Thursday, November 7, 2013

Today's dose of depression

Ender's Game
Two thumbs down. I read the great book decades ago, so despite the terrible hatchet job Hollywood did on Robert A. Heinlein's classic Star Wars, we went to see the movie. Most of it is pretty good, not far from what I recall of the story line, nice special effects. But after Earth wins, they graft on a politically correct ending that doesn't match parts of the story line, that I don't recall from the book. Despite having killed 10M humans, the bugs now just want to get along, humans are evil for wiping them out, the old story. And Earth is over-populated, despite western civilization today being in a demographic death spiral. I don't recommend. ~Bob.

Worth Reading: Obama Scandals and NPR

From a blog contributor
The collection tonight is just packed with good articles. Nice work, if depressing, to see so much absolutely wrong with the country. I'm still hoping for a real turnaround, a middle class revolt, a Tea Party tsunami next November, and things finally starting down the right path. --Del

Questions, doubts about plan to allow all in federal employees health insurance program
Excerpt: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, thinks FEHBP should be open to all Americans — all 317 million of them. He has introduced legislation to do just that. “The Equal Healthcare Access Act offers Americans access to the same health insurance plans long enjoyed by Members of Congress and their families,” he said. 

Loyal Obama Supporters, Canceled by Obamacare
Excerpt: So what is Hammack going to do? If his income were to fall below four times the federal poverty level, or about $62,000 for a family of two, he would qualify for subsidies that could lower his premium cost to as low as zero. If he makes even one dollar more, he gets nothing. That’s what he’s leaning toward — lowering his salary or shifting more money toward a retirement account and applying for a subsidy. “We’re not changing our views because of this situation, but it hurt to hear Obama saying, just the other day, that if our plan has been dropped it’s because it wasn’t any good, and our costs would go up only slightly,” he said. (Here is a real beauty of an article. Commentary below from a millennial young man, but one whose eyes are wide open. --Del: Love this article – it is the apotheosis of the irrationality of liberals and liberal policy. This San Francisco couple is getting completely screwed in the butt by their own liberal beliefs and Obamacare. Not only that, look at what they’re considering at the end of the article, which I bolded in the last paragraph [excerpted above] – how scary is that? Those are the perverted incentives of government intervention. Amazing… "Life is tough. It's Tougher if you're stupid." --John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima. ~Bob.)

Song Mocking Obamacare + Special Duck Dynasty Appearance = Best Country Music Awards Open Ever?
Excerpt: That’s when Underwood suggested trying to sign up for Obamacare. “I started signing up last Thursday and I’m almost done,” she said with a fake smile. “Let’s go to the website and get you signed up.” That elicited laughs from the crowd as the pair went and grabbed a computer.

U.S Landed Man on Moon, Can't Launch Website. By Stella Paul
Excerpt: Now, not only must we suffer through the chaotic disruption of our entire medical system, but the launch also besmirched the stellar reputation of American technology. Oops! Make that Canadian technology. Canadian? It turns out the perpetrator of the website fiasco is CGI Federal, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Montreal-based CGI Group. To execute its signature achievement, the Obama administration selected CGI, also known as “Conseillers en Gestion et Informatique,” for a hugely lucrative no-bid contract

Excerpt: Saturday’s Wall Street Journal unveiled the smoking howitzer in the Obamacare “keep your plan” caper. In addition to proving that the White House and Obama willfully and constantly lied about Americans’ ability to keep their health insurance, the Journal also found Senate Democrats’ fingerprints all over Obama’s weapon of mass deception.
Colleen McCain Nelson, Peter Nicholas, and Carol E. Lee interviewed more than a dozen Obama advisers who helped to prepare Obamacare, pitch it to the American people, and pound it through Congress. Even these committed Obamites — including several in the White House — worried that Obama’s now-pulverized promise went too far.

