Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jonah Goldberg notes that most (90% or thereabouts) of the people signing up for the Government's healthcare insurance are people that had insurance previously.

Note, this is after decades of liberals insisting that the uninsured were desperate to get insurance and years of Obama officials and defenders swearing that this law would make it happen. Indeed, in order to make it happen the Democrats blew up the entire health-care industry casting millions of people off their existing insurance plans. When those people went to exchanges to sign up for new ones, the Obama administration took credit for it, as if they were doing something for the uninsured. But barely 1 in 10 of new Obamacare enrollees were previously uninsured.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Here are some interesting internet pages if you have some free hours to kill:

What If . . . ?

Mental Floss

Today I Found Out . . .

Also, The 15 Most Unintentionally Profound Quotes Ever

Here's an awesome profile of Rick Rescorla.

Cyril Richard Rescorla was born in Cornwall, on the southwest tip of England, in 1939. A rugby star and high school shot put champion growing up, it soon became apparent that the whole book-learning thing really wasn't as appealing to young Rick as a good old-fashioned ass-whipping was. So as soon as this adventure-hungry athlete turned 16 he quit school, joined the British military, and dedicated the majority of his life to pummeling the ever-loving cock-and-balls off of Communist douchebags wherever he could find them. [ . . . ]

He was last seen on the tenth floor of the World Trade Center, headed up. Of the 2,700 people he had been charged with protecting, all but 6 survived the terrorist attack.

More at Badass of the Week.

National Review's Jay Nordlinger has a terrific three-part piece documenting the life and times of David Horowitz.

Part 1, his 25 years as a Communist from 1948 to 1974.

He continued to participate in the anti-war movement, but that’s a misnomer, really: It may have been an anti-war movement for some, but certainly not for all. “Let me make this perfectly clear,” said David in 1985: “Those of us who inspired and then led the anti-war movement did not want just to stop the killing as so many veterans of those domestic battles now claim. We wanted the Communists to win.”

Part 2, his 10 years of dismay at the left's failure and lies from 1975 to 1985.

A switch from left to right is not necessarily a bright career move. You give up a lot: including entrée to the most respected publications. David found doors shutting in his face — not just at Left publications, but at “mainstream” publications, particularly the New York Times. In going from left to right, you go from the Kingdom of the Cool to the Kingdom of the Much Less Cool, at least. The New Leftists, David’s old comrades, found homes in all the respected publications. They prettied up, airbrushed, and prospered.

Part 3, his 35 years as a conservative.

If you want to classify David politically, you can call him a conservative — with a healthy dose of Hayek in him. “My life experience had led me to conclude that not only was changing the world an impossible dream, but the refusal to recognize it as such was the source of innumerable individual tragedies and of epic miseries that human beings had inflicted on each other in my lifetime through the failed utopias of Nazism and Communism.” Seldom will you read a more conservative sentence. And you will read many more like it, in David’s collected writings. He is constantly inveighing against ideologies, party lines, rigidities.

I was reading this article describing the new Cuban policy allowing travel overseas, and I came upon this interesting paragraph:

But it seems inevitable that the law will lead to some increased emigration, at least as long as Cuba's economy remains so weak. Others will leave to escape Communism, though more recent emigrants have tended to leave more often for financial opportunity than for political freedom.

As if "financial opportunity" and "political freedom" are two completely different things.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mona Charen observes that everybody now is expected to be identified primarily by their sexuality:

There are limitless identities that students could be encouraged to cultivate as they mature. A handful that leap immediately to mind: American, humorist, musician, athlete, debater, nature-lover. Instead, our universities fall all over themselves to encourage unusual sexual identities, from homosexuality and lesbianism to transgender, bisexual, transsexual, and other. It's all done in the name of "inclusion" and non-discrimination, but, let's face it, there's an element of fashion in it. Non-traditional sexual behavior is "in." There are academic courses on offer at major universities concerning "queer theory," pornography, and "lesbian gardening." (Truly.) How can any serious academic treat pornography as a fit subject for college study? It's more than a devaluation of the life of the mind; it's an assault on human dignity.

From a collection of Atlas Shrugged quotes:

"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it."

"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to become the means by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. Blood, whips and guns--or dollars. Take your choice--there is no other."

" There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt."

"There's no such thing as a lousy job-only lousy men who don't care to do it."

"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose--because it contains all the distinctions of the others--the fact that they were the people who created the phrase "to make money". No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity--to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality."

"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - You may know that your society is doomed."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Via Front Page Magazine comes this set of links.

David Greenfield: The only good Republican is a dead Republican:

Dead Republicans are held up as examples of moderation who wouldn't fit in today's extremist party. Goldwater, Nixon and Reagan, once damned as deranged extremists lusting to blow up the planet, are temporarily rehabilitated and compared unfavorably to today's Republicans and favorably to today's Democrats.

Humberto Fontova: Castro appears and the media swoons:

To read the media you'd think some effete and benevolent European monarch (from, say, Monaco or Liechtenstein) had made a brief cameo. Across the board the media refers to Fidel Castro as the "President" who "led" Cuba for almost fifty years. No hint of anything else happening in Cuba during that period.

You'd never guess Castro killed more Cubans in the process of "liberating" them than the Nazis killed French civilians in the process of conquering and enslaving them, that he brought the world closest to Nuclear war of any "leader" on earth and that he sunk a nation with a standard of living higher than half of Europe's and swamped with immigrants into a pesthole that repels Haitians.

Matthew Vadum: The War on Poverty has destroyed black communities.

