From January, 2015

Quote of the Day

Conservative Republicans have finally called it quits with short-term former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (she lasted just two-and-a-half years in that position before quitting). The final straw, it seems, is the 2008 vice-presidential candidate’s recent speech at the “Iowa Freedom Summit” that has charitably been called “an interminable ramble,” “an extended stream-of-consciousness complaint,” and simply “bizarro.” So America’s most-famous snowbilly is out of the running for the 2016 Republican nomination. But what about all the other manifestly unqualified novices, jackasses, and publicity hounds that surface every four years when the GOP starts fishing for someone/anyone that can beat whatever sad sack of chum the…

What We’ve Learned about All of the People Who Laughed at Joni Ernst

1. There are a lot of people who talk a good game when it comes to combating poverty, but who do not understand the history of poverty in America, or its pernicious effects upon those whose lives have been touched by poverty. 2. There are a lot of people who can’t even manage to talk a good game, because they are sufficiently graceless and witless to believe that it is perfectly acceptable to mock poor people–or people who once were poor–simply because those people belong to a different political party. For more details, read Megan McArdle.

A Long Overdue Goodbye to Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan was one of two big-time bloggers–the other being, of course, Glenn Reynolds–to have helped put me on the blogospheric map. For that, I shall always be grateful. He was also–as Ross Douthat pointed out–extraordinarily influential in advancing the cause of same-sex marriage. Anyone who is the least bit concerned with fundamental human rights should be grateful to Sullivan for all that he has done on this issue. At the outset, when I first started blogging, Sullivan’s political views and mine coincided quite neatly. After a while, they began to diverge. I certainly changed some of my political views…

The Truly Awful Idea to Tax 529 Plans

Megan McArdle: Earlier in the week, I discussed the Obama administration’s proposal to tax earnings on so-called 529 college savings plans, part of a package of tax hikes that will pay for new programs such as his proposal to make the first two years of community college free. This has been touted as a plan to hike taxes on the rich to help the middle class, but in fact it’s more of a plan to redistribute money from the upper middle class to the lower middle class. As I noted then, this proposal is not going anywhere, not just because Republican congressmen will block…

Quote of the Day

In Des Moines this past weekend, Sarah Palin gave a speech, and at long last the vultures began to circle. “A tragedy,” declared Joe Scarborough, on Morning Joe; “bizarro,” ajudged the London Times’ Toby Harnden; “an interminable ramble,” said Iowa professor Sam Clovis. These, alas were among the kinder adjectives. In the Washington Examiner, Byron York treated those who missed the address to a brutal dissection. First, he recorded, Palin subjected the crowd to an “extended stream-of-consciousness complaint about media coverage of her decision to run in a half-marathon race in Storm Lake, Iowa.” Next, she offered up some self-righteous “grumbling about coverage…

The Economic Picture Isn’t All Rosy

The Obama administration and various pundits would have us believe that everything is fine and good with the economy, that we have fully and completely come out of the Great Recession and that the severe downturn that followed the financial crisis is but a distant memory now. Not so fast. Despite recent deficit reduction, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts that deficits will increase again in 2018–other reports explain that this is because more baby boomers will retire and will put a strain on the benefits system. Additionally: The most troubling feature of the Congressional Budget Office’s updated forecast was not about government spending or…

Mitt Romney Believes in Climate Change. And Well He Should.

Behold the story. Note that Romney’s belief in the existence of anthropogenic climate change is a longstanding one; he had to hide it in his last run for the presidency, but he is not hiding it now. And thank goodness. It’s long past time that Republicans decided to take action regarding climate change, and in taking action, it is to be hoped that Romney and other Republicans will follow the example of Hank Paulson in discussing the issue of climate change and proposing solutions aimed at reducing carbon emissions: THERE is a time for weighing evidence and a time for acting.…

Jeb Bush: A Mature Presidential Candidate

This is the kind of thing that I like hearing from a potential next president of the United States: Jeb Bush previewed the ideas at the heart of his likely presidential campaign, delivering a sweeping address here Friday about the economy, foreign affairs and energy exploration, and challenging the country to question “every aspect of how government works.” In his first major speech since stepping into the 2016 presidential sweepstakes in December, the Republican former Florida governor spoke confidently and in significant detail about the broad range of issues beginning to shape the campaign for the White House. Bush signaled he would…

Sometimes, Consistency Is No Hobgoblin at All

When Senate Democrats abolished the filibuster for nominations to federal district courts and courts of appeal, they made sure to preserve it for Supreme Court nominations. Apparently, while Senate Democrats were outraged that President Obama’s nominations to lower courts were getting filibustered, they still feared the possibility that a Republican might become president and might choose Supreme Court nominees whom they didn’t like. So, Senate Democrats wanted to make sure that they would still be able to filibuster those nominees. Apart from the fact that this rule was convenient for Senate Democrats, it made no sense whatsoever. If judicial filibusters…

Yet Another Problem with Healthcare.gov

It’s now working too well, at least in one respect: The government’s health insurance website is quietly sending consumers’ personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising and analyzing Internet data for performance and marketing, The Associated Press has learned. The scope of what is disclosed or how it might be used was not immediately clear, but it can include age, income, ZIP code, whether a person smokes, and if a person is pregnant. It can include a computer’s Internet address, which can identify a person’s name or address when combined with other information collected by sophisticated online marketing…