Congress's health plan

Excerpt: Yolanda Vestal, single mom and Texan in an effort to vent her frustration posted a letter to her Facebook page in which she called Barack Obama out on his prize legislation, Obamacare and the fact that he’s so out of touch with the suffering of Americans under his reign. Clearly, Vestal’s letter hit has a note with tens of thousands of Americans because it has gone viral. See Vestal’s letter below:

Excerpt: Faced with the wave of bad news, Obama said last week that only “cut-rate plans” have been canceled. The New York Times editorial board claims those plans were “not worth keeping.” But that's simply not true for Natalie Willis, who owns her own business in Los Angeles, or Hadley Heath, a health care policy expert in Washington, DC, or even Representative Cory Gardner (R-CO), who opted out of a federal plan to share the fate of his rural constituents.
Excerpt: President Barack Obama spent years casting insurance companies as the most evil of actors in the health care system. But with insurance cancellation notices hitting millions of consumers, Obama has launched none of the broadsides that became standard during the legislative fight over health care reform. (Good luck with that, with the companies facing a fiscal death spiral. ~Bob)

Obama health lie freaks Dems. By Jonah Goldberg
Excerpt: This was, by any common-sense measure, a lie. It was a lie because President Obama understood that one of the central aims of the Affordable Care Act was to squeeze out the individual insurance market (and the small business market), forcing those Americans on to the exchanges. You can't force people out of one insurance product and into another while simultaneously letting them keep their plan. That'd be like a car salesman promising a great price on a new vehicle if you trade in your old one, while still promising you can keep your old car.

Big F'ing Deal: Delaware Has Spent $4 Million to Enroll Four People in Obamacare. By Katie Pavlich 
Excerpt: Delaware, Vice President Joe Biden's home state, just spent $1 million per person to enroll four people in Obamacare. 

In Wake of Narrow Cuccinelli Loss, Democrats Panic. By Walter Russell Mead
Excerpt: Democratic alarm over the fortunes of the Affordable Care Act is becoming more and more visible every day. The last sign of panic is that Hill Democrats have acquiesced to the conservative narrative about Tuesday’s Virginia governor’s race. In the fight between GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli and Democratic victor Terry McAuliffe, nearly everyone expected Cuccinelli to lose big, given his socially conservative stances and lack of money and establishment support. Instead, the race turned out to be incredibly close: thanks to a last-minute, eight-point swing, he only lost by two points.

Obama to Force Military Families Away From Tricare ...By Tripling Their Fees.
Excerpt: President Barack Obama has said on multiple occasions that he stands by the troops, and lauds their selflessness in fighting the Iraq war and the conflict in Afghanistan. During a time when our bravest in uniform have been in a state of war for more than a decade, one would think that our fearless leaders should reward their efforts by making life a bit easier at home. (Here's another one that I could not have made up in my wildest speculations. This one really takes my breath away, and I cannot imagine the impact on the military families. Unf***ingbelieveable. If I were his best buddy and wanted him to succeed, I would have taken him aside and said "Barack, old buddy, you REALLY don't want to do this one. You will alienate and enrage all the military, and all their friends and relatives. This will come back to haunt the whole Democrat Party in November 2014." But he has no friends and counselors with any real sense, any vision of the people, any idea of who were have been and who most of us want to go back to being. But hey, sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind. November '14, November '14, November '14. --Del)

How Differences in the Cost of Living Affect Low-Income Families
Excerpt: Because the cost of living varies widely across the United States, the federal poverty threshold is not a meaningful definition of minimum living standards. How much a family can buy with those benefits depends on where they live. Living in New York City costs more than 2.25 times the national average; hence, an income of $23,550 would only buy $10,439 worth of goods in New York City. If a family moved from New York City to Fort Worth, Texas, the same $23,550 would buy $25,765 worth of goods. Thus, by moving from New York to Fort Worth, a family could increase their adjusted income, or purchasing power, by $15,326.

Good Article: Confronting America's Persistent Energy Illiteracy
Excerpt: Among the survey respondents who claimed a familiarity with fracking, only 38 percent said they supported it, a decline from 45 percent just a few months ago. The survey points to a broader public misunderstanding of energy issues. While many who responded said they favored natural gas because it produced fewer carbon emissions than other fossil fuels, they didn’t seem to acknowledge that reaping those benefits requires widespread use of fracking. Nine out of 10 respondents also said the government should promote renewable energy, although its not clear how many recognize that such technology is, at best, a supplemental source of energy rather than an alternative one. 