"The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do, what Jim Crow couldn't do, what the harshest racism couldn't do, and that is to destroy the black family," says economics professor Walter E. Williams of George Mason University, a black man who rose from poverty.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

I didn't know starfish had any vision at all:

The researchers also found that starfish do not see sharp, clear images. In fact, their eyes have resolutions of only about 200 pixels, Garm told LiveScience.

If you were to hand me a starfish, I couldn't even point to where its eyes might be.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Never mind how many gun safety rules this guy violated, it must have made for an interesting meeting.

Jerome M. Hauer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's director of homeland security, took out his handgun and used the laser sighting device attached to the barrel as a pointer in a presentation to a foreign delegation, according to public officials. [ . . . ]

These officials, one of whom claimed to be an eyewitness, said that three Swedish emergency managers in the delegation were rattled when the gun's laser tracked across one of their heads before Hauer found the map of New York, at which he wanted to point.

Wow, imagine sitting in a meeting and having a loaded gun pointed at your head. But the best is yet to come!

Hauer, commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, was disabled by a stroke a few years ago and can be unsteady. He isn't a law enforcement official. He carries the loaded 9-millimeter Glock in a holster into state buildings, an apparent violation of state law barring state employees from bringing weapons to the workplace, several witnesses say.

Victor Davis Hanson says it's time for some accountability from America's colleges and universities:

Two factors have so far shielded the American university from the sort of criticism that it so freely levels against almost every other institution in American life. (1) For decades a college education has been considered the key to an ascendant middle-class existence. (2) Until recently a college degree was not tantamount to lifelong debt. In other words, American society put up with a lot of arcane things from academia, given that it offered something - a BA or BS degree - that almost everyone agreed was a ticket to personal security and an educated populace. [ . . . ]

In short, the university has abjectly defaulted on its side of the social contract by no longer providing an affordable and valuable degree. Accordingly, society can no longer grant it an exemption from scrutiny.

He goes on at length with just such scrutiny, which is long overdue.

This should shock nobody. Walmart's employee health care plan is better than Obamacare! Not just marginally better, either. Astronomically better.

Low premiums are not the only distinguishing feature of the Walmart plan. The retailer's employees can use eight of the country's most prestigious medical facilities, including the Mayo Clinic, Pennsylvania's Geisinger Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic.

At these institutions, which Walmart calls "Centers of Excellence," Walmart employees and their dependents can get free heart or spinal surgery. They can also get free knee and hip replacements at four hospitals nationwide.

Many top-rated Walmart hospitals - such as the Mayo and Cleveland clinics - are left out of most Obamacare exchange plans.

But the real difference between Obamacare and Walmart can be seen in the levels of day-to-day access to doctors and hospitals.

Heather MacDonald points out that New York mayor Bill de Blasio's agenda is far from new:

Here is the dirty little secret about the war on inequality: Everyone, rich and poor alike, wants cheap goods and services. We are hard-wired for bargains: If we can pay a lower price for the same item, we will choose the lower-priced version, all else being equal. We are all complicit in the drive for cheaper means of production. The poor are the biggest patrons of outsourced goods and big-box retailing with its allegedly unjust wages. Or look at it another way: The most frequent complaint about health care is that it's too expensive, not that it's too cheap. Yet raising the pay of low-skilled health-care workers, for example, will only increase the cost of health care for everyone, including the workers themselves.

Such conundrums are lost on de Blasio. Expect him to operate on "progressive" autopilot: The rich (except those who support me) are takers, the poor their victims; wealth comes at someone else's expense; government officials are wiser and more compassionate than private actors; inequalities are the product of racism and economic injustice; individual choices have little or nothing to do with poverty.

If New Yorkers were too ignorant or apathetic not to reject these LBJ-era bromides, they deserve what they are going to get.

James Capretta notes that the Obama administration has purposely picked a fight with religious institutions, for purely political purposes:

As the legal wrangling continues, it's easy to fall into the trap of assuming that this clash between sweeping health-policy objectives and religious freedom was inevitable at some point, and that a judicial remedy can help define where the lines should be drawn going forward.

But this is far too benign a view of how this issue came about. There was nothing inevitable about this fight. The truth is that the Obama administration manufactured this confrontation and did so for entirely political reasons. Prior to 2011, the Obama administration never argued that the lack of access to "free" contraceptives and sterilization procedures, especially among women, was a burning national crisis that demanded immediate attention. The administration never raised this as an issue because there was no such crisis. Contraceptives have long been readily available and inexpensive in this country. The federal government subsidizes large numbers of clinics that provide these products essentially at no direct cost to consumers or for very low cost.

But in 2011 and early 2012, the Obama administration decided that access to "free" contraception, abortifacient drugs, and sterilization procedures was such an important American "right" that it necessitated forcing all employers, including those with religious objections, to facilitate access to these products and services for their workers. When the inevitable objections were voiced, the Obama administration and its political allies pounced. Here was the divisive social issue they were looking for in the run-up to the 2012 election. Democrats condemned opponents of the mandate for engaging in a heretofore never mentioned "war on women" - the aim of which was supposedly to deny women access to their contraceptive methods. These political attacks were so preposterous that they were laughable. But the Obama campaign team wasn't easily embarrassed in 2012. They drove this theme, pitched to certain segments of women voters, all the way to Election Day.

The legal and political standoff that exists today is a direct result of the administration's decision to use the issue as a political weapon in the 2012 election. Having picked this fight, the administration could not back down and provide a reasonable exemption for all employers with religious objections because that would offend the group of supporters it courted so assiduously in the 2012 campaign.