groups.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


From the Daily Beast.  A discussion of student debt and how it has a bigger impact at third and fourth tier institutions.  Online will not be the savior of weakening institutions. 

The colleges with the most to conceal tend to be expensive 2nd- and 3rd-tier private institutions. For instance, 85 percent of students from Ohio Northern graduated with debt averaging almost $49,000, while the median starting salary for graduates is just $44,800. Compare these figures with the statistics for Princeton, where the average debt is $5,225 for the 23 percent of graduates with any debt, while the median starting salary is $56,900.

Adjuncts anxious about job security have realized that giving higher grades improves their student evaluations, which often determine whether they remain employed. The “resortification” of colleges also encourages students to view themselves as customers, and instructors as retail workers employed to serve them. The A is now the most common grade on college campuses nationwide; it accounts for roughly 43 percents of all grades given. Meanwhile, results of the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a test used by more than 500 colleges to measure academic progress, reveal that 36 percent of students make absolutely no improvement in writing, complex reasoning, or critical thinking during four years of college.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


According to Alan Johnson Obama is right on some things and has underestimated other issues that lead to radicalization.  Johnson also proposes that it is not just government that radicalizes, but that family and community also matter.

The battle of ideas against radical political Islamism of the kind that influenced the Tsarnaev brothers is tough for three reasons. First, we are talking about a systemof ideas, an ideology, which is notoriously difficult for the neophyte to contest. Second, these are sacralized systems of ideas, ideologies upon which lingers the whiff of incense, and these are near-impossible for a non-expert to critique. Third, there are some points of support in the wider intellectual culture—not for terrorism, but for an inchoate negativism in the form of anti-Americanism, anti-Westernism, and conspiratorialism. The Islamist recruiters know how to surf that wave, believe me.

Friday, May 03, 2013


An interesting video of the Piers Morgan show on CNN:  it shows the difference in cultural values between Romney, a Mormon who quotes the Bible, and a panel composed of secularists.


Rap music put to the history of Soviet Russia.  The language is a bit crude, but really quite good historical interpretation.


Why in the world do Chinese scientists need to create a super bird-flu virus?  Researchers can't even cure some of the current strains.  It is like biological warfare has begun.  Washington is worried about guns when maybe it should be focused on chemical and biological weapons of the future.

Senior scientists have criticised the “appalling irresponsibility” of researchers in China who have deliberately created new strains of influenza virus in a veterinary laboratory.

They warned there is a danger that the new viral strains created by mixing bird-flu virus with human influenza could escape from the laboratory to cause a global pandemic killing millions of people.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


From Barna

One of the common critiques leveled at present-day Christianity is that it’s a religion full of hypocritical people. A new Barna Group study examines the degree to which this perception may be accurate. The study explores how well Christians seem to emulate the actions and attitudes of Jesus in their interactions with others.

51% of Christians are in the Pharisaical category!