Mr. Pitts:
First of all, let me acknowledge that I am a regular reader of your column who regularly disagrees with you on almost every level. Today, you unburdened yourself from the huge chip you carry on your shoulder (Every problem is rooted in White racism), and we agree on something! I bet your knees and hips enjoy the rest they are getting. For years, you have castigated the NRA at every opportunity, caricaturing Wayne LaPierre, and casting your own prejudices on us toothless rednecks that like guns. Maybe now, after you admit looking over your shoulder about researching bomb-making on the internet, you can acknowledge that maybe we were right. Just because we’re paranoid doesn’t mean They aren’t after us. Step back for a minute and take a dispassionate look at the way governments, at every level, approach private gun ownership. Can you now understand why the NRA and other groups have been fighting registration schemes, licensing schemes, confiscation schemes, and a disapproving Fourth Estate to defend our rights? They are YOUR rights, too, whether you choose to exercise them or not. Now that your Government, in which you have so much faith to redress society’s ills, is looking over YOUR shoulder, does it give you pause? Do you imagine that the First Amendment is held in higher regard than the Second by your government? Why don’t you ring up Janet Reno, since she is likely a neighbor of yours, and talk it over with her. Since both her parents were in the newspaper business in Miami, maybe you see her often enough already. --Steve Arnett Link to editorial:

Unholy Trinity: Islam, the Left, & the Willfully Ignorant
Excerpt: Those of us who are paying attention, are watching the once magnificence and majesty of Europe being gradually swallowed up into the quicksand of an ideology that came from much darker places than the nighttime desert sands. A tyranny that intends to finish the rest of the West in its global sweep. It’s a treacherous triad that has three well-known elements.

Government Union: The LAX Shooting Was Conservatives’ Fault
Excerpt: Never let a crisis go to waste. That’s the mantra of power-hungry politicians (is that redundant?). It was only a matter of time before the powers that be started calling for TSA agents to be armed and to have arrest authority. That way, if you make “inappropriate comments” or jokes about their security theater, they can hold you at gunpoint while other TSA agents subdue you and place you in handcuffs. And predictably, they’ve blamed the incident on conservatives and their “anti-government” rhetoric.

Excerpt: Senior Airman Brian Kolfage was perhaps the most severly injured airman (US Air Force) ever to survive a war….After being gravely injured by a rocket attack in 2004, SrA Kolfage lost both legs and his right hand, and suffered terrible injuries to his other hand and his torso….And last week, Brian received a bill from the Department of Veterans Affairs demanding payment of $4,825.

Allen West: Congress Must Probe Military Firings
Excerpt: Former Florida Congressman Allen West is calling for congressional oversight hearings into what he describes as an “alarming trend” of dismissals and firings of high-ranking military officers by the Obama administration, firings that in a number of cases appear to be political. While he wouldn’t assign a particular reason for the high rate of dismissals – and he declined to label them a “purge” – West in an exclusive WND interview said oversight hearings need to be convened to determine why so many officers are being removed

'Purge Surge': Obama Fires Another Commander
Excerpt: After multiple top generals described to WND what they regard as a full-scale “purge” of the U.S. military by the Obama administration, the commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan was summarily relieved of duty and his civilian deputy reassigned, pending a “misconduct” investigation. Nine generals and flag officers have been relieved of duty under Obama just this year – widely viewed as an extraordinary number – and several sources put the total number of senior officers purged during the five years of the Obama administration as close to 200.

Excerpt: The ‘bigger picture,’” John told WND, “is that the U.S. Armed Forces have been under relentless attack by the occupant of the Oval Office for five years.” A Naval Academy graduate, John had three tours of duty in Vietnam, served as an al-Qaida expert for the FBI, and was a commanding officer with SEALs embedded on special operations. He was awarded the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal, five Meritorious Service Medals and 22 medals and unit citations for combat operations in VietnamPhilippines, Desert Storm and on anti-terrorist operations.

There is a precedent for firing politically unreliable gofficers
Excerpt: For Hitler, the moment had arrived to clean house, to replace the crusty old generals with younger men eager to serve their F├╝hrer and follow orders, regardless of the consequences. The two highest ranking officers in Germany at this time were holdovers from the days of President Hindenburg; Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg, the Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces, and General Werner von Fritsch, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. These stiff-lipped men with their rigid codes of honor were about to be toppled by that most vile of all things from their point of view, personal scandals involving sex. Blomberg was the first to fall.

Another Chelyabinsk meteor strike 'SEVEN times as likely' as feared. NASA's checked its space rock maths and it's not good news By Iain Thomson
Much bigger threat than Global Warming. ~Bob 

Sleeping Stranger Subway Picture On Q Train Defines Empathy And Is A Lesson In Being Good

Swiss forensic report on Arafat's death
Excerpt: The 108-page report by Swiss scientists who say their data supports the theory that Arafat was poisoned with polonium. (The tragedy is that it took them so many years to get him. ~Bob)

Radio Silence: Pentagon and State Department Silent On Threatening Reports Outlining China Contingencies For Nuclear Attacks On U.S. Cities. By Bill Gertz
Excerpt: The Obama administration declined to comment on Sunday to provocative state-run Chinese media reports outlining Beijing’s nuclear war plans, including land-based and submarine-launched missile strikes on U.S. cities that would kill up to 12 million people.

Missiles flow into Syria, risk falling into hands of al Qaeda
Excerpt: One of terrorism’s most feared weapons, the shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile, has begun to flow into war-ravaged Syria in numbers that alarm the West because they may fall into the hands of al Qaeda, according to national security analysts. (Coming soon to an airport near you. ~Bob)

SEAL Patch Spat Correction. From The Patriot Post
Monday, we reported on a Navy directive prohibiting SEALs from using The First Navy Jack with the words "Don't Tread On Me." That information came to us from former SEAL Team 10 veteran Carl Higbie. Soon after publishing, we were contacted by one of our Patriot readers with information to the contrary. Indeed, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty told Navy Times, "As of September 2013, all Naval Special Warfare personnel are authorized to wear the U.S. flag and the 'Don't Tread on me' uniform patches. In the past, NSW did not authorize wearing either patch unless one was deployed or in a work-up cycle. However, NSW recently sought special permission from the Chief of Naval Operations staff to wear the patches within the continental United States." While someone downstream from the CNO may have issued a directive to the contrary, the current directive as noted by Lt. Cmdr. Flaherty trumps any other.

Two Decade Freeze on Warming. From The Patriot Post
New research from Professor Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Dr. Marcia Wyatt indicates that the current 17-year hiatus on global warming may continue for another 20 years. Curry and Wyatt say that the UN IPCC and other climate alarmists are underestimating natural phenomena in determining climate, and that a 300-year observable climatic "stadium wave" better accounts for rising and falling temperatures. According to the UK Daily Mail, "The research comes amid mounting evidence that the computer models on which the IPCC based the gloomy forecasts of a rapidly warming planet in its latest report, published in September, are diverging widely from reality." That's putting it mildly.

Looking for a different sort of president. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Can we also take a breather from the Ivy League? When Obama finishes his term, we will have had 28 consecutive years of presidents with either an undergraduate or graduate degree from Harvard or Yale. We should have learned from chronic deficits, massive debt and Obamacare that the Ivy League's best and brightest are not always either. Truman's higher education came from the school of hard knocks. Ike graduated from West Point and helped win World War II.

The News in Zingers. By Argus Hamilton
Excerpt: The U.S. offered to help referee a dispute between Hong Kong and the Philippines over an old hostage drama. Negotiations would be tricky between Hong Kong and the United States. It's a self-ruling former British colony but is owned by China, and so is Hong Kong.

Nuclear Arsenal: US To Turn Old Bombs Into All-Purpose Weapons
Excerpt: Last week, representatives of the US military, the Pentagon and the Department of Energy announced new details about the B-61 program in a hearing in the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. The new variant of the nuclear bomb, called the B61-12, is now expected to replace the older types 3, 4, 7 and 10 as well as the bunker-busting B-61-11 and B-83 strategic nuclear bombs. The latter has an explosive power of up to 1.2 megatons of TNT, making it more than 90 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

I missed this line from Obama last night at DSCC fundraiser: "We are remaking the courts."

Expert Tells Congress Unborn Babies Can Feel Pain Starting at 8 Weeks
Excerpt: During a hearing on a bill that would ban late-term abortions nationwide, an expert on human embryonic development informed members of the committee that unborn babies have the capacity to feel pain as early as 8 weeks.

China Deploys New Bomber with Long-Range Land Attack Missile: Congressional report also reveals China’s armed drone copied from US Reaper UAV

Excerpt: China’s military recently deployed an upgraded strategic bomber that will carry the military’s new long-range land attack cruise missile, capable of attacking Hawaii and Guam, according to a draft congressional report.